This page has invaluable information for all parents but especially those parents who are new to rowing.  Here you will find most answers to lots or your questions about what to expect at your first regatta as well as packing list!  Feel free to contact then PA at if you have any questions not answered on this page and we will try to help you out. 



Q: What is a regatta and what are the logistics involved?
A:  A crew regatta is a day-long race (some events are two days, involving an overnight hotel stay). Most race venues are within a two hour drive.  The races usually begin at 8:00am and continue until as late as 5:00 or 6:00pm, depending on the event.

Q: What time does my rower have to be at the race and when can he/she leave?
A:  Rowers are expected to be at the venue two hours prior to their race time, and stay until their coach dismisses them. Coxswains and bows are required to attend an early morning meeting at the race site.  Even though the rowers may not be on the water for more than a half hour, they have to unload the boat trailer at the race site and rig boats for the race, as well as load and store the boats back on the trailer for the trip home.

Q: Do I need to accompany my rower to the race?
A:  While it is not required for a parent to attend the race, we do ask for parent volunteers to sign up and help out at each regatta. We also encourage family members to come and support the team.  PCRA policy is that rowers do not drive themselves to a regatta.  If you cannot attend the regatta, please ensure you have an “in-loco-parentis” arrangement. 

Q:  What do I (and my rower) need to bring to a regatta?
A:    Check out our Regatta Packing List (for rowers and parents) below. 

Q: Are races held if it’s raining?
A: Races are held even if it is raining, and only canceled if there is lightening or strong winds.  For this reason, it is imperative that rowers come prepared and dressed to face the elements.  Especially if your rower is competing in more than one race, a change of dry clothing is necessary.  Parents need to have waterproof jackets and boot/shoes too (ones that you don’t mind getting muddy!)

Q: How do I know which regatta to volunteer for if I don’t know if my child will be rowing?
A:   The week before each regatta when you will know whether your child will be rowing, we will ask parents to select a shift to volunteer for during the day of the regatta.  If you are unable to attend, there are preparation and clean up volunteer tasks.

Q: If a parent has multiple children participating in PCRA, will they be responsible for volunteer obligations for each child?
A: Yes.  At least one regatta per child.

Q: Can’t the athletes do this themselves?
A:  No, the coaches need the athletes to focus on their race and the races of their  teammates.  Rigging and de-rigging boats is an ongoing process during the entire regatta.

Q: Who is in charge of the regatta I am assigned to?
A: Each regatta will have at least four regatta captains.  These captains will be in charge of the flow of the day and will be your point person for duties and timing.

Q: I assume no alcohol at these events.
A: Correct, no alcohol.

Q: Is there a uniform to race in?
A: A uniform is required for JV and Varsity racers – the coaches will inform the rowers what they are expected to wear at each regatta. Is is typically unisuit (a one piece competition uniform) in warm weather and a cold weather training top with black leggings when it is colder.    Each rower needs to have shoes that can get wet (boots, flip-flops or water clogs) and waterproof jackets and boots/shoes to keep them dry on land.  Additional layers may include running shorts, sweats, t-shirts, sweat shirts, and jackets. Rowers must be prepared for all types of weather. Extra, dry clothes and extra socks are a must—rowing is a water sport and your teen will get wet… Hats and gloves in colder weather and sunscreen on sunny days. Rowers typically wear the same unisuit for all their years of competition. We recommend you write your name on all of your clothing.

Q:  Should my rower bring food or money to the race?
A: PCRA PA sets up a hospitality tent on the race course to support the rowers throughout the race day.  Specific details as it relates to each regatta will be sent to parents in advance of the race.  The tent is a place where rowers can rest and get something to eat and drink, and parents can congregate and watch the events on the water. Parent volunteers do it all – set up the tent, prepare the food, and make sure everything runs smoothly.  It’s like tailgating on a grand scale!   In addition, most race venues have food vendors on site, as well as t-shirts and other crew clothing for sale. 

Q:  What if the race is far and we need to stay in a hotel?
A: Some regattas require an overnight hotel stay.  In these cases, specific details will be sent to the parents in advance of the race.

Q:  My rower has a drivers’ license, can they drive themselves to regattas?
A: PCRA policy is that only parents can drive rowers to regattas.  If you car-pool, please arrange for an “in-loco parentis” parent, responsible for the rower for the entire duration of the regatta. 



  • List of other rower’s cell phone numbers, your coach’s cell phone number

  • Hefty bag (or water proof duffle bag) labeled with name, for easy, waterproof place to dump stuff just before a race (store it under the trailer) and a great way to bring home lots of wet, muddy stuff in the car!

  • Water bottle (water is provided – you provide the bottle)

  • Cell phone

  • Chargers if staying overnight

  • Watch

  • Jackets (sweatshirts, PCRA splash jacket, etc.)

  • Rain gear (rain jacket/rain pants)

  • Team Uni & extra uni if you own one

  • PCRA tank top

  • Other spandex in case of possibility of practice

  • Change of clothing + clothing for all weather permutations!

  • Extra socks

  • Towel

  • Zip lock bags

  • Hat

  • Sunglasses

  • Sneakers for pre-race run

  • Rain boots

  • Shoes to wear down to dock (easy off)

  • Sunscreen

  • Bug spray

  • Water

  • Food

  • Cash

  • Hair ties, headbands, bobby pins, clips

  • TP or Kleenex for port-o-pots

  • Wipes or Purell

  • Girl products

  • Blankets

  • Gloves

  • Hand/feet warmers

  • Homework


At many races your child will not be near you and you may not see them virtually all day, so be sure to have them pack all things they will need in their own bag, and bring what ever you will need in yours. Having their sunscreen, rain gear, etc. in your bag might not be very helpful to them when it starts to pour and they’re a mile up river!

  • Phone numbers for coaches, fellow parents, etc.


  • GPS

  • Check directions (seriously; sometimes even event websites posts wrong directions!)

  • Map



  • Phones

  • Chargers if you’re staying overnight

  • Snacks for the car and/or for the night if you’re staying over

  • TP or Kleenex for port-o-pots

  • Wipes or Purell

  • Sunscreen

  • Bug spray

  • Chairs

  • Binoculars

  • Camera and/or video camera (extra batteries)

  • Water

  • Jackets, gloves, sunglasses, hats, etc.

  • Rain gear

  • Umbrellas & rain boots

  • Blankets

  • Gloves

  • Hand/feet warmers

  • Appropriate shoes in case of extreme mud!

  • Something to read

  • Money, check and/or credit card to buy event tee shirt & rowing garb – remember to ask kids about sizing! Buy event tees early as they run out of sizes/colors (especially size S). Good place to buy rowing garb—sale bins and no shipping!


Please anticipate race day to be an all-day event for the rowers and volunteers.

As part of the commitment to the community rowing program, all rowers and parents are encouraged to support and cheer for all of the PCRA boats.  Please make your presence known at the tents and the river’s edge.  It is a great way to get to know your child’s boatmates and the rest of the PCRA community.

Rowers will be busy with many responsibilities on race day even though their race is a relatively short portion of the long day.  The best time for parents to catch up with their rower will usually be about a half hour after the race when their rower comes over to the hospitality tent.

Upon arrival at the regatta site, oars and boats are unloaded from the trailer and boats are rigged for the day.  Rowers do not arrive early to help unload and rig the boats – they arrive to prepare for the race – this includes unloading and rigging -everyone is required to be on time.

After the race, rowers cool down and de-rig the boats for loading onto the trailer.  Loading the trailer after the races requires everyone.  Sometimes this means that the novices will have to wait for the varsity races to be completed (or vice versa), as the equipment has to be loaded on the trailer in a particular order.  Often, patience is required in the trailer loading process, but rest assured that everyone has the same goal of loading the trailer safely and efficiently.

After all the equipment is loaded, the rower is free to leave and travel home.  If rowers wish to leave a race course with their parents earlier, the rower must request permission to leave from a coach before departing from the race venue.