Columbia Outboard Racing Association

Outboard racing in Oregon and Southwest Washington

New Racer Info

Category Safety Rules

The safety rules outlined below for each category include overviews and examples of the racer safety guidelines, which includes information pertaining to safety equipment and category specific rules. The rules on this page are NOT the complete set of rules for each category, and are only meant to provide a general overview. The in depth, official safety rules for each category can be found on the Rules Page

Stock / Mod / PRO

The PRO Category has several safety requirements in addition to those specified by the general APBA Safety Rules. Some of these safety requirements include:

  • Flak jackets (or impact material within the life jacket) must be worn.
  • An automatic shut-off throttle and an ignition kill switch tethered to the driver are required.
  • A positive method of stopping the motor must be accessible from the normal driving position.
  • A paddle must be carried in the boat.
  • Drivers must wear long pants while testing or racing.
  • Unless the driver is restrained, the driver must be able to exit the cockpit without moving or removing any windshields, canopies, or cockpit cowlings.
  • The use of cut-resistant ankle length pants and full length cut-resistant sleeves while racing or testing is required. Drivers of reinforced cockpit boats are exempt.
  • Helmet restraints are recommended in PRO racing

Junior Class

The junior classes have been developed specifically for young racers to provide them with an opportunity to learn about safety and sportsmanship relating to the sport of Powerboat racing. It is the APBA’s goal to provide competitive equipment, including fully functioning and certified safety equipment, available to all competitors in the Junior Class on an equal basis.

New Drivers:

New drivers must, for ten (10) races, place a white cross (X) on their helmets, with the stroke of the X to be a minimum of 2 inches wide.  The cross must extend from the front tip up over the top of the helmet to the back rim of the helmet, and from the left ear up over the top of helmet to the right ear.

A new driver is any APBA member in good standing who has never driven a registered outboard powered boat in closed course competition heat racing.

The new driver must be given an oral examination by the referee, assistant referee, or a person designated by the referee or assistant referee. A new Junior driver must also pass an open-book written test, available from the APBA website, before competing.

The new driver must show knowledge of course racing rules before being approved to enter a race. Any new driver’s first day of participation in competition must consist of at least one heat of racing during a sanctioned event in which the new driver will drive in a position at the rear of the pack and be observed by the Referee and course officials.

If the driver is not cleared for “open competition” at the end of that heat, he/she shall run an additional heat in the same manner until cleared by the Referee

J Class Safety Equipment:

Drivers must wear closed footwear, life jackets, helmets, eye protection and cut-resistant, wrist-length sleeves and cut-resistant, ankle-length pants at all times while on the water for the purpose of driving racing equipment.

  • In closed course racing, when stopped on the course, the driver’s helmet only may be removed when no other racing craft are underway anywhere on the course or when the driver’s boat is tethered to a towboat.

All drivers in Junior Classes must wear impact/flak material incorporated into the life jacket. The impact/flak material will provide full coverage of the front and back of the torso.  The intent is to provide impact/flak coverage of vital internal organs.

  • The referee or inspector has the power to prohibit the use of any helmet or life jacket that he/she determines to be potentially unsafe.

More questions, just e-mail  for information.



Why Join APBA?

The APBA is the US governing body for power boat racing as authorized by the UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique).

What does this mean?

This means that the APBA and its members have a few things that no other power boat racing organization the United States has….

Set records.

As technology progresses, boats become faster, easier to handle, and safer.  this means that US, North American, and World Records are being set yearly.  If you’re not a member of the APBA or racing in a APBA sanctioned event, the record is not recognized nationally or internationally.

Guaranteed Insurance

One of the most difficult things about putting on a race is the insurance.  The racing industry as a whole is high speed, high risk, and high reward.  That said, the APBA has found the best insurance provider in the industry and has secured insurance with people who KNOW boat racing.

More Races

The APBA sanctions more than 150 races nationwide.  This provides a plethora of races for racers to earn points so that they can earn a championship!

More Racers

The APBA has thousands of members nationwide which means more competition at races.


The APBA is the only way to win a National, North America, or World Championship.  To win a World Championship, you must be registered with the UIM and your National Authority (APBA)

Racing Glossary


Racer Safety

Powerboat racing is a serious sport, and without proper safety requirements and procedures in place, drivers and spectators can be in serious danger. As the largest sanctioning body for powerboat racing in the United States, the APBA has established and maintains in-depth safety & equipment rules to ensure the safety of its drivers.

The 2016 APBA General Safety Rules contains the overarching racer safety guidelines for a majority of the categories that race within the APBA. These rules take precedence over those rules written by any category. Categories, however, are able to build upon the existing General Safety Rules & add more restrictive safety guidelines in order to fully ensure racer safety across the various types of racing. In addition to racer safety, each category maintains boat safety and inspection.

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