Rochester Memorial Day Boat Race going ahead with precautions

May 4, 2021

ROCHESTER — The Rochester Fire Department will sponsor the Rochester Memorial Day Boat Race again this year  but with new covid restrictions in place to keep people safe and healthy.

The traditional boat race on the Mattapoisett River will take place on Memorial Day, May 31, starting at 8:30 a.m. 

It starts at Grandma Hartley’s Reservoir on Snipatuit Road in Rochester and finishes at the Mattapoisett Herring Weir at River Road and Route 6.

Race organizers ask both spectators and contestants to exercise self-discipline during the race.

Face masks must be worn and social distancing must be observed if still required by Massachusetts state guidelines at the end of the month.

Boats will be staged 6 feet apart.

There will be no registration sessions, no hot dog stand in Mattapoisett, and no awards program.

The traditional Ham and Bean Supper will take place at the Rochester Council on Aging Senior Center, Dexter’s Lane, on Saturday, May 29.

Guests can choose between sit-down dining or take-out meals.

After all registration forms are submitted, the race committee will assign and draw all starting position numbers and notify the teams of their starting number.

The list of teams will be posted at the Ham and Bean supper.

After the race, the final results will be posted on Facebook by late afternoon in a format similar to what has been handed out after the awards program in the past.

A team’s prize certificates will be mailed to one of the entrants in the team. Addresses should be printed clearly.

Trophies will be purchased and given out after the race.

Contestants must be at least seven years old on Memorial Day.

There will be two people per boat. Boats must be homemade river racer designs of any material.

There are no limitations or restrictions on types of paddles.

Divisions include open/men’s, women’s, junior boys, junior girls, co-ed and parent/child.

Both contestants must be under 14 years old to qualify for the junior divisions.

For the parent/child division, adults must be 25 or older and the children must be under 14 years old to qualify for the parent/child division.

Trophies are awarded to the first, second and third place finishers in each division.

Pre-registration is required. No registration sessions will be held at the Rochester Senior Center as in past years. 

Forms may be obtained at Lloyd’s Market or Art Benner’s house at 319 Cushman Rd., or by emailing Art ( to request them.

A signed registration form must be submitted by each contestant for a team to be eligible for a starting position.

Completed forms can be mailed or delivered to 319 Cushman Rd. or returned by email, although participants will have to bring the original, signed forms to the start of the race on May 31. 

If you don’t get a confirmation from Art, assume the forms were not received and hand deliver a set.

Registration deadline is Thursday, May 27, at 8 p.m. at Art’s house.

For more information contact Boat Race Chairman Arthur F. Benner at 508-763-2024 or email