Head of the Des Moines

  • Hosted By: Des Moines Rowing Club
  • 2016 Registered Regatta

Head of the Des Moines

Hosted by the Des Moines Rowing Club

Local Racing Rules


We'll be calling races to launch, but it's the rowers' responsibility to launch on time. Have boats ready to launch (with correct bow markers) at least 40 minutes prior to the official race start time. Rowers spending undue time on the docks may be assessed a 10-second penalty for each warning. Plan on taking at least 25 minutes to row downstream. As a general rule, departing boats will have priority on dock space over arriving boats.


If your boat requires hot seating for a crew right after your race, you must see the dockmaster prior to leaving the dock for your race. If she/he approves,she/he will give you a bright green card. When you have finished your race, hold up the card up for the finish-line official. The finish official and dockmaster will make every effort to give you priority docking, but safety and fairness are their primary responsibilities. Move quickly and make sure the hot-seating crew is ready on the dock to take your boat.


Yellow buoys mark the division between the warm-up and racing lanes. All boats must keep the yellow buoys to port side at all times, whether warming up or racing. Oars may cross the yellow buoy line, but the hull may not cross. Anytime a hull violates the yellow buoy line, a 10-second penalty will be assessed.

Orange buoys mark shallow areas and submerged hazards. They are self enforcing. We make every effort to mark all hazards, but the river changes constantly. Crowd the orange buoys at your own risk.

At the start, do not go downstream from the I-235 bridge. There is a dam there.

Use the bridge spans designated for warming up and racing: one span for warm up, one or two spans for racing.

After crossing the finish line, continue rowing at least another 100 meters in order to make a safe return to the docks.


Be sure you have firmly attached your correct bow marker. (They are pre-assigned and are included in your club race packet at the registration tent). Be at the start at least 5 minutes before the official start time of your race. (Allow about 25 minutes to row to the start from Prospect Park.)This is a flying start, in single file. Line up in order of your bow marker numbers, from lowest to highest. (You may be assessed a 10-second penalty for missing your place in the starting order, interfering with crews approaching the start, or going below the I-235 bridge. You may be assessed a 60-second penalty for having an incorrect bow marker or no bow marker.) As directed by the starter or marshal, cross the starting line at race pace about 10 to 20seconds behind the preceding boat.


Seethe Traffic Pattern guidelines above for course boundaries and penalties.

Boats racing have the right of way over all other boats. Any non-racing boat that interferes with a race will be subject to possible exclusion from its race.

An overtaking boat is considered to be overtaking when it moves to within a boat length of the boat it's approaching. When passing another boat, the overtaking boat has the right of way, but is obliged to make it apparent to the boat ahead on which side it wishes to pass. The boat being overtaken must yield room to the overtaking boat, usually on the outside of a corner. If, in the opinion of the officials, insufficient room is given, a 30-second fail-to-yield penalty may be assessed. However, no overtaking boat should press its right of way to the point of collision. Racing boats interfering with other racing boats will be subject to time penalties or exclusion from the race. If one or more rowers is ejected from a boat during a race, the affected crew must stop and remain with those individuals until all are safely out of the water or official safety help arrives. Respect for the safety of other competitors and equipment must be shown at all times. If, in the opinion of the officials, a crew is behaving in a dangerous or reckless manner, that crew may be excluded from its race.


All participants, coaches, and spectators are expected to exhibit good sportsmanship. Disrespectful language or behavior may result in disqualification from the regatta. 


The Regatta Committee reserves the right to rule on any situations not specifically covered in these rules and assess penalties as appropriate.