In the morning I will be umpiring at my first regatta of the 2011 season. The rules of racing lists essential equipment for Key Officials/Umpires and most of this is provided by the regatta organising committee. However there are a number of other things that make umpiring that little bit more comfortable. My personal packing list contains the following:
- A copy of the British Rowing Rules of Racing. Whilst we know the rules pretty well we often have to check details to ensure that we apply things properly.
- Notepad and Pens. These are normally provided by the organising committee but having spares is good.
- Red and White flags. Umpires generally have their own flags that they bring along to a regatta. These are used to signal the start and end of the races and are also used to give competitors instructions during a race especially when the race is umpired from a launch that follows the crews down the course.
- Umpires Rota. No-one ever seems to have a copy of the rota handy at the event so having a copy in your pocket is useful.
- Big Yellow Jacket. [Northern Region](http://www.nerowing.com/ North East Rowing Online) Umpires (covering Stockton to Berwick and Brampton to Tynemouth) are issued with fetching yellow waterproof jackets. These aren’t exactly fashion items but they do keep you warm and mostly dry when the British weather lives up to expectations.
- Binoculars. These make it easier to identify crews who are racing towards you.
- Change of clothes. Yes it sometimes rains in Britain so having a full change of clothes is a good idea.
- Change of shoes. My day job involves a lot of sitting so when I spend a day standing around I often like to change my shoes to stop my feet aching too much.
- Mobile Phone. Ok so I carry it with my most of the time but it can be useful to get hold of people if they aren’t carrying a radio at a particular point in time. The stopwatch on my phone is also useful for timing the handicap intervals at the start of Masters (competitors from age 27 to upwards of 80) races.
- Folding Chair. I occasionally take a folding chair with me. Especially if I’m going to be on mid-course positions and it looks like the grass will be wet.
- Hat. To limit sunburn if it does turn out to be a nice day.
Lets hope for an day of good clean, fair racing.