Race Officers are responsible for
- Choosing courses to give competitors the best possible races
- Adjusting the course in response to changing conditions
- Starting and finishing the fleet
- Scoring the event
- Ensuring the safety of competitors and the race committee
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.
Please note that all race officers must submit an application for recertification at the end of their four-year appointment. Passing a test does not result in automatic recertification.
The goals of the Race Officer Certification program 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
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 US Sailing's general liability insurance.
Applicants for certification and all certified race officers must record their race management activities in SOARS, US Sailing’s online reporting system. If you need assistance using SOARS, please review the documentation on the SOARS site or contact your Area Race Officer.
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 when 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 completing the scoring.
Applications for Regional Race Officer are considered first by the Area Race Officers Working Group (AROWG) and then by the Race Management Committee (RMC). 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 completing the scoring.
Applications for National Race Officer are considered first by the AROWG and then by the RMC. 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, both the AROWG and 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 officer candidate has both the technical and 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 ARO 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 or the equivalent 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||First Tuesday in December||Second Tuesday in December|
Area Race Officers (AROs)
AROs are the race officer administrators in each of US Sailing’s Areas.
The ARO is responsible for encouraging and guiding members who wish to take a race officer course, become certified or recertified, or upgrade their certification level. AROs also help organizers recruit race officers for their events, place race officers at events, schedule training seminars and answer race management-related questions from members.
For more information about race officers and race management, please contact your ARO, who is identified by his or her Area in the table below.
Race Management Committee
The Race Management Committee:
- develops, supports and certifies race officers within the U.S.
- maintains the training and testing programs for certification.
- assists sailing organizations in obtaining qualified race officers for events.
- provides support and advice on the roles and conduct of race officers at US Sailing events.
- investigates complaints against race officers.
- submits candidates for approval by the Board as nominees for World Sailing International Race Officers.
Race Officer Training and Certification Working Group
The role of the Race Officer Training and Certification Subcommittee is to develop and maintain the Race Officer training program, and communicate the procedures for certification in print or electronically on its website.
The Subcommittee also appoints instructors to teach its one-day and Advanced (two-day) race management seminars. These seminars are a part of US Sailing’s race officer training and certification programs. People are appointed as instructors based on their level of race officer certification, demonstrated capability and experience as instructors and willingness to serve.
Forms, Diagrams, Equipment and Other Items Useful in Race Management
Forms, Diagrams, Equipment and Other Items Useful in Race Management - Designed to provide useful Race Management Committee “tools” used in the administration and running of races. An example of a “tool” is a piece of equipment, a useful form, a publication, a set of graphics for courses or flags, or any other “tool” that somebody has found especially useful and has the potential for wide application.