Information and Rules

As Portrush Raft Race is a fun charity event in aid of the RNLI and for the enjoyment of competitors and  spectators we encourage Fancy Dress to enhance the carnival atmosphere.


• Entry, Sponsorship Forms and Conditions of Entry are available at

• Official sponsorship forms must be used to record all contributions received which can be ‘gift-aided’

• All rafts to be off-loaded at Kerr Street Green. Parking available at Lansdowne Crescent car park.

• Raft Captains to check in at ‘Reception trailer’ on Kerr Street Green to register and obtain raft numbers.

• Registration will commence at 10.00am and finish at 2.00 pm.

• After registration, all rafts are to be taken to the beach for placement and judging. Rafts must not be left on the Green.

• Beach slots will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

• Race crews to be at their rafts at 3.00 pm. The race will commence at 3.30pm in the West Bay or the Harbour.

• The Raft Race Committee may decide to run two races on safety grounds. The start of the race may be brought

forward depending on numbers and weather conditions.

• Thirty minutes after the start of the race a siren will be sounded. From then on, rafts still at sea will be assisted to

the harbour by the safety crews

• Prize presentation will take place on Kerr Street Slipway at the ‘Wee Beach’ at approximately 4.15 pm.

The rules of the 2022 Raft Race are set out below, please read carefully.

General Rules

1. The crew will consist of at least four persons (maximum six) with one person remaining on board at all times.

The raft must have at least three persons on board when crossing the finish line.

2. Minimum age of entrants is 18 years at the time of registration and every crew member is required to sign a

declaration absolving the organisers from all responsibility.

3. Crew members with a disability, medical condition or special needs should be noted on the registration form.

4. Crew members must not assist themselves or receive assistance from the shore or any other vessel, e.g. no


5. West Bay, Portrush is cold in September. Competitors are advised to use suitable protective clothing (and fancy

dress of course1

6. In all matters relating to the Raft Race, the Committee’s decision is final.

Raft Construction Rules

Bearing in mind that rafts are usually square or rectangular with a flat deck!

1. Rafts should be strongly constructed and capable of withstanding sea conditions.

2. A raft must be capable of being carried by the crew of the raft.

3. Marine materials must not be used in raft construction. Nor should rafts be modified from other water-borne craft

4. Paddles are permitted

5. No rowlocks or substitutes will be accepted. No form of rowing will be permitted.

6. No type of engine propulsion allowed, however, rafts can be paddled, pushed, sailed, swim-towed or driven by

human mechanical power.

7. Each raft must have a mast fitted with two pieces of plywood (9” x 9”) on either side of the masthead. The

organisers will issue race numbers to be attached to these boards.

8. Construction of rafts and equipment should be safe, e.g. no protruding nails, screws or sharp edges, etc.

Safety Rules

1. Any raft considered a danger to other competitors will be held back at the start of the race.

2. Competitors are reminded that the ramp way onto the West Strand beach is quite narrow and crews carrying their

rafts to the beach should exercise due care

3. Recognised lifejackets or approved buoyancy aids must be worn by all competitors - there will be no exception to

this rule. The wearing of a canoe helmet is strongly recommended.

4. No physical interference between rafts will be permitted - offending crews may be disqualified.

5. Safety craft and personnel will be provided. However, it is the responsibility of each raft captain to ensure the

safety of his/her crew including to satisfy themselves that all crew members are proficient swimmers. Raft

captains will be required to sign a declaration to that effect. Raft captains will also be responsible for drawing to

the attention of the organisers any crewmember with a medical condition, disability or special needs.

6. Competitors must follow the instructions of the safety personnel on the beach, in canoes and safety boats. All

officials concerned with your safety will wear a conspicuously coloured bib. Safety officials are permitted to

withdraw from the race any crewmembers whom they consider to be unfit to participate or to continue.

7. In the interests of safety, all rafts and debris must be removed from the water and surrounding area at the end of

the race and no later than 6.00pm. Raft captains are responsible for the removal of their raft. Bins will be available for rubbish.

8. All land around Portrush Harbour is designated as an “Alcohol Free” zone.

Race Course determined by weather conditions.

Course 1

Fair Weather • Rafts placed next to promenade with positions determined by ‘first come, first served’ along the starting line A1-

A2. • ‘Le Mans’ start with crews carrying their rafts to the water, around mark ‘B’ then into the harbour to finish across

line B1 – B2 between the pontoon and the orange can buoy. Rafts exit the water by the Kerr Street slipway.

• Depending on raft numbers and weather conditions, the organisers may decide to have two races with some

twenty minutes between the starts.















Course 2

Poor Weather • Within the Harbour, run in heats, on a course determined by the weather, launching from the North Pier Slipway, • Racing will take place on a course between line C1 – C2 and line B1 – B2. • Rafts exit the water by Kerr Street slipway


General Declaration

We hereby jointly and severally covenant with the organisers and each of them that each of us shall at all times hereafter keep the organisers and their respective estates indemnified from and against all claims and demands by me or any person claiming on my behalf whatsoever in my respect of the said raft race or anything relating thereto and absolve the organisers of any responsibility whatsoever in respect of the above. Furthermore, we consent to our images being used by the organisers to promote their aims or the aims of their sponsors and partners especially the Royal National Lifeboat Institution