Captain's Test

The Captain’s Test is a three-part test that certifies a member’s knowledge of club rules, knowledge of the river rules, and ability to safely handle club equipment.

 

There are two levels, each of which grants members access to different boats in the boathouse:

Level I: Successful completion of Level I permits the use of a club 1x and certifies the member to bow a club 2x or 2- without coach or captain supervision.
Level II: Successful completion of Level II permits the member to bow a club 4x or 4- without coach or captain supervision.

Or continue reading for specific details on the Captain's test.

 

river maps & rules

Maps of the Charles River and Basin (including 2k race course) traffic patterns, and the complete traffic rules.

» View video instructions

coxswains

Coxswains play a big role in maintaining safety standards. Every coxswain is required to pass a Captain’s Test within two weeks of joining RBC.

boat reservations

Members may sign out a boat up to 3 days in advance—failure to show for recurring or other reservations, may result in a loss of privileges.


Fleet restrictions & milage requirements

Fleet
100 miles of rowing are required before members may take a Captain’s Test. 25% of the 100 miles requirement may be earned bowing a double/quad under coach’s supervision. The precise breakdown of how these miles may be earned varies by program and is outlined below. Contact the Captain [captain(at)riversideboatclub(dot)com] for more information, or schedule your captain’s test below.

Gigs
The Riverside Press, Jim Hanley, Chris Dyke and 1869 are considered gigs at Riverside. All members may use these boats at any time (except when there is a restriction of club equipment usage as a whole, such as during weekends over the summer or when the four-oar rule is in effect in the winter).

Filippis
Filippis are restricted, even if members are with a coach (details below – restrictions vary based on program affiliation).

100 miles are required in Gigs before you can take a captains test. Only 25 of the miles bowing a boat under coach supervision is counted toward this 100 miles. Go online for test information and scheduling).

 

Mileage Requirements

Club Members
Your first 100 miles can be achieved as follows:

  • Learn the River Rules and Bridge Arches

  • First 85 miles: Inexperienced scullers (Riverside Press), Experienced scullers (Jim Hanley, 1869 or Chris Dyke)

  • Last 15 Miles (86-100 miles): Filippis* Only with Captain’s approval. After you have completed 85 miles in the gigs and have gotten permission from the captain, you may take out the Filippi singles for the last 15 of your 100 miles. Have someone spot you taking the Fillipis in and out of the racks.

HPG Members:

  • Riverside Press: (inexperienced scullers) – 20 miles + 20 in the Peinerts

  • Familiarize yourself with the river rules and traffic pattern.

  • Peinerts: (experienced scullers) – 40 miles

  • Filippis: Next 60 miles with HPG Coach’s approval.

  • If you are being coached you may use a Fillipi at any time before your Captain’s Test.

Exceptions:
IF you think you are an exception to the above, contact the RBC Captain.


level 1

Sculling Captain’s Test (Club 1x’s & 2x’s)

Rowers must demonstrate their rowing ability by passing the Captain’s Test to earn the privilege of using club boats. Before taking the test, all scullers must log 100 miles in a combo of the gigs/Peinerts/Filippis (see Fleet Restrictions/Mileage Requirements above for specifics). Passing the Level 1 Captain’s Test for Scullers allows individuals to take out singles, doubles, and pairs unsupervised.

There are three parts to the Level 1 Captain’s Test, and members must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the following in order to pass:

I. Boathouse Rules & Procedures

  • How to contact the Captain

  • How to use FleetWatch

  • Familiarity with the damage policy

  • What to do in the event of an accident (Incident + Damage Reports on RBC website, notify Captain)

  • How to report wear and tear damage to a boat (Damage Report on website, note in the Rigger’s book, “No Row” sign, if necessary)

  • How to reserve boats (Up to 3 days in advance, 3 time slots during the day, 5 or 10 minute grace period, cannot book both AM 1x time slots, etc.)

  • Boat use priority (sweep boats are reserved during sweep practices, HPG has priority over 2x’s around NSRs, etc.)

  • Boat weight capacities

  • Cold water rules – How to get back into your boat if you flip (describe winter procedure for same)

  • Boat light requirements – sunset to sunrise times posted at BH, lights can be purchased at CRI.

  • Traveling with RBC Equipment Sign Out and Sign In online.

  • Boathouse security (pulling in swing dock, closing bay doors).

  • Monthly boat maintenance (where to find forms, what to do)

II. Charles River Rules, Traffic Pattern, Arch Usage, River Etiquette

  • Find the river rules here.

  • Names of all the bridges

  • Typical arch usage for all bridges (going upstream and downstream)

  • Seasonal arch usage for bridges, when necessary (ie River/Western: Center arch is upstream only from Labor Day through Thanksgiving)

  • “Special” river rules/obstacles (ie MIT Lane, Union Lane, sand bar)

  • When passing, pass towards the center

  • Passers have the right of way. If you are being passed, you need to yield

  • Rule of thirds: keep to your third of the river (nobody should ever be in the middle of the river)

  • If you need to stop, pull as close to shore as possible

  • Construction to bridges is ongoing, which causes change in traffic patterns, sometimes multiple times daily. These updates are sent out via CRAB (Charles River Alliance of Boaters) Updates to the RBC-Members ListServ.

III. On-the-Water Portion

  • Be sure to reserve a 1x ahead of time. If there are no 1x’s available at the time of your test, you will have to reschedule.

  • Testers much display the ability to properly/safely rack the boats (taking a club single in/out of the rack and water successfully, without touching anything). In anticipation of a candidates Level2 Certification they must be aware of “bunching” technique at the bow and stern ends of 4- and 4X’s.

  • Launching and landing in the proper direction

  • Paddling (square and feather)

  • Turning (pivot)

  • Rowing at pressure and then stopping quickly (holding water)

  • Rowing backwards (backing water)

  • Docking in the proper direction


level 1

Sweep Captain’s Test (Club 2-‘s)

Rowers must log 8 sessions in the bow of either a 4- or 2- . The first half of these sessions must be under the supervision of a coach. A maximum of 4 sessions bowing a 2- with a captain-tested member without a coach present may be counted toward these 8 sessions. A coach’s recommendation is required to be eligible for Level 1 Sweep Captain’s testing.

Sweep Captain’s testing will be done in a pair. This Level 1 Sweep Captain Test qualifies a member only to bow pairs unsupervised. Rowers must receive Level 2 Sweep certification to bow 4-‘s unsupervised.

— Summer members are not eligible for Captain’s testing. —

In addition to this, all Captain’s test applicants must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the following:

I. Boathouse Rules & Procedures

  • How to contact the Captain

  • How to use FleetWatch

  • Familiarity with the damage policy

  • What to do in the event of an accident (Incident + Damage Reports on RBC website, notify Captain)

  • How to report wear and tear damage to a boat (Damage Report on website, note in the Rigger’s book, “No Row” sign, if necessary)

  • How to reserve boats (Up to 3 days in advance, 3 time slots during the day, 5 or 10 minute grace period, cannot book both AM 1x time slots, etc.)

  • Boat use priority (sweep boats are reserved during sweep practices, HPG has priority over 2x’s around NSRs, etc.)

  • Boat weight capacities

  • Cold water rules – How to get back into your boat if you flip (describe winter procedure for same)

  • Boat light requirements – sunset to sunrise times posted at BH, lights can be purchased at CRI.

  • Traveling with RBC Equipment Sign Out and Sign In online

  • Boathouse security (pulling in swing dock, closing bay doors)

  • Monthly boat maintenance (where to find forms, what to do)

II. Charles River Rules, Traffic Pattern, Arch Usage, River Etiquette

  • Find the river rules here

  • Names of all the bridges

  • Typical arch usage for all bridges (going upstream and downstream)

  • Seasonal arch usage for bridges, when necessary (ie River/Western: Center arch is upstream only from Labor Day through Thanksgiving)

  • “Special” river rules/obstacles (ie MIT Lane, Union Lane, sand bar)

  • When passing, pass towards the center

  • Passers have the right of way. If you are being passed, you need to yield

  • Rule of thirds: keep to your third of the river (nobody should ever be in the middle of the river)

  • If you need to stop, pull as close to shore as possible

  • Construction to bridges is ongoing, which causes change in traffic patterns, sometimes multiple times daily. These updates are sent out via CRAB (Charles River Alliance of Boaters) Updates to the RBC-Members ListServ.

III. On-the-Water Portion

  • Testers much display the ability to properly/safely rack the boats (taking a pair in/out of the rack and water successfully). In anticipation of a candidates Level2 Certification they must be aware of “bunching” technique at the bow and stern ends of 4- and 4X’s.

  • Launching and landing in the proper direction

  • Paddling (square and feather)

  • Turning (pivot)

  • Rowing at pressure and then stopping quickly (holding water)

  • Rowing backwards (backing water)

  • Docking in the proper direction


Level II

Sculling Captain’s Test (Club 4x’s)

Members who have received Level I Sculling certification by passing their Level I  Sculling Captain’s Test may wish to eventually bow 4x’s by receiving a Level II Sculling certification. To earn a Level II Sculling certification, a member have been Level I-certified for at least one month before obtaining Level II certification. Prospective Level II certification recipients must obtain recommendations from 2 senior members who already have their Level II certification to support their request to the Captain. Senior members sponsoring someone for Level II certification should feel confident that the candidate will safely use the faster and more expensive boats.

Level-I certified members may bow a 4x a maximum of 8 sessions unaccompanied by a coach but with a Level-II certified member present in the boat while preparing for Level-II certification. The Level-II certified member will be held responsible for any incidents that occur while the boat is being bowed by a Level-I certified member. This is not required to receive Level-II certification, but is in place to allow Level-I certified members to have more flexibility in practicing the bowing of 4x’s.

Level-II Sculling certification allows members to bow all boats (1x’s, 2x’s, 2-‘s, 4x’s and 4-‘s) unsupervised.

A list of Level II Certified Senior Members will be posted at the boathouse and an updated list can be obtained upon request to the Captain. Application for Level II Certification requires 2 recommendations to the Captain, one sent from each of your personal sponsors that lists:

  • Name of candidate

  • Circumstance(s) sponsor has rowed with candidate

  • Why sponsor believes candidate is qualified to bow 4x’s


level II

Sweep Captain’s Test (Club 4-‘s)

Members who have received Level I Sweep certification by passing their Level I Sweep Captain’s Test may wish to eventually bow 4-‘s by receiving a Level II Sweep certification. To earn a Level II Sweep certification, a member have been Level I-certified for at least one month before obtaining Level II certification. Prospective Level II certification recipients must obtain recommendations from 2 senior members who already have their Level II certification to support their request to the Captain. Senior members sponsoring someone for Level II certification should feel confident that the candidate will safely use the faster and more expensive boats.

Level-I certified members may bow a 4- a maximum of 8 sessions unaccompanied by a coach but with a Level-II certified member present in the boat while preparing for Level-II certification. The Level-II certified member will be held responsible for any incidents that occur while the boat is being bowed by a Level-I certified member. This is not required to receive Level-II certification, but is in place to allow Level-I certified members to have more flexibility in practicing the bowing of 4-‘s.

Level-II Sweep certification allows members to bow all sweep boats (2-‘s and 4-‘s) unsupervised.

A list of Level II Certified Senior Members will be posted at the boathouse and an updated list can be obtained upon request to the Captain. Application for Level II Certification requires 2 recommendations to the Captain, one sent from each of your personal sponsors that lists:

  • Name of candidate

  • Circumstance(s) sponsor has rowed with candidate

  • Why sponsor believes candidate is qualified to bow 4x’s


coxswain test

The ultimate goal of the Coxswain Test is to demonstrate competence, safety and self-reliance on the Charles River, and in and around Riverside Boat Club. Riverside coxswains must have full knowledge of the Charles River rules and traffic pattern, and safety protocols. Coxswains must not need to ask rowers in the boat for advice on the traffic pattern or safety protocols. Similarly, coxswains must not rely on coaches for guidance because coaches may be busy with other crews or too far away to respond to questions.

The coxswain has the primary and ultimate responsibility of knowing exactly where to go, what to do and how to keep the crew safe. Therefore it is expected that all coxswains are knowledgeable on the water and around the boathouse. All coxswains must be tested as soon as possible upon joining Riverside Boat Club. Coxswains must cox at least three outings with a Riverside crew under the supervision of a Riverside coach before scheduling a Coxswain Test.

Passing the Coxswain Test entitles the coxswain to cox club boats unsupervised at any permitted time, with the exception of U23 summer program coxswains who must be accompanied by their program coach at all times. These privileges may be revoked at any time by the Riverside Captain.

The Coxswain Test has two parts, an on-water portion and an off-water portion, both of which must be fully satisfied to pass.

I. On-Water Portion

The on-water portion involves shadowing the coxswain being tested during a regular scheduled practice, when they will be expected to demonstrate the following:

  • Adherence to the most current version of the Charles River Rowing Traffic Pattern defined by the Charles River Rowing Committee, specifically Section I (“Charles River Traffic Patterns For Rowers”) and Section II (“Rowing Equipment”), and accompanying maps of the river and basin

  • Proper CoxBox use, storage and handling procedures

  • Proper boat handling, including use of tennis ball covers for top-nuts, care on the dock and wiping dry with towels

  • When and how to use boat lights

  • How to use Fleetwatch

  • Assertive but consistent and safe outing implementation, including constant situational awareness and appropriate communication with other river users

II. Off-Water Portion

The off-water portion, done immediately after the on-water portion, involves verbally demonstrating thorough knowledge of the following:

  • Where not already demonstrated during the on-water portion, the most current version of the Charles River Rowing Traffic Pattern defined by the Charles River Rowing Committee, specifically Section I (“Charles River Traffic Patterns For Rowers”) and Section II (“Rowing Equipment”), and the accompanying maps of the river and basin

  • Contact information for the Captain and safety representative(s)

  • Use of the boat schedule, including restrictions on club boat use at certain times of year, and rules for priority of boat use

  • Protocol in the cases of lightning or thunder, strong wind and extreme cold

  • How to report an accident or incident (online incident log, notify Captain)

  • How to report damage to a boat (online boat damage log, rigger’s book, notify Captain) and understanding of boat damage policy

  • Proper procedure for travel with club boats and equipment such as CoxBoxes, including the online regatta equipment sign-out/in forms


Please fill out the form when you are ready to be tested. Please be sure that you have completed your 100 miles, know the river rules/traffic pattern, know the boathouse procedures, and can properly carry a single in and out of the boathouse without the boat touching anything.

Not every member passes on their first attempt.

how to schedule