BUMPS 2021 – MARSHALS INSTRUCTIONS

These instructions cover general guidance for all marshals and the detailed instructions covering the responsibilities and duties of both Race and Position Marshals.

A pdf version of these instructions is available here: Town Bumps Marshalling Instructions

A recording of the 2021 Marshal Meeting can be found here: 2021 Marshal Meeting Recording Passcode: v!6qgZ00

GENERAL GUIDANCE (applicable to all marshals)

Preparation

Even if you have marshalled before, all marshals should read/re-read the following documents (all on the CRA Bumps website) as the arrangements may have changed:

  • These instructions
  • Bumps Rules
  • Bumps Marshalling and Finishes (provide details of where boats should marshal prior to their division and the finish points for each division)
  • Notes for Coxes
  • Bumps Safety Rules

Please also attend a marshals’ meeting (see below).

NEW MARSHALS – it is very important that you attend one of the marshals’ meetings for a full briefing.

The marshal’s meetings will be conducted via Zoom, links to the Zoom meetings will be distributed ahead of the meeting times. 

  • Wednesday 14 July 8pm
  • Friday 16 July 8pm
  • Sunday 18 Jul 6pm

The meeting on Friday 16 July will be recorded and made available if you are unable to attend one of the above meetings, but please endeavour to attend, particularly if you have not marshalled Bumps before.

ANY QUERIES – ask fellow Club members to explain

COVID Safety Measures:

  • Face coverings, hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes will be available at CONTROL
  • It is strongly recommended that all marshals wear a face covering while carrying out their duties
  • Although high visibility vests will be provided, it is recommended that you bring your own high-visibility vest/jacket where possible
  • When signing in for your position, collecting equipment and when reporting bumps at CONTROL please maintain your distance from others. There will be separate stations for these activities, please be patient if there is a queue.
  • Position Marshals - When handing over equipment e.g., radio, loud hailer, to the next marshal, or returning to control, please wipe down the surfaces and use hand sanitiser before and after handling equipment.

Non-Race Related Incidents

Arrangements have been made to have police officers present during the event.

The contact details for the police officers leading the cover for the event will be available at CONTROL. They will check in with CONTROL each evening when they arrive. 

From Monday-Friday police officers will be patrolling the course on both sides of the river, with a particular focus on Grassy Corner and Plough Reach.  If you encounter any issues with members of the public, please do not engage.  If there is no police officer nearby to intervene, do not leave your station to locate one, but contact CONTROL who will get in touch with the police contacts.

Keep a note of the time of any incident and obtain names and contact details from any witnesses so that a full report can be submitted to the River Manager and police.

Let the Chief Marshal and CONTROL know by radio immediately if there is any sign of activity by protesters.

If there is any incident involving any boat not in connection with the Races, please fill in an accident report form at CONTROL.

Before the Start

  • Review the starting order for the Division(s) you are marshalling from the CRA website
  • Review the boat marshalling and finish positions from the CRA website, this illustrates the finish positions for each Division.
  • Check in at CONTROL (by Peters Posts) on your way to your position and collect a reflective jacket. (Please remember to return it later.)
  • Make sure you know when you need to be in position, refer to the Marshals rota on the CRA website.
  • If a crew withdraws from the event, the lower crews will be moved up to close the gap on the stations, this will be identified in the start order before the event and the start order will be adjusted to reflect this.
  • If a crew is unable to row on any evening, e.g., due to one or more members having to self-isolate, and no subs being available, the crews’ station will remain empty, and as described in rule 5.3.b the chasing crew will row past the station of the non-starting crew, then pull over, and be awarded the bump. The gap will only be closed if the bumps committee is notified that the crew is withdrawing from the event.

 

End of Day Bumps Committee Meeting

At the end of each day, the Bumps Committee will meet at the CONTROL to finalise the results. If there has been a dispute or incident you may be required to give your report.

The website will then be updated. On the Friday night.  In this year’s event (2021) there will be no official presentation for the Head of the River, the crews finishing Head of the River should pull in and collect their pots from CONTROL.   

What constitutes a Bump?

A Bump is either actual contact between boats/blades of the chasing and chased crews or may (in the first half of each race only) be a technical bump.

A bump will also be awarded when:

  1. Bowball of the following boat passes the bowball of the leading boat
  2. Bowball of the following boat passes the chain bolt of the station of a non-starting boat

Technical bumps - before the post on the towpath opposite the Plough, a technical bump can be made. This is where the bow of the chasing boat is level with the cox's seat in the chased boat.  The chased cox should acknowledge the technical bump but marshals may have a better view and may need to tell the cox to acknowledge. These decisions can be difficult but if two crews are travelling fast with one overlapping another and making ground, safety is paramount so, when it is clear a bump is inevitable, the race marshal should tell the cox to acknowledge.

Contact and acknowledgement - after the Plough post, contact must be made or if the bow ball of the chasing boat passes the bow ball of the leading boat a bump is awarded. If the chased cox acknowledges, the bump is valid, whether or not you or the race marshal saw it and whether or not there was in fact contact.

If you have seen contact or the bow ball of the following boat passing the chased boat, but the chased cox fails to acknowledge, you should tell them to do so immediately. Safety is paramount and heavy fines are imposed for refusal to acknowledge promptly.  If the cox persists in refusing to acknowledge, warn them and their bank party of your intention to report them to the Chief Marshal.

In the case of non-starting boats, the bow ball of the chasing boat must pass the chain bolt of the station of the non-starting boat for the bump to be awarded. A marshal should be stationed at the chain bolt of a non-starting boat to ensure the bow ball of the chasing boat passes the chain bolt.


 

RACE MARSHALS

 

What do Race Marshals do?

Race Marshals are crucial to the safe and smooth running of the Bumps. Please take the role seriously and ensure that you understand clearly what is required of you. You must act impartially. Your job is to see the fair running of the races and to be prepared to assist generally should the need arise.

You will be allocated to two crews. Each crew has its own bank party and the cox is in command of each crew.

Your job is, largely, one of observation, providing important evidence in the event of a dispute. Make an immediate note of Bumps you see together with whatever may happen in consequence, in what order, and where on the river it occurs.

You must also help to keep the river clear for the crews behind your allocated crews.

The Chief Marshal is in overall charge of all race marshals.

Your duties

Before the Start:

  • Report to CONTROL 30 minutes before the start time of the division you are assigned to.
  • Report to the Chief Marshal (at the A14 Bridge). They will allocate you to your crew(s) and remind you where the finish is for your Division.
  • You must be in your marshal position 10 minutes before the race.

 

At the Start

  • Introduce yourself to your allocated crew(s). Remind all involved that, in the event of a dispute, they must tell you that they want to register their dispute at CONTROL at the end of the race.
  • Check that both your crews have bow balls and both coxes are wearing life jackets. Warn the crews and the Chief Marshal if these are missing. No crew is permitted to race without these safety measures.
  • If your chased crew is not on their station at the start, warn the chasing crew that they will be awarded a technical bump when they row past its station, unless the crew behind them catches them first. They must therefore be ready to stop and pull in quickly. Warn the next crew back that your chasing crew will be stopping within the first few strokes unless they bump them first.
  • Check that the coxes of your allocated crews have hold of the bung at the end of their chains on the start.
  • If a cox drops the bung before the start, and you consider this gives that crew an unfair advantage AND they make a bump, report it when you get to CONTROL. On the first night, coxes will be nervous and, if the bung is dropped but it makes no difference, just mention it to the cox, who will probably be mortified anyway.
  • Bikes and bank parties - No crew may have more than four bikes in its bank party. Fines are imposed on clubs ignoring this rule. If you see any Club at the start with more bikes than this, warn the cox and report this to the Chief Marshal and, if not rectified before the start, report it to CONTROL after the race. If you notice a large bank party during the race, report it to CONTROL after the race. If you see a bike pulling a baby carrier, a tandem, or other ‘adapted’ bike following a crew, please report this to CONTROL as it is dangerous and risks a serious accident. CONTROL will, if practical, ask the cyclist not to cycle during the race and will radio a warning to all position marshals. If you see a bank party filming before the race, remind them that they should not film while cycling, or they will be reported to CONTROL.  If you notice that any bank party filming while cycle, report it to CONTROL as it is dangerous and risks a serious accident. 

During the Races

  • Follow the crews to which you have been allocated. Cycle close to the bow ball of the chasing crew so you have a clear view of any overlap / bump. Keep an eye on the river ahead.
  • If the chased crew’s cox puts up their hand to acknowledge a bump, that is a bump, whether or not you saw it. (See below for an explanation of what constitutes a bump).

After a bump

  • Help both boats to clear the river for the crews behind. The chased boat should keep rowing to the bank. The chasing crew should stop until the other boat is clear and should then row to the bank. If the bump has been made on a corner, direct the boats to the outside of the corner. NB chased crews tend to collapse and stop: ‘fired up’ chasing crews tend to keep going. Both boats should pull in their oars. Be loud and clear with your instructions.
  • If a bump is made in the Gut, if possible without causing problems to chasing crews, get the crews to keep going to Grassy Corner and then pull in on the towpath side. This would require crews to keep going to Grassy Corner and to be quick. If this is not possible, then get crews to pull in to the towpath side in the Gut. (The bank on the Fen Ditton side has many trees and it is difficult for crews to pull either their boats or their blades in far enough to leave the river clear for following crews.)
  • Warn spectators to move out of the way if a boat is approaching the bank at speed.
  • Once your crews are safely “parked”, assist the crews behind to carry on racing.
  • If three or four boats are close together, you may have to decide very quickly which crew bumped first, before helping the crews behind them to make their way through to continue their race.
  • If a crew makes a wrong judgement with the course that it takes and is bumped, that is still a valid bump.
  • If the river is blocked and it would be dangerous for crews to try to follow through, stop the race. You should be within shouting distance of a position marshal who will take control. The position marshals at First Post and Grassy will have loud hailers and radios. The marshal at First Post will have a red flag and air horn to warn following crews. Bank parties should also help with this.
  • Emergencies – Position marshals have radio contact with all the other officials, including the First Aiders who will be positioned, predominantly, at Grassy Corner. In the event of a medical emergency, contact should be made with the First Aiders as quickly as possible. They will take charge. Ensure that the Chief Marshal and the Bumps Committee is alerted by radio, stating exactly where on the Course the incident has taken place.
  • Once the race has stopped (and/or after the end of a Division), help crews on their way again when it is safe to do so and encourage a speedy return home to ensure the next Division can come down to the start on time.

In general terms, we do not have time for any re-rows, however disappointing this may be for crews.

At the end of the Division

  • Report any incidents etc, either at the end of the race or, if urgent, via a position marshal's radio.
  • In the event of a dispute, report to CONTROL what happened. A ‘verdict’ may be helpful if you feel the circumstances are clear.
  • Confirm your report in writing at CONTROL. When making a report, please print clearly and include your name and mobile phone contact number in the event of any query.
  • If no Bumps are made and there are no disputes, you can return to the Chief Marshal at the A14 Bridge for the next division, if you are continuing duty. If you are a position marshal and your duty has finished, please handover to your replacement, including the reflective jacket. If you are a race marshal, return the high visibility vests to CONTROL.
  • Please only marshal the race(s) you have been allocated to.
  • It is the crews responsibility to report bumps to control, but it is helpful for the marshal to check with control that the bump has been reported.

POSITION MARSHALS

 

What do Position Marshals do?

Position Marshals are crucial to the safe and smooth running of the Bumps. Please take the role seriously and ensure that you understand clearly what is required of you. You must act impartially. Your job is to see the fair running of the races and to be prepared to assist generally should the need arise.

Your job is, largely, one of observation and reporting, providing important evidence in the event of a dispute following an incident by your position. Make an immediate note of Bumps you see together with whatever may happen in consequence, in what order, and where on the river it occurs. Equally, your observation of crews chasing each other closely may help the Chief Marshal determine an outcome that is difficult to judge.

You may also need to radio for First Aid help or to report non-racing incidents e.g., protests, to CONTROL.

Your duties

  • Observe what is going on during races and report to the CONTROL or Chief Marshal if you witness any pileups by your position.
  • Radio your report to CONTROL during a suitable lull in the proceedings. Please remember that we cannot all speak at once on the radios so keep use of them to a minimum and ensure you do not "cut in" on anyone. If you wish to speak to someone, address their position and their name, if known.
  • All marshals need to be aware of the need to help to keep the river clear. The Rules require that the crew making the Bump should stop rowing while the crew being bumped should carry on rowing. In practice, the latter can "collapse" while the former remain "fired up".
  • You may need to warn spectators to move out of the way if you see a crew heading towards the bank at speed. They may not realise that the blades can take their legs from underneath them.

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR EACH POSITION MARSHAL

 

WILDLIFE

The wildlife marshal is responsible for identifying and reporting any potential wildlife concerns.  During the few days before Bumps racing, the wildlife marshal should walk/ride the course and identify any risk to wildlife e.g., location of cygnets.  Should any risks be identified, these should be reported to the Bumps Committee by 5pm on the day before Bumps racing begins.  The Bumps Committee will advise the club representatives and the Chief Marshal.

 

LOCK

The lock marshals are responsible for controlling motorboats wishing to go downstream through Baits Bite lock and off the Course or coming up from Ely through Baits Bite onto the Course. This requires liaison with CONTROL and the Chief Marshal to minimise the length of time that the Course is not clear for racing. While we are usually aware of the Georgina’s cruises in advance, we rarely know about pleasure cruisers hence it is important to be pro-active.

The lock marshals watch for pleasure boats coming up through Baits Bite, holding them back to suit the Divisions, as necessary. Sometimes these boats are prepared to wait but they are entitled to pass through the lock if they wish to do so. CONTROL and the Chief Marshal need to be advised as soon as possible.

The lock marshals will be advised by CONTROL, the Chief Marshal and other position marshals of the progress of any boat intending to go downstream through Baits Bite lock.

The lock marshals should have the lock ready so, going downstream, the boat can steer straight into the lock and off the course. For boats coming upstream, the lock marshals should assist the boat into the lock and fill it up ready to leave the lock to follow behind a racing Division, informing CONTROL and the Chief Marshal accordingly.

Please ensure that you handover to another member of your Club so that the position always remains manned.

FIRST POST

A careful watch needs to be kept on the racing as it approaches. Be ready to assist in the event of a pile-up. If necessary, use your loud hailer to shout a warning if it appears a cox is not acknowledging and there is risk of a collision.

After a Bump is made, the river needs to be cleared as quickly as possible. If a bump is made in the Gut, if possible, get the crews to keep going to Grassy Corner and pull in on the towpath side. This would require crews to be nearly to Grassy Corner and to be quick. If this is not possible, then get crews to pull into the towpath side in the Gut. (The bank on the Fen Ditton side has many trees and it is difficult for crews to pull either their boats or their blades in far enough to leave the river clear for following crews.) Crews need to be directed to the outside of bends and all crews need reminding to pull their blades in clear of both following crews and the towpath.

Keep in touch with the marshals at Grassy Corner so that the Gut is kept as clear as possible. If there is a serious pile-up then use the Red Flag, air horn and loud hailer to stop the Division. Safety remains paramount throughout the Bumps.

Please ensure that you handover to another member of your Club so that the position always remains manned.

Please remind spectators at First Post Corner that they should not leave any litter along the river bank.

GRASSY CORNER

Please bear in mind what your neighbour in the First Post position is tasked to do and be ready to assist him/her in clearing the Gut, if necessary. If necessary, use your loud hailer to shout a warning if it appears a cox is not acknowledging and there is risk of a collision.

Keep an eye out for quad bikes or local troublemakers exhibiting threatening behaviour on the towpath, especially by the cut through from Fen Road. Report any problem to the CONTROL.

Help sell programmes, if necessary.

Spectators often stand on the towpath and block progress of cyclists, so both are a danger to each other. When a race is approaching, try to warn folk to keep the towpath clear.

If any cyclists, who are clearly not involved with the Bumps, pass you, heading towards the start when you know a race is approaching, try to warn them. The First Aiders find their "customers" are largely cyclists. We have no right to stop folk, but we can point out the dangers.

Radio to CONTROL and the finish marshal when the last boat in a division passes you so they can warn the next Division to be ready to move off towards the start.

Please ensure that you handover to another member of your Club so that the position always remains manned.

Please remind spectators at Grassy Corner that they should not leave any litter along the riverbank.

DITTON CORNER

A careful watch needs to be kept on the racing as it approaches. Be ready to assist in the event of a pile-up. If necessary, use your loud hailer to shout a warning if it appears a cox is not acknowledging and there is risk of a collision.

After a Bump is made, the river needs to be cleared as quickly as possible.

If a Bump is made just after the corner and the crews pull into the tow path, use your loud hailer to notify approaching crews to stay wide on the corner.

FINISH (Top and Bottom Finish)

Consult the Rules and Bumps Marshalling and Finishes to be certain of the end of the Course as it changes during the evening for various Divisions. If in doubt, check with CONTROL.  You need to be in position so the coxes can see you as they approach you.

It is up to crews and their bank parties to be aware of the early finish in each Division, you mark the end of the Course.

As crews pass, you need to advise them to wind down and remind them to stay in single file, no overtaking and keeping to the right as they go back home, watching out for crews going down to the next Division where appropriate. Crews will follow where they have bumped out earlier and these need to be chivvied along with the same warnings, so the course is cleared as quickly as possible.

Liaise with the Chief Marshal, CONTROL and the Stourbridge Common marshals so that when the river is clear, you can tell the crews marshalling for the early Divisions when to move off to go down to the start.

Liaise with the Railway Bridge marshals, as necessary.

As the finish moves up the river with each Division, a bike is useful to help monitor the situation.

Please ensure that you handover to another member of your Club so that the position always remains manned.

 

RAILWAY BRIDGE

Crews need to "check in" with you on their way to the start, especially on the first night and in the early divisions, when everyone will be both nervous and possibly a little uncertain on where they need to be.

Advise the Chief Marshal when a Division is complete or, after the appointed time for crews to have passed you, incomplete. Let CONTROL know as they may be able to chivvy crews up.

Remind crews going down for the earliest division of racing that they need to get themselves into reverse order as they progress down to the start.

On Mon, Tue, Thu and Fri this will be the combined M4/W3 division, on Wed this will be W2 division.

On Monday, W2 and on all other nights, W1 should not progress past you until the previous division has cleared through the Railway Bridge. However, with care and suitable warning to keep to the right, they can move off to the start when the last one or two stragglers in the previous division are making their way home.

Remind crews they must not do a racing start at the railway bridge but may do a racing start at the Plough.

Tell crews going home past you that if they are swapping boats/coxes/etc they cannot stop between the Railway Bridge and CONTROL and should proceed to the area that has been pre-arranged between their club and the Bumps Committee.

Please ensure that you handover to another member of your Club so that the position always remains manned.

EQUIPMENT

Suggestion: Bring a bike.

Initial/earliest division of racing:  The marshal in post for earliest division of racing is responsible for checking out the marshal equipment to the course and race marshals. 

Final division:  The marshal in post for the final division is responsible for checking the marshal equipment in at the end of M1.  Ensure radios and loud hailers are switched off.

In the event of any missing equipment, report to your club organizer/representative who will be required to report to the bumps committee.

All other divisions:  Marshals in post will be responsible for dropping into the boathouses between divisions and requesting to conduct spot checks on the 8s being used in the event. 1-2 boathouses should be checked per evening, liaise with the marshal as part of the handover as to which boathouse has been visited.  The main boathouses used for boating are as follows:

  • Cantabrigian
  • Combined
  • Emanuel
  • Clare
  • Christs
  • St Catherines
  • City
  • 99s
  • CRA
  • Fitzwilliam
  • Queens

When at the boathouse, standard BR checks should be performed i.e.

  • Present and secure bow ball (critical)
  • All hatch covers are present (advisory)
  • Heel restraints present and attached to the footplate
  • Shoes have quick release ties/straps linked to both shoes

If any boat fails to meet these standards, please advise the cox.

If bow balls are not present or secure, please also report to the Chief Marshal, Club, Boat Name, Crew.

CONTROL DESK

Lend a hand in setting up initially and then dismantling at the end of the day, the control desk, gazebo and radio mast; put out cycling signs.

Bumps, challenges, incidents and disputes, all will be reported to CONTROL. If a marshal only provides brief information by radio, ask them to visit CONTROL to complete the details as fully as possible before they go home.

Some incidents may need reporting to the River Manager.

Summarise any challenges and liaise with the Chief Marshal to determine them.

In the unlikely event that resolution is not achieved, advise the Bumps Committee and the parties involved that the matter will be referred to the Bumps Committee, whose decision, after hearing from a single representative from each crew involved at CONTROL at the end of the day’s racing, will be final.

Keep radio traffic to a minimum.

Ensure that CONTROL is not left unattended, as there is a lot of expensive and vital equipment based there.

Marshal any crews that may pull in to keep their stay as brief as possible and maintain a space large enough for an VIII to pull into in the event of an emergency.

Bumps must be recorded IMMEDIATELY at the end of each Division. Include a note of where the Bump took place.

Please ensure that you handover to another member of your Club so that the position always remains manned.

 

CONTROL MARSHAL

Generally, assist the control desk by liaising with the Stourbridge Common marshals to ensure immediate and smooth movement of waiting crews to make their way to the start when advised to do so by the Chief Marshal and/or CONTROL.

Liaise with the Railway Bridge marshals to ensure that crews using the beer tree (and their boat(s) and blades) do not obstruct the towpath or the course.

Liaise with Control Desk marshal to keep the towpath and bank clear.

In between divisions, may need to assist with handing over equipment between marshals.

At the end of the final division, assist the equipment marshal in taking in all the equipment and ensuring radios and loudhailers are switched off.

(Suggestion: bring a bike!)

Please ensure that you handover to another member of your Club so that the position always remains manned.

Note: The contact details for the police officers leading the cover for the event will be available at CONTROL. They will check in with CONTROL each evening when they arrive. 

 

UPPER AND LOWER STOURBRIDGE COMMON

It is vital to the smooth running of the event that crews progress to the start as soon as it is safe to do so. CONTROL will advise in conjunction with the Chief Marshal.

Collect from CONTROL and put out numbers so that crews wait in the correct reverse order before they progress to the start.

Crews in the earliest division of racing must progress straight down to the start.

Crews in Division M3 and W2 (apart from Wed when they will be the earliest division) need to assemble in reverse order in the Reach along the common below the railway bridge and above the railings.

Liaise with the Chief Marshal, CONTROL and Finish marshals to send these crews off to the start promptly when told to do so. As soon as the last Division has moved off, collect the numbers and put them out for crews in W2, M2, W1 and M1, as per the positions Bumps 2021 - Crew Marshalling Positions. Please ensure all crews remain ready for a prompt get away as soon as the Chief Marshal and CONTROL confirm they should progress to the start.

Also check general marshalling in the area below Green Dragon Bridge and Morley’s Holt where boats and/or crew changes/swapping may take place in the earlier Divisions. Boats must not be left unattended on the water and crews should be encouraged to lift them out onto the bank, putting them back on the water only when they are ready to push off straight away.

For W1 and M1, these crews should be able to take care of themselves in terms of marshalling into order but keep an eye open to ensure prompt setting off when the OK comes. Await confirmation from the Chief Marshal/CONTROL to tell them when to push off to go to the start.

Please ensure that you handover to another member of your Club so that the position remains manned at all times.

 

WARNING MARSHAL (also known as PATH CLEARER)

This marshal rides ahead of the division warning spectators, pedestrians, other cyclists, etc. that boats (and bicycling bank parties) are approaching and advise them to clear the path for their own safety.

Collisions between bank party cyclists and other cyclists and pedestrians provide the highest number of injuries that occur during the Bumping Races and this Marshal is key to path safety. (Suggestion: ‘bring a whistle’!)

Please ensure that you handover to another member of your Club so that the position always remains manned.

 

BROOM WAGON

This marshal rides behind the last boat in a division and hurries along the boats that have bumped up or have been bumped to clear the course for the next division. 

It is particularly important to get boats that have bumped up to cease celebrating and get moving as there is little time between divisions.

Please ensure that you handover to another member of your Club so that the position always remains manned.

LAUNCH

The primary role of the launch marshal is safety.  In the event of an incident on the water, the Launch Marshal will be instructed by CONTROL or the Chief Marshal to attend to the incident and to ferry the injured party(ies) to the tow path to be attended to by the first aid team.

Prior to the earliest division and between divisions may be called upon by CONTROL to drop off equipment and supplies to various points along the course.

BUMPS COMMITTEE 2021