Registration dates and info released for Rochester Memorial Day Boat Race

Apr 1, 2024

ROCHESTER — As Memorial Day nears, so too does the Rochester Memorial Day Boat Race.

The Rochester Fire Department will again sponsor the race, which will be held Monday, May 27 at 8:30 a.m.

A boat building seminar will be held at the Rochester Fire Station, Saturday, April 13 from 1 to 3 p.m.

The seminar will focus on wooden boat construction, demonstrating on a small scale the process and techniques of building a Mattapoisett River Racer.

Those who may have a boat that is no longer needed are asked to bring it to the fire station in order to sell, give or loan to others looking for a boat to use. Anyone in need of a boat should come to the fire station to see what is available.

The Rochester Memorial Day Boat Race on the Mattapoisett River begins at Grandma Hartley’s Reservoir, Snipatuit Road in Rochester, and finishes at the Mattapoisett Herring Weir at River Road and Route 6.

A kayak division will be included in the 2024 race. For the division, the minimum age is 18, the boat must be a single-person kayak in which the contestant can sit inside of the cockpit, and the contestant must wear an approved USCG personal flotation device for the entire race. There will be a $10 entry fee.

For the Mattapoisett River Racer boats, the minimum age for contestants is 7 years old on Memorial Day. There will be two people to a boat, which must be a homemade river racer design of any material. There are no limitations or restrictions on types of paddles.

Divisions include the new kayak division and the Mattapoisett River Race open/men’s, women’s, junior boys, junior girls, co-ed and parent/child divisions. Trophies will be awarded to the first, second and third place finishers in each division.

Junior division is under 14 years old. The parent/child division is for a parent or adult 25 years or older with a child under 14 years old.

Pre-registration is required. A single registration session will be held at the Rochester Council on Aging Friday, May 17, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Starting positions will be assigned or drawn after registration closes.

A signed registration form must be submitted by each contestant for a team to be eligible for a starting position. Registration forms and rules may be obtained by April 13 at Lloyd’s Market, at Arthur Benner’s house at 319 Cushman Road or at the registration session. Forms and rules can also be requested by emailing

Completed forms can be delivered by email or to 319 Cushman Road. If returning by email, the original, signed forms must also be brought to the registration session. Registration forms must be submitted to the committee by 8 p.m. on Friday, May 17.

The traditional ham and bean supper will be held at the Rochester Council on Aging Saturday, May 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12.

There will be raffles for each of two carbon fiber racing paddles made by Bill Watling III and a silent auction for each of two carbon fiber paddles. There will also be a raffle for a hand-crocheted afghan made by Cecelia Hall. Tickets will be sold at the registration session and at the supper.

For more information, contact boat race chairman Arthur F. Benner at 508-763-2024 or and visit the Rochester Memorial Day Boat Race page on Facebook.