Please read the rules carefully before entering the event.

Chester Raft Race Rules


 How the scoring will work;

Theme Score (30% of Total Score):

Time Score (70% of Total Score):


The highest overall score wins.
In the event of a tie, the raft with the fastest Time Score wins.
The Time Score is based on the fastest raft’s time, with all other rafts receiving a proportional score based on their theme compared to the fastest raft.

All scores are to be determined by the judges’ panel, all judges decisions are conducted independently and are final.

Scoring System: Each raft will be scored on the theme by the panel of judges on a scale of 1-10. The raft with the highest theme score will be declared the winner.

Tiebreaker: In case of a tie, the time taken to complete the course will be used as a tiebreaker. The raft with the fastest time will be declared the winner.

Design Guidelines: Rafts must be designed with the theme in mind, and all decorations and designs should be securely fastened to the raft to prevent them from falling off during the race.

Safety First: Safety measures should be taken into consideration while designing and decorating the raft. Rafts should be designed in such a way that they are safe for the participants and do not pose a risk to other rafts or the spectators.

Judging Criteria: The judging panel will consider the creativity, originality, execution, and relevance of the theme while scoring the rafts. They will also take into account how well the theme is integrated into the overall design of the raft.

Prize: The winning team will receive a trophy and other prizes to be determined by the organisers.

By adopting this rule, the event will become more interesting and exciting for both participants and spectators. The focus will be on creativity and teamwork rather than just speed, and it will encourage participants to come up with unique and innovative ideas for their rafts. Additionally, this version of the race will create a level playing field for all participants, as winning is not solely based on physical ability or speed.


The 2024 award categories for the raft race event include:

  • Overall winner: The fastest and best-themed raft.
  • Ladies only: The fastest team made up of only women.
  • Fastest Raft: The fastest raft on the River Dee
  • Fastest hostelry: The fastest pub, restaurant, or hotel on the river Dee.
  • Fastest innovation: The fastest rafts that are not using traditional paddle power.
  • Greenest raft: The most eco-friendly build.
  • Titanic ultimate sinkers award: The fastest sinking raft.

Additionally, some categories may have runners up awards. The overall winner will now be scored based on both time and theme, with 70% weighting on time and 30% weighting on theme.

General Race Rules

Raft Scrutineering will take place on The Meadows to ensure that rafts are serviceable and meet the entry requirements

After scrutineering, obtain your Official Tag Number from the Race Control HQ, launch your raft and check in at the Starter Boat which is positioned upriver of 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 of the self-righting type. This rule must be obeyed otherwise the entry will not be allowed to take part, due to the ranging types and sizes of life jackets we cannot provide them to you, You must obtain your own life jacket prior to the event,

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, 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. The raft can be propelled by any manual method. Rafts using not using paddles will be entered into the innovation category and will not be eligible for the Overall category.

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 waterline.

6. All rafts will be scrutinized 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 riverbank and this is a mandatory requirement.

8. 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 riverbank, the Bandstand or the suspension footbridge.

9. Interference with other boats, both private and public, including the throwing of water or missiles is strictly forbidden and will result in instant withdrawal of the entry and could give grounds for prosecution by the Police.

10. Chester Grosvenor 76 Round Table Charity accepts no responsibility for rafts, marquees or any other belongings used on The Meadows at any time before, during or after the event.

11. 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.

12. 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 7.30 am.

13. Each raft must have a designated captain who is responsible for the safety of their crew and the navigation of the raft. The captain must attend a safety briefing prior to the race.

14. No alcohol or drugs are allowed on the rafts or in the possession of any crew member during the race. Anyone deemed unfit to enter the race will be banished and could result the withdrawal of your raft from the race.

15. Any rafts deemed unsafe or not meeting the entry requirements will not be allowed to participate in the race.

16. Rafts must not exceed a maximum weight limit of 500kg.

17. Any crew member who falls into the water during the race must immediately swim to the nearest safety boat or raft and await further instructions.

18. In case of emergency, all rafts must be equipped with a whistle, a waterproof torch and a first-aid kit.

19. Rafts must not impede the progress of other rafts or interfere with the safety of other competitors.

20. The use of foul language or abusive behaviour towards race officials, volunteers, vendors or other competitors will not be tolerated and may result in disqualification. This is a family and charity event.

21. Any disputes or protests must be made in writing and submitted to the race officials within 30 minutes of the finish of the race.

22. The race officials reserve the right to disqualify any rafts or crew members for any breach of the rules or for any conduct deemed inappropriate.

23. The race officials reserve the right to modify or cancel the race in the event of inclement weather or any other unforeseen circumstances.

24. All participants agree to abide by the Chester Raft Race Rules and to follow the instructions of the race officials at all times.