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More than sport

How Rowing Works: Oar fees.

Peta Rule

Hello and welcome to today's edition of How Rowing Works. 

Hear at HRW we've fielded a few questions of late on how rowing fees in Western Australia work, so we thought we'd answer a few FAQs to help the newbies out there (and some of the seasoned players who perhaps just don't pay attention) understand:

  • how oar fees are generated
  • When you need to pay them
  • how much it costs to race
  • what you need to budget
  • what the cash pays for

How oar fees are generated:

Entries to regattas are submitted the Sunday before the upcoming regatta weekend. They're entered into a system called rowing manager. When your name is entered into rowing manager, an invoice for an oar fee is generated under your name and allocated to your club - in this case, WARC.

You will then be invoiced for your oar fees by  WARC - importantly, not from Rowing WA. Essentially, the club acts as debt collectors for the State - the club invoices you, the Association invoices the club.

I should note the Association doesn't see it that way, rather the official position is that the club enters the race and is thus liable for the fee. 

When you need to pay them:

The club will keep track of these oar fees and will send you an invoice, probably twice during a season to pay your bill - once after the second Bunbury regatta when your racing score is set, and once after State Championships*. 

This helps keep both our and your administrative overheads to a minimum.

Some clubs include a portion of oar fees in their membership fee. We've opted to scrap that practice as it was just too confusing.

*invoicing date subject to change as we're all volunteers but we'll keep you in the loop!

How much does a racing cost?

Rowing WA has a helpful table in its regatta information which outlines oar fees:

2016 oar fee rates

2016 oar fee rates

Now, if you're a masters rower you might be wondering why masters races are $9.90 for 1000m racing with divisions rather than heats, since the setup more closely resemble D and E grade racing.

The answer is the overheads associated with regattas. There are fixed overheads like rental of Champion Lakes - yes, the Association has to pay the State Government for the right to row on a specially-designed rowing facility - that are not reduced despite the fact it is a much smaller regatta. We have approached RWA to renegotiate this agreement with Venues West so we perhaps get a discount if we don't use the upstairs facilities but the issue didn't get progressed.

Thus masters regattas generally lose money. The the oar fees do not cover the overheads associated with the regatta. 

What do you need to budget?

The short answer is, it's complicated.

In a perfect world, everyone would row every head race and then three races on every available racing day. If that was the case, it looks like this for a whole season:

  • Headraces: $39.6
  • D-E three races per regatta: $115.5
  • A-B three races per regatta: $148.5
  • Masters three races per regatta: $89.1
  • States: $79.2

Thus the most anyone should spend is A-C grade rowers who are also masters, and that is $356.40 in total. Most athletes will fall well short of that and D-E grade rowers are probably looking under the $200 mark, possibly even less given we've missed a bit of racing this season.

What does all this cash pay for?

The oar fees generate about $100K and it is pretty much all allocated to regatta operations including:

  • Hiring venues west
  • Trophies
  • Security
  • Depreciation of boats
  • Fuel, maintenance and trailfers
  • Software and computer stuff
  • Equipment like radios, bow numbers etc

From a regatta perspective, Dan Tackenberg tells me its more or less a break-even enterprise. 

So, I hope that explains How Oar Fees Work. Next time on How Rowing Works, we'll tackle the big questions, like: Who is Sam and why do we ask him things anyway?