Race Rules (2019)

The emphasis for the 2019 Wild Winter Canoe Race is fun and friendly competition. However, there are some rules required to maintain the safety of the racers and spectators as well as to ensure fair competition. All teams should be apprised of the Race Rules of the competition before race day.

1. General Regulations and Administration


  1. Waivers: All team members must sign a Participant Waiver stating that they have read the conditions of the waiver and are aware of the risks associated with the races, accept the risk and therefore waive any right they may have to any course of action against any or all of organizers and officials for injury of loss/damage to personal property.
  2. All Team members must return a signed Waiver at the check-in desk on the day of the race.
  3. 18 Years of Age: All team members must be at least 18 years of age. All team members must submit a photocopy of government issued photo identification (driver’s licence or passport) with their signed Waiver.
  4. No Drugs or Alcohol: No team member can consume drugs or alcohol on the day of the event prior to the conclusion of the races. The Organizers reserve the right to refuse permission of a team to participate in the event if a team member appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  5. Team Rosters: Team members need to be registered online using our website no later than Feb.12/19.
  6. Cancellation: The team captain will be responsible for notifying the Team Recruitment Coordinator ([email protected]) in the event of withdrawing from the race 24 hours before the race in order to notify an alternative team on the wait list.

2. Competition Format


  1. Team placements in the heats and lane assignments will be assigned randomly. The standing of the team will be determined by the finish time.
  2. All teams will run two qualifying heats. The best time (not combined time) of the two heats will be used to determine which teams advance to the semi-final. If a team opts OUT of the second heat, their first heat time will be used to determine race advancement. The 12 teams with the best times will advance to the semi-final. The 3 teams with best finish times in the semi-final will advance to the final heat. The Grand Prize will be awarded to the team with the fastest time in the final heat. 

3. Racing Regulations


  1. Racing Lanes: all 3 lanes are approximately 6 feet in width and approximately 450 feet in length. Each lane has a designated marker with lane number.
  2. Start Line: a staggered start line will be marked with an official starter(s).
  3. 6 Metre Leg In Line: a 6 metre marker will be positioned at each lane. The team members on either side of the canoe much have one leg in the canoe by the time the team member at the stern (rear) of the canoe passes the 6 metre marker. The leg in the canoe does not have to be on the seat and can be positioned any way so long as it is inside the canoe.
  4. Finish Line: a flush finish line will be marked by an electronic timing device.
  5. Entrance: The area immediately preceding the start line will be used as an approach for canoes to proceed to the assigned lane.

4. Marshalling


  1. Teams should plan to be on site one (1) hour before the race time and check-in at the check-in desk.
  2. After check-in teams will proceed to the marshalling area.
  3. Teams should plan to be on site one (1) hour before the race time and check-in at the check-in desk on the 3rd Floor (suite level) of Shaw Park. Team members require a completed participant waiver (available online) and government issued photo ID at check-in.
  4. Team Captains will be issued a timing chip for their team. Captains are responsible for handing the chip to the starter before EACH HEAT. They are also responsible for getting the chip from the officials who remove it from the canoe at the finish line. A TEAM WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY DISQUALIFIED FROM A HEAT FOR LOSS OR DAMAGE TO THE TIMING CHIP.
  5. A twenty (20) minute warning will be announced over the PA for race start times and teams should proceed to the MARSHALLING AREA. 10 minutes prior to their race times, teams should proceed to the START ZONE. 
  6. Teams that are LATE for or MISS their heat will be disqualified automatically.

5. Starts and Starting Procedures


The first 5 metres of the race course constitutes the Start Zone. A team may enter the start zone when permitted by the Start Officials. They will not enter the racing lanes until all teams from the preceding race are clear of the finish line and the Starter has assigned a lane to the team.


  1. The Starter will notify the teams to line-up in their respective lanes before the start of the race; the race will start without your team if your team chooses to ignore the line-up instructions. Competitors will hear: “Heat #1: Team name and Lane #.”
  2. Captains will hand their timing chip to the Start Official and the chip will be attached to the canoe.
  3. When the Start Officials are satisfied that the canoes are lined up in their respective lanes, the Starter will be signaled.


  1. When the Starter is satisfied that all canoes are correctly aligned, the Starter will inform the teams when there is five, four, three, two minutes remaining before the start time.
  2. Teams must be attached to their starting positions at least two minutes before the designated start time.
  3. The Starter will alert the teams by one verbal cue “ARE YOU READY.” The Starter will raise an ORANGE flag. When the Starter is satisfied that all teams are ready, a HORN will signal the start of the race and the orange flag will be dropped.


1. It will be considered a False Start when, before the horn sounds or before the ORANGE flag is dropped:

     a)  A canoe is out ahead of the rest of the Start Line.

     b)  Any canoe is already being moved ahead after the ‘ARE YOU READY’ command.

     c) Any other condition arises that, in the opinion of the Starter, compromises a fair start.

2. In the case of a false start, the Starter will instruct the teams to realign their canoes at the starting line, provide a TWO MINUTE warning and repeat the Starting procedures.

5. Race Course Officials / Referees

Race Course Marshalls will be placed at the start, at the 6-metre mark and at the finish line.

6. Race Conduct


  1. Each canoe must stay in its proper lane within the lane delineators throughout the race. Teams are to attempt to avoid collisions. The team members are responsible for their own steering. If a team impedes or interferes with any of its opponents or gains any advantage thereby, it will be disqualified.
  2. Each team member except the member at the stern (rear) must have ONE LEG IN THE CANOE by the time the team member at the stern (rear) of the canoe passes the 6 metre marker and at all times thereafter during the course of the race. If a team member falls, the team is required to resume the heat so as to minimize further time penalty. If a team, in the opinion of the Head Referee, has gained an advantage as a result of a team member not having one leg in the canoe during the race, that team will be disqualified.


  1. Each canoe must finish in its assigned lane, within the defined boundaries of the course, with all 5 team members fully intact and in physical contact with the canoe. The member at the stern (rear) of the canoe must cross the finish line with both hands on the canoe. A team will be disqualified if the member at the stern pushes and releases their hands from the canoe at the finish line.
  2. The time of the canoe’s finish will be taken at the instant the nose of the canoe reaches the finish line.
  3. In the event of a dead heat, where two or more canoes finish at the same time, the officials will instruct those teams to race again in order to determine the team that will advance to the next heat.

7. Protests and Disqualification


  1. Protests by teams will be limited to race conduct and race rule infractions only. The Team Captain must report a protest to the Head Official immediately following the race.


  1. The Head Official may disqualify a team for reported infraction of rules, abusive behavior to competitors, volunteers or officials, unsportsmanlike conduct.
  2. Lane Race Marshalls will signal any race rule infractions they have observed while a race is underway to the Finish Line Official by blowing a whistle and notifying offending team(s) of the specific infraction.
  3. The Head Official will decide on all protests and disqualifications. The decision of the Head Official is final and binding.