Umpire Exams are open to any member of a club affiliated to Rowing Ireland who is 18 years or older. They are held annually in each of the four provinces, normally between January and March.

Rowing Ireland is currently working with the Umpires Committee regarding new initiatives and will be forming an Umpires Association. Will update the page accordingly.

In line with our Governance changes and that of World Rowing we will be reviewing the ToR of every committee including the umpires committee over the course of next number of months.

Umpire Exam Format


The seminar which generally takes approximately 90 mins is a general run through the duties of a starter, umpire and judge. All aspects of an umpires duties are covered and this portion of the exam is invaluable in the later sections.

Exam Paper: 

This is a multiple-choice paper with 25 questions. There are three possible answers to each scenario given. None, one, two or three of the answers may be correct. You must circle all correct answers on the answer paper provided. Most of the questions are based on the rules for Competitive Rowing but candidates should be familiar with all sections of the rule book. A pass mark of 70% is required. Candidates are permitted 30 minutes to complete the paper.


Candidates who are not renewing or those with a licence which has expired by more than one year must also take a practical. This consists of a simulated course on which you and a maximum of two others will be asked to align, start, umpire or judge. The emphasis for new candidates will be on short course starts. The examiners will be judging you on how you act in each scenario they pose. A good knowledge of the rules combined with the ability to make rational and fair decisions is required.

Having passed the examination, candidates who are considered to have the confidence to commence umpiring on their own are awarded full licences. More commonly however successful candidates are awarded “provisional” licences. This means that the holder must officiate at a minimum of two different regattas under the supervision of two different a licenced umpires to obtain their licence. If the provisional holder fails to officiate at two regattas under supervision the licence lapses and the entire examination must again be undertaken in a subsequent year. Licences are valid for a period of five years. To renew a licence, the holder must attend a seminar and score 70% on the exam paper.

Umpire selection for Rowing Ireland events

Rowing Ireland encourages umpires to volunteer for the 1k and Championship event in order to support our member affiliated clubs and their members. Umpires will be selected to give a full geographical overview of our affiliated clubs and ensure that area’s are well represented. If we have a surplus of umpires in any given year there may not be enough allocations for all umpires present.

Umpiring pathway

In order to be selected for International umpiring pathway you should apply to the chair of the umpires committee:

The Chair of the umpire committee will propose the candidates to the the board annually via the CEO.

To be considered for this pathway, all nominees must have signed and be fully compliant with Rowing Ireland code of conduct for volunteers, committees, and chairs, and must also agree to and have fully complied with the World Rowing code of conduct in all its aspects.

Following a review of the nominations by the internal nominations panel the executive will then bring the selected candidates to the Board for their ratification.

International World Rowing umpires and International World Rowing pathway

Nominees for the World Rowing umpiring pathway through Rowing Ireland must comply with the organisation’s and World Rowing’s code of conduct.

The selected candidates will be presented to the Board from the executive for ratification having received nominations from the Umpire committee. Rowing Ireland World Rowing umpires should also encourage mentorship of new participants.

Following a developmental pathway put in place in 2023 a staggered system will be implemented to maintain a constant flow of new World umpires. All nominees for international events must have fully complied with Rowing Ireland code of conduct and World Rowing code of conduct.

International events

World Rowing/Home International Rowing/Coupe Rowing request Umpires to be selected every year for their events. The Chair of the Umpires committee will nominate the International Umpires.

To be considered for this pathway, all nominees must have fully complied with and signed the Rowing Ireland code of conduct for volunteers, committees, and chairs, and must also agree to and have in the past fully complied with the World Rowing code of conduct.

The CEO will bring candidates to the Board for their ratification.

A list of rules and codes from World Rowing and IOC can be found here:

World Rowing code of ethics

World Rowing Rules

Changes per World Rowing circular February 2023

Rowing Ireland Umpires’ List 2024

RI Umpires List 03.04.24.docx


Our sponsors and partners