The Course & Rules

Details for the Skippers
Booking DetailsThe Raft Race

The River Dee

There is normally very little current on the river at this time of the year and the date has been chosen to avoid any high tide from the lower reaches of the river.

The approx. 400 metre course starts just upriver of the Royal Chester Rowing Club, across from the Meadows, passing downstream under the pedestrian Suspension Bridge to a finish indicated on the north bank of the river by the Recorder’s Steps and just above the weir. Although the race is over at this point, the rafts then have to retrace their route back to the launch area on the Meadows.

Rotary Club of Chester Charity Raft Race Rules

 After scrutineering, obtain your OFFICIAL NUMBER TAG from the Rotary Race Control on the Meadows, launch your raft and check in at the Starter Boat which is positioned upriver from the Rowing Clubs, The course is approximately 400m downstream to the Finish Line. Departure is in groups of 3 or 4, at the Start Official’s discretion. At the Finish, the Raft Captain hands the number tag to the Finish Line Marshal  who will display a chequered flag on the right bank of the river just before the weir.  

All persons taking part in the event, in whatever capacity, do so at their own risk, knowing that there is always an element of danger in such events and acknowledge that there is no responsibility for any loss or injury whatsoever upon those organising the event. Raft Captains are personally responsible for bringing this disclaimer to the attention of all members of their crew.

  1. The Captain and crew of each raft must be 16 years of age or over. All competitors must be capable swimmers and must wear an adequate life jacket which is recommended to be of the self-righting type. This rule must be obeyed otherwise the entry will be not be allowed to take part.
  2. We recommend that participants wear suitable lightweight protective headgear such as a canoe or cycling helmet.
  3. All rafts must be constructed of readily available materials excluding any polystyrene, and must not, in the opinion of the Organisers, resemble too closely boats, punts or canoes. Oil drums, etc, if used must be clean and sealed. Overall width, including single bladed paddles must not exceed 10 feet (3.05 meters). Note: Double bladed canoe-style paddles are not allowed.
  4. The crew must ride ON and not IN the raft including any superstructure that may be fitted. The raft can be propelled by any manual method,
  5. The entry number (which will be advised on receipt of the completed entry) must be durable and prominently displayed on BOTH sides of the raft, the figures should be 30cm high and at least 60cm above the water line.
  6. All rafts will be scrutinised prior to launching for general safety and compliance with these rules, and can only be launched from The Meadows. Your official number tag will not be released until this is satisfactorily completed.
  7. IMPORTANT: In order to prevent injury and pollution Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) has stated that it is an absolute rule of the race that the throwing of any matter at other raft entrants or spectators and the general public, including food, hard or soft unpleasant substances e.g. cow dung, offal, paint, eggs, fruit, etc. is forbidden. Failure to observe this will result in immediate disqualification and possible legal action.

To prevent criticism of the event, all crews are responsible for the removal of  their own rafts and debris from the river and The Meadows after the race. CWaC may seek to recover any costs of clearance from any raft crew failing to comply. At the end of the race, all rafts are to be removed from the River Dee   by hand at all times in order to avoid any damage to the river bank and this is a mandatory requirement by the local Council. 

  1. No engine driven water pumps are allowed on rafts and no dye to be used in water sprayed by hand pumps. Nothing is to be thrown or sprayed onto the river bank, the Bandstand or the suspension footbridge.
  2. Interference with the Flyboarder or with other boats, both private and public, including the throwing of missiles is strictly forbidden and will result in instant withdrawal of the entry and could give grounds for prosecution by the Police.
  3. The Rotary Club of Chester accepts no responsibility for rafts, marquees or any other belongings used on The Meadows at any time before, during or after the event.
  4. The attention of entrants is drawn to safety, both for themselves and other competitors, personal health risks and the need to shower after the race and before eating etc. in order to avoid cross contamination from any water pollution or infection.
  5. NO QUAD BIKES or similar vehicles may be used on The Meadows.

CAMPING is not allowed on The Meadows on the Saturday night prior to the race. The gated entrance to The Meadows will be unlocked on Sunday morning by 7.00am.

SAFETY IS OF PRIMARY IMPORTANCE. There will be 3 safety and rescue boats on the river and St John Ambulance will also be in attendance at the event adjacent to the Rotary Race Control on The Meadows.

If you encounter a problem on the river and require assistance raise a straightened arm with fingers splayed and a boat will come to your assistance.

If on shore, then contact anyone in a Rotary Club high-visibility jacket.