Race Officer Certification Program
The goals of the Race Officer Certification programs are:
- To make racing more enjoyable by improving the quality of race management
- To standardize race management practices for the benefit of competitors and members of the race committee
- To identify qualified active race officers and make them available to event organizers
- To provide structured training and continuing education for race officers
- To provide insurance coverage to certified race officers under US Sailing’s general liability policy
The program has three levels: Club, Regional and National Race Officer. In addition to providing evidence of practical experience, participants in the program must attend approved educational offerings and demonstrate their knowledge of race management rules and procedures by passing a test at least once every four years. Appointments are for renewable four-year terms and end on December 31 of the fourth year of certification. US Sailing membership is required. All certified race officers are covered under the US Sailing general liability insurance.
SOARS: Applicants for certification and all certified race officers must record their race management activities in SOARS, the US Sailing on-line reporting system. If you need assistance using SOARS, please review the documentation on the SOARS site or contact your Area Race Officer.
Seminars: A complete listing of Race Officer Seminars and other educational offerings can be found on the Race Officer Seminar Calendar. First-time applicants for each certification level must take a standard seminar; applicants for re-certification at their current level may substitute Continuing Education offerings.
Applications for all race officer appointments are available on the Certification Forms page of the US Sailing website.
Please note that all race officials must submit an application for re-certification at the end of their four-year appointment. Passing a test does not result in automatic re-certification.
Club Race Officer
A Club Race Officer is expected to be able to properly run any race normally conducted at his or her local sailing organization, including organizing the race committee, writing sailing instructions and scoring the event.
The certified Club Race Officer program is administered within each US Sailing geographic Area by the Area Race Officer. The Area Race Officer may certify an applicant as a Club Race Officer whenever all of the material necessary for certification has been received. Please download the PDF below for a list of certification requirements.
Regional Race Officer
A Regional Race Officer is expected to be able to go anywhere in his or her Area and serve as the principal race officer with any race committee to properly run any race or regatta normally conducted in that Area, including regional championship events. This includes organizing the event and the race committee, writing correct sailing instructions, and doing the scoring.
Applications for Regional Race Officer are considered first by the Area Race Officers Working Group and then by the Race Management Committee. Please download the PDF below for a list of certification requirements.
National Race Officer
A National Race Officer is expected to be able to go anywhere in the country and serve as the principal race officer or race management consultant with any race committee to properly run any race or regatta, including national championship events. This includes organizing the event and the race committee, writing correct notices of race and sailing instructions, and doing the scoring.
Applications for National Race Officer are considered first by the Area Race Officers Working Group and then by the Race Management Committee. Please download the PDF below for a list of certification requirements.
Additional Information about Regional and National Race Officer Certification
In addition to the specific technical requirements for each level of certification, the Area Race Officer Working Group (AROWG) and the Race Management Committee (RMC) are responsible for ensuring that applicants have sufficient depth and breadth of experience and demonstrated leadership, teamwork, and relationship skills to be able to go anywhere in the area being applied for and manage any regatta likely to be held in that area. The requirements stated here are the minimum required for certification.
In addition to providing his or her endorsement of the candidate, the ARO must present to the AROWG and RMC evidence that the applicant meets the requirements and possesses these skills. This is done by consulting the references listed on the application, other race officials, competitors and event organizers who are familiar with the applicant’s work, and researching regattas in the applicant’s SOARS record.
Out-of-Venue Events: An out-of-venue event is one for which a race official travels a significant distance from his or her home venue to a distinct body of water and works:
- With an unfamiliar organizing authority and race management team
- With a different group of competitors and/or boats
- In conditions different from those of his or her home waters
- For National Race Officer candidates, an out-of-venue location should be in a different region of the country; at a minimum it must be far enough from home to require an overnight stay
The intent of this requirement is to ensure that a race official candidate has both the technical skills and the people skills to work successfully with a variety of volunteers, competitors and boats in a variety of conditions. Because venues vary widely within regions and around the country, the candidate’s Area Race Officer will have discretion when determining what qualifies as an out-of-venue event.
Local Sailing Organization Endorsement: An endorsement is required from a flag officer of the candidate’s yacht club, sailing center or fleet confirming that he or she is a member, employee or volunteer in good standing and has the organization’s endorsement.
Guidance and further explanation of this process can be obtained by consulting the applicant’s ARO.
Additional Policy Information
For further information on the following Race Officer certification policies, please download the PDF below:
- Additional References and Program Modifications
- Testing and Retesting Policies
- Reviews of Certification Decisions
- Personal Conduct of Race Officers
- Seminar Instructors
- World Sailing (WS) Race Officer Program
Schedule of ARO and RMC Meetings
The Area Race Officers Working Group and Race Management Committee meet quarterly to consider applications for Regional Race Officer and National Race Officer certifications and renewals:
|Meeting||Application due||AROWG meeting||RMC meeting|
|Spring||February 1||Second Tuesday in March||Third Tuesday in March|
|Summer||May 1||Second Tuesday in June||Third Tuesday in June|
|Fall||August 1||Second Tuesday in September||Third Tuesday in September|
|Winter||November 1||Second Tuesday in December||Third Tuesday in December|