The Doggett’s Race is held each summer on the Thames, between London Bridge and Cadogan Pier (Chelsea) - the sites of the Old Swan Tavern and the Swan Inn Chelsea. Up to six young watermen will row under 11 bridges on the 4 mile 7 furlong (7,400 metre) course.
Throughout its 297 year history the race has remained relatively unchanged. However until 1873, competitors rowed against the tide using four-seater passenger wherries and there are stories of the race taking over two hours to complete. Since then the race has been rowed with the tide and the passenger wherries have been replaced by modern sculling boats.
The time now taken to complete the course is between 25 to 30 minutes and in 1973 Bobby Prentice, now Bargemaster to the Fishmongers' Company and Upper Warden of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen, set the fastest recorded time of 23 minute 22 seconds.
The entire distance of the course, from London Bridge to Chelsea must be rowed.
The minimum age a person can qualify to row for the Doggett’s Coat and Badge is 21, this being the age that apprentices come out of their time.
The maximum age a person can qualify to row for the Doggett’s Coat and Badge is 24, and he or she must have entered into and completed the Race before their 25th birthday.
Only six watermen who have just finished their apprenticeship can compete.
If a competitor is unable to attend the draw for any reason, he or she may nominate a representative to act on their behalf at the draw.
The Clerk of the Fishmongers’ Company must be informed of the name of the representative and the representative must produce a letter of authority stating that he or she is acting on behalf of the competitor, prior to or on the day of the draw
A competitor who is not at his or her starting station and ready to race by the appointed time, may be excluded by the Race Umpire and the start of the Race may take place without reference to the absentee.
The rowing stations are numbered from one to six, with station number one being nearest to the North side of the River.
All competitors must report to the Muster Station at the appointed time
The prize given by the Fishmongers' Company to the winner of the race is a crimson red coat with a silver arm badge depicting Liberty, the horse of the House of Hanover.
Passing in front of Fishmongers' Hall
From the start of the race Dwan began to take the lead (from left to right, Dwan, Alloway, Coleman, Brice)
Blackfriars Bridge 1,400m from the start, Brice, Coleman and Dwan.
Approaching Vauxhall Bridge 5,200m from the start, Coleman, Alloway and Dwan.