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VASRA Volunteer

Volunteer Positions at VASRA Regattas

The following is a list of volunteer positions available for any parent.

It is mandatory that all parents at some point contribute and sign up to work at the regattas.  Dates and times will be circulated at Registration Day prior to the spring season.  Ask parents of experienced rowers (we are a little short of those) about the various jobs, as some are more interesting than others, a few require previous training.  You will be working with parents of students from all over the Northern Virginia area.  VASRA understands that you are there to watch your child row; you may ask to be temporarily released from your duties to watch your child race.  Please do return to finish your shift.  In an emergency situation, please notify the Colgan Volunteer Coordinator so that they can find a last-minute replacement for you.

Please note, all schools are required to fill a certain amount of positions at each regatta.  Once you sign up, you must sign in for you and Colgan to receive credit.  Assigned slots left unattended are assessed a $50.00 fee by VASRA.  Colgan Crew will pass this fee on to the parent that did not report for duty.

Dress:  Anticipate inclement weather and wear layered clothing and a hat.  The temperature can change as much as 20 degrees.  You may wear school colors.  For certain VASRA jobs, usually those on the water, you may not wear clothing that is red.

Instructions:  At the Regatta headquarters location (end of the paved road, past the Fairfax County boathouses, on the right-hand side near the water, sign the attendance sheet and insurance waiver.  You will then be instructed as to where to report.  If necessary (a parent/volunteer does not show up), you may be reassigned to another job.  Please understand that our crew club will be fined if you do not show up for your job.

Announcer Finish Line:  Location of Job: at the judge’s stand at the finish line of the racecourse.  Duties: You will work at the finish line, behind or near the Finish Line Judge, and announce the official results of each event as they are provided to you.  You will also make other miscellaneous announcements as directed by the Finish Line Judge, the Coordinator, or the Regatta Director.
Announcer - Headquarters (HQ): Location of Job: inside Regatta HQ.  Duties: You will announce over the loudspeaker system from HQ the first, second and last call for the launching of shells in each event, and the event number and the names of the crews participating.  You will also make other announcements as directed by the Headquarters Coordinator or the Regatta Director.
Awards Assistant:  Location of Job: inside Regatta HQ. Duties: Working with the HQ Coordinator as they obtain results of specific races, organize labeled award ribbons by 1st, 2nd, 3rd places for presentation, and record the distribution of awards.  Pass results to Results Poster and prepare for awards pickup by Coaches only.  If there is a formal award ceremony, work with the Regatta Director in the presentations of medals & ribbons to the recipients following each race or at the end of the regatta. 
Concession-Seller: (revenue share/required, boathouse/grandstand) Duties: The first shift volunteers will set up concession stand supplies and prepare and sell food, T-shirts or programs as assigned by the Concession Manager.  If you sell T-shirts and programs, you will be given a separate moneybox, so please do not mix this money with that from food sales.  The afternoon shift is responsible for cleaning up the area and putting the supplies away.  They will also need to put away the tables, grills, coffeepots and any other equipment.  Those selling T-shirts and programs are to count any that are left over and turn in that count of each with the money. 
Crossover MarshalDuties: The Crossover Marshal is posted on the roadway that the Van drives from Parking Lot C to the Judging Stand.  This is an important safety job that ensures pedestrians do not walk in the roadway at the bottom of the hill where the road is especially narrow.  PARK AUTHORITIES do not allow pedestrians to walk on the roadway (there is a trail to follow along the reservoir) to the finish line.
Dock Master Assistant: Duties: The Dock Master Assistant helps the Dock master make sure that the crews are checked in, launched, and landed safely, and at the correct times. They are to keep docks clear of unnecessary gear, help wash the docks prior to start of regatta, and take messages to HQ for dock master. 
Driver-Marshal**This job requires prior Launch Driver Training*.  Duties: During the regatta, you will be assigned to a Regatta Marshal (usually a Judge/Referee) as his/her launch driver.  You are under his/her control.  Hand signals will most likely be used.  Driver-referee/judge: This job requires prior Launch Driver Training Duties: During the regatta, you will be assigned to a Regatta Judge/Referee as his/her launch driver.  You are under his/her control. Hand signals might be used. If you have a stopwatch, bring it along, it could be of use.
Driver-Safety: **This job requires prior Launch Driver Training** 
Duties: During the regatta, you will keep a keen eye on the course and attempt to keep powerboats, sailboats, kayaks, canoes, etc. out of the way of a race.  Sometimes you will need to pick up large pieces of flotsam and jetsam that are in the shells’ way.  You must particularly keep a keen eye on rowers warming up upstream and for any shells that may have capsized.
Driver-Dam Guard**This job requires prior launch driver training** Location: above the starting line of the racecourse.  Duties: You will patrol the lower reservoir (near the dam) to ensure the safety of the rowers and to prevent the shells from venturing too near to the dam. YOU MUST BE IN PLACE BEFORE THE FIRST SHELL ARRIVES AT THE START. 
Driver-Set-Up: ** This job requires prior launch driver training** Duties: Before the regatta you will be assigned to move racecourse equipment, facilities, and people up and down the racecourse. You will have a helper.
Driver-Shuttle**This job requires prior launch driver training** Duties: During the regatta you will be assigned to transport only officials, coaches, regatta workers, and the press up and down the course. (AT NO TIME CAN ROWERS BE SHUTTLED UNLESS AUTHORIZED BY THE LAUNCH MASTER.)
Driver-Take Down: ** This job requires prior launch driver training** Duties: At the conclusion of the regatta, you will drive a launch and help store the regatta course equipment, motors, launches, lane markers, etc., and will do whatever is needed to secure the regatta site again to its original order. Some heavy lifting might be involved.
Finish Line AssistantDuties: This person assists the Finish Line Officials in the smooth operation of all finish line area responsibilities.
Finish Line Timer: Duties: You will work at the finish line to help determine shell timing and placement.  The Finish Line Judge makes Lane assignments.  You will need to be able to operate a stopwatch effectively in order to time the split time for the shell in your assigned lane. 
Flag holder: Duties: You will stand at the Finish Line with a large orange flag and follow the instructions of the Finish Line Judge, to indicate 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places.
Helper - Set-Up on waterDuties: You will help the Set-Up Driver to perform the duties assigned to him/her.  You will be riding in a launch for much of your work and you may have to do some heavy lifting. 
Helper-Take DownDuties: At the conclusion of the regatta, you will help store the regatta equipment, motors, launches, and lane markers. etc., and will do whatever is needed to secure the regatta site again to its original order.  Some heavy lifting might be involved. You will be working in a launch part of the time. 
Launch Master: This is one of the principal logistical regatta jobs Duties: This person is responsible for all motor craft (powerboats, motors, life preservers, anchors, and oars), set-up and accountability to Regatta director prior, during, and after races.  Responsible to ensuring designated schools have provided fuel for launches. Further regatta support includes setup and takedown of Judge/Referee, Marshall, Safety and Shuttle launches as well as other support boats as required by the Regatta director.  Also responsible to monitor and control all shuttle traffic on the water.
Money Collector-Park EntranceDuties: You will be responsible for collecting the prescribed entry fee for parking.  You can give small paper tickets to those who desire to leave and reenter the park a second time.  These tickets are given as a driver exits.  Collectors also control vehicular speed and report violations to the Ranger.  The parking policy is “first-come, first-parked and the fee is $10.00.  The only non-paying customers will be U.S.R.A.  Judge/Referees (wearing USRA Blazers) and other designated VASRA officials or staff, which will have special parking passes.  Contact the Parking Supervisor regarding anyone else claiming to be able to enter for free.
Money Collector - Van @ Parking Lot C Duties: You will collect the required money from persons wanting to ride the van down to the regatta site.  The fee is $1 or $2 per person each way. The only exceptions will be the USRA officials and the Regatta Directors who may ride for free.
Money Collector - Van @ Finish Line Duties: You will collect the required money from persons wanting to ride the van up to the parking lot.  The fee is $1 or $2 per person each way.  The only exceptions will be the USRA officials and the Regatta Directors who may ride for free.   Parking Lot Assistant (Trailer, Referee, Cross Walk, Upper Van Lot, Upper Big Lot, Loisvale Lot) Duties: Park near entrance to trailer area. Stay in main roadway and keep speed of vehicles controlled.  Report violations to Ranger. Help direct trailers and buses if still arriving. Give information as needed. 
Race Results PosterDuties: This person is to post race results as promptly as possible in the Headquarters area for spectators.  Information is received from Headquarters Coordinator or designee. 
Sign-In CoordinatorDescription: This person is in charge of the sign-in attendance sheets and insurance waiver forms.  Usually situated near or at Regatta Headquarters, this person should be knowledgeable about all regatta staff and volunteer jobs, and the locations for their work. This person must be accurate in overseeing the sign-ins.  They also will make notes of any problems regarding job sign-in and advise the Personnel Committee Chair. 
Stakeboat Holder: Duties: At the starting platform, you will help align the shells to be in proper position for the start.  You will also need to help prevent damage to the shells when they back up to your lane.  You will remain on the starting platform throughout your shift.  Before the start of each race, you will lie down on the plank that extends out from the platform and reach out your arms to catch the stern of the shell coming into your lane.  DO NOT try to stop the stern from hitting the platform by putting your hand between the shell and platform, there may be too much momentum and may cause injury.  When instructed, you will pull back or push out the shell a number of inches for alignment.  These instructions, given just before each start, will come from the official at the side of the racecourse whose job it is to get all the bow balls in a straight line.  He/she will use megaphone or radio headphones.  Be careful with your grip and make sure nothing is in the way when the starter says “Go!” and the boat explodes out of your hands.  MAKE SURE TO LET GO OF THE SHELL IMMEDIATELY UPON THE START. Do not engage in clever repartee with the crews.  They are nervous enough already and needn’t be disturbed.  ADDITONAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR STAKEBOAT HOLDER Headphones are usually worn only at the bigger regattas (e.g., VSCRs), fit over one ear and have a battery pack that clips on to your waistband (belt). If using the Realistic brand headset, turn the POWER to “MAN” (not VOX), Volume and VOX/MIC controls are set to “L” (not “M” or “H”).  If using the Maxon brand headset, set the VOX/PTT Selector to “PTT” (push-to-talk) and the VOLUME control to the lowest setting that allows you to hear clearly (to save battery power).  There are two sets for each lane.  Use the Realistic brand first - they have the 9V battery.  The Maxon brand has two rechargeable AA batteries that usually don’t last long.  The brands are interchangeable (i.e., on the same frequency).  The spare headsets will be in the white box (post office sorting box) usually set at the center of the platform.

Trophy awards Assistant: Duties: This person helps the head of trophies set trophies and medals out on tables.  This assistant remains at table to explain trophies to those admiring them.  Assists the Regatta Director as the trophies and medals are awarded.

Weigh-In Assistant: Location: At the Occoquan after the first three regattas of the season.  Duties: Help weigh the lightweight teams under the direction of the Judge/Referee in charge.


Regatta Launches: Job Type: Club provided equipment (13 for weekly and 20 for large regattas).  Description: When each organization is participating in a regatta at their home practice site, they will be required to provide regatta launches, equipment knowledgeable personnel and launch access (ferrying to launch/providing keys/setting up boat).  Each of these organizations will 21 supply launches equipped with appropriate engines (9.9HP or above) in good operating condition, gas tank, matching connecting hose, lines, paddle, anchor, life preservers and horn.  Oil and gas requirements must be clearly understood and properly marked for VASRA to assure proper gas and oil is supplied for the regatta.  VASRA regatta personnel will drive the launches at the assignment of the Launch Master/Regatta Chair, so member clubs should not assume that their launches will be driven by their own club members.  This equipment will be supplied to support regattas on a rotating schedule equitable to all home site organizations.  The Personnel Committee will assure that organizations participating at a regatta that is NOT at their home practice site will be given proportionately more volunteer jobs. 
Regatta Headquarter Coordinator Assistant: Duties: This person functions as the principal liaison and managerial support to the Regatta Director, Assistant Regatta Director, and Head Judge/Referee.  Should also ensure that the HQ is kept reasonably orderly to easily access needed equipment and that there is sufficient room for all of its uses, including food and beverage storage. Instructions: This person should arrive at HQ on regatta days at least one half hour before the first volunteers so that distribution of equipment can flow efficiently.  Two general characteristics are to: a) be able to field questions and give reasonable answers and b) know where each volunteer job is performed and generally what those jobs entail.  Some of this individual's key responsibilities on Regatta days, (not in priority order), are:

  • Maintain radio contact with Regatta Director, Head Judge/ Referee, & Head Park Ranger before, during, and after the entire event; 
  • Setup HQ equipment and paperwork, including waiver forms, for Volunteer Sign-In Coordinators and provide them with information sheets about: description of jobs; directions to the viewing stands and regatta finish line;
  • Setup equipment for Weigh-In Assistants in Upper Boathouse Erg Room; 
  • Distribute life vests, flotation seat cushions, safety paddles for set-up launch drivers and helpers and make sure that all is returned at the end of the Regatta work day; 
  • Assist, as needed, in the setup of the Concession Stand adjacent to Headquarters;  
  • Move out Safety Equipment for start and finish lines and HQ area signage; 
  • Direct Dockmaster Assistant and Launchmaster Assistant to positions.
  • Provide Launchmaster with list of schools providing launches for that regatta.
  • Prepare 10 minute & 8 minute Call-Time sheets & a list of competing schools for Announcers. 
  • Revise corrected race schedules and distribute to coaches, judge/referees, other officials, radio relay team, award & results poster assistants, HQ announcer, Dock &, Launch Masters. 
  • Sign in and direct finish line medical trainer to position & assist HQ area EMT or medical team with slightly injured or drenched rowers. Provide clothing changes from HQ to the latter.
  • Sign-out, distribute, and collect radios for Judge/Referees, Dockmaster, Launchmaster, Pontoon Boat driver, and other regatta officials and staff.
  • Distribute bullhorns to Dockmaster, Hot Dock Master, and others if needed;
  • Instruct and oversee HQ Announcer, Results Poster, and Awards Assistant what to do. 
  • Provide reporters and news photographers with schedules, results, and such arrangements as are necessary for their coverage; 
  • Prepare enlarged Regatta Schedule sheet for public posting outside of HQ; 
  • Handle all incoming telephone calls with Regatta Director;
  • Make sure that all equipment is properly returned and stored. 

Colgan Crew Association, Inc.

13833 Dumfries Road 
Manassas, Virginia 20112
Email : [email protected]
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