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Judges Program

Composition of the Protest Committee 

A protest committee is a group of individuals with the responsibility to hear and decide protests and such other duties and responsibilities as has been given to them by the organizing authority under RRS 89. The desirable characteristics of a protest committee are:

  1. the chief judge holds a US Sailing judge certification;
  2. a minimum of three members.  Often five or more for principal events or international juries;
  3. if possible as broad a geographic representation as exists among the competitors;
  4. no conflict of interest under RRS 63.4;
  5. one or more members with active sailing experience in the same or similar classes, and
  6. one or more members with local knowledge.

Referral of Judges and Request for International Juries

The Judges Committee will refer the names of US Sailing Judges to an organizing authority upon request.  Similarly,requests for members of an International Jury constituted under RRS Appendix M should be made to the Chair of the Judges Committee. Requests for all other judges should be made to the RAJ for the area in which the event will be held.

Levels of Certification as a US Sailing Judge 

A US Sailing Judge is qualified to judge any local or regional event in the US.  To be certified as a judge, one has demonstrated a thorough knowledge and understanding of the current racing rules, and the protest process.  They also must possess judicial temperament, a reputation for mature judgment and have an outstanding reputation for integrity.  Additional requirements include experience in race management and significant experience as a racing sailor.  Judges must attend a workshop and pass a written test prior to becoming a judge and again each time they re-certify.  Judges are certified for a four year period. Click here for the full requirements and process for becoming certified as a US Sailing Judge.

National Judge

A US Sailing National Judge is qualified to judge a regatta of any size anywhere in the US.  To be certified as a National Judge, a Judge must have additional national and/or international experience.  Click here for the full requirements and process for becoming certified as a US Sailing National Judge.

International Judge

US Sailing Natinal Judge with significant international experience may be nominated by US Sailing for appointment by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) as an International Judge through a recommendation of the Judges Committee.  Further information about ISAF's regulations governing their International Judges Program can be found here.  Click here for the US Sailing requirements and process for being nominated by US Sailing to ISAF as an International Judge.

Umpire and International Umpire

See the Umpires website for further information.

Judge Emeritus

The Judges Committee may designate a retired US Sailing Senior Judge as a Judge Emeritus in recognition of his/her long and distinguished service to the judges program of US Sailing. Such designation shall be for life and shall include a suitably inscribed certificate indicating the nature of service rendered.   

Responsibilities and Personal Conduct of Judges

US Sailing Judges must maintain current membership in US Sailing, and file annual reports. The report is the primary basis for continuing appointment and upgrade. Failure to submit an annual report may result in removal of the Judge’s name from the Directory.

Personal conduct of judges and umpires must be above reproach before, during and after an event. US Sailing Judges must comply with the judges standards and practices outlined in the Judges Manual. They are expected to be mature and temperate, moderate in their use of alcohol, especially careful of medications and in full control of their faculties. A judge who has engaged in serious misconduct should be dismissed immediately and a report should be filed with the Judges Committee.   If the Judges Committee receives a report alleging inappropriate conduct by a US Sailing Judge, it will investigate the report and may request that the Board take disciplinary action.


US Sailing provides liability insurance coverage for US Sailing Judges when acting as a member of a protest committee or while judging on the water. No application is necessary for events held in the United States.

US Sailing also provides insurance coverage for hull and liability protection for a power boat used by judges in the execution of duties connected with an event. Application for this coverage is required. Contact US Sailing for information on these and other types of insurance coverage available in the conduct of an event.