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For the complete Safety Rules, please download Section S - Safety from the IMPBA Rule Book.
II - General
The IMPBA insurance coverage is good at sanctioned events and club races. IMPBA
insurance does cover boaters during open water and practice sessions, as long as you are following the safety procedures outlined in Section S of the IMPBA rulebook, and such events take place on an IMPBA insured body of water only.
No IMPBA events shall be sanctioned or approved unless IMPBA insurance is in effect. (See section E, IMPBA Procedures, Sanctions and Insurance).
A. General
All IMPBA members and /or contestants are responsible to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the concept of good sportsmanship; to wit, a person who plays fair and conducts him/herself in an acceptable fashion while participation in IMPBA events. The use of alcohol or illegal substance and/or the abuse of prescription drugs while participating in an IMPBA race or sanctioned event is considered unacceptable conduct.
B. Conduct
If, during an event sponsored by IMPBA, it is determined by the member in charge of said event that a contestant’s conduct falls below the acceptable standards as set forth in these rules, that contestant is subject to immediate disqualification from the event and is further subject to a suspension of all racing privileges for a period of 30 days, or more, to include a lifetime suspension. The Director of the event is required to immediately inform the IMPBA President in writing of the action taken.
The IMPBA reserves the right to deny membership to any individual that has, at any time, demonstrated unsafe boating practices, been suspended, or banned from another boating organization for any amount of time, or for any reason.
C. Appeal 
1. If a contestant is sanctioned as a result of the rule as set forth above, he/she shall have ten (10) days to file a written appeal with the Board of Directors. If such an appeal is filed, the Board is required to hold a hearing within ten (10) days if possible, but under no circumstances later than fifteen (15) days from the date the appeal is received.

2. In order for the sanctioned contestant to invoke the appeal process, it is required that the appeal be in writing and setting forth the appellant’s grounds and any witnesses to the event in question.

3. Once received, the Board shall immediately designate a member to preside over the investigation. This member is required to contact the Race Director who filed the sanction for a written response to the appeal. This response is to set forth in their entirety stating the reasons for the entering of the sanction, and witnesses to support the charge.

D. Hearing
1. Once the above-mentioned steps have been completed, the Board member in charge of the investigation shall convene a hearing to determine the penalties, if any. Suspensions of all IMPBA privileges for a specified amount of time can be assessed to the contestant. Any suspension of IMPBA privileges will also include suspension of contestant using the 1-time event fee from another model boating organization, to participate in any IMPBA event, or insured lake site. A mandatory penalty of a lifetime suspension from all IMPBA privileges will be imposed if the police presence is required due to the contestant’s unacceptable conduct.
2. It is necessary that fifty percent (50%) plus one of the members of the current Board of Directors of the IMPBA participate in this hearing. A vote by majority either way as to the guilt, innocence, and/or sanction are required. Should the board fail to properly convene within the time frame as set forth above, all sanctions shall be automatically dropped.
E. Alcoholic Beverages
Alcoholic beverages will be prohibited in the Pit area and on the CD/Drivers’ stand.
The International Motor Power Boat Association wishes to help you operate your R/C boat in a safe manner. We know you will enjoy your boat operation much more by following these operating procedures. By following these procedures, you will protect anyone who may be watching you run your boat and also protect your boat from damage. REMEMBER: SAFE BOATING IS NO ACCIDENT!

A. Adequate provision shall be made for the safety of the contestants and spectators.

B.  Each club should have a Safety Officer who will inspect the pond prior to Open Water, or the start of the race, to ensure that all IMPBA rules are in effect and adequate protection in place. This inspection should include a written check list as outlined in the Club Procedures. Contest Directors must check with the Safety Officer to be sure that the inspection is complete before starting the event. The club Safety Officer may provide a technical inspection prior to an event, and deny running privileges to any boat not considered safe.

C.  No person may operate or assist in the operation of a model power boat, or enter the pit area, or operate a retrieve boat at any IMPBA sanctioned event on an IMPBA insured pond, and be covered by insurance, unless he is a current paid IMPBA member. Race officials, contestants, and their assistants should be the only ones allowed in the pit area.

D.  IMPBA Sanctioned Races and Records Trials

1. Clubs hosting IMPBA sanctioned Races and Record Trials shall use caution tape, signs, barriers, fencing and or netting to keep spectators out of the water and a minimum of 25 feet from any operating boat. All spectators shall be kept back 25 feet from the shoreline, and signs posted: “No Spectators beyond This Point.”

2. The pit area shall be roped or fenced and kept clear of spectators. An effort should also be made to protect boaters in the pit area by using netting or a raised launch area.

3. SAFETY NETTING should be placed on all sides of the pond exposed directly to spectators and contestants. Safety nets should be inspected prior to the race for tears and dry rot, and if the net is found to be in a deteriorated state, it should be replaced with new netting prior to use.

Net supports should be spaced no more than 10 feet apart. Any area that is not covered by safety nets must be kept free of all people and animals during the event with signs and/or ropes or barriers of some kind. The plastic orange construction netting is NOT recommended. The recommended netting is: http://www.seamar.com/nets/squaremesh.html.

4. No person shall be permitted in the water without expressed permission of the Contest Director.

E.  Radio Impound

1.  Transmitters shall be impounded upon arrival at a contest site from all competitors in the pit areas. Transmitters using the 2.4Ghz frequency will be exempt from the impound area.

2.  The impound area shall be furnished by sponsoring club and shall be properly shaded and provided adequate protection from the weather and theft. The IMPBA and host club are not held responsible for lost, stolen or damaged transmitters. Transmitters will have the contestants name and IMPBA number attached to the transmitter.

3.  Frequency flags as approved by IMPBA / FCC are mandatory at all times to be displayed on the transmitters. Transmitters using the 2.4Ghz band do not require frequency flags.

4.  The proper contest officials will control the use of transmitters for checking operations.

F.  Control Infractions

Should a boat show erratic, random or other behavior indicating possible control problems, a contest official will warn the driver. Should the behavior continue, the boat would be ordered off the course and given points for a "Did Not Finish"  After a boat has been ordered off the course for erratic operating, the driver must demonstrate to the contest officials that the problem has been repaired before he can race in the next heat. The contest officials may require the driver to demonstrate the controllability of the boat.


A. There will be no model boats running on the pond while the pickup boat is working. The pickup boat may not go out as long as any model boats are running.

B.  No model boats will be running while any full sized boat is in operation on the IMPBA registered insured body of water.

C.  Coast Guard approved life vests and/or personal floatation devices (PFD) should be worn or at least available for each person in the pickup boat. All persons in the retrieve boat under 16 years of age must wear U.S.C.G. approved PFD.

D.  “NO SWIMMING” signs should be posted in conspicuous places on all sides of the pond.

E. Any tent, dining fly, canopy, or similar device must have in-ground anchors.

F. Sand containers shall be present and used as a depository of racers’ contaminated fuel. This shall be the responsibility of the host club who will also provide for the proper disposal of such fuel.

G. All steps and driver stands floors shall have a reasonably slip-resistant surface.

H.  Driver stands should also have hand rails on all sides. Steps should be OSHA approved angle of stairway rise.

I.   Permanent and temporary structures, such as drivers’ stands/scaffolding or bleachers, are not covered by IMPBA insurance.

J.  Any club offering a concession stand should ask for insurance certificates from the concessionaire. (This is due to the possibility of food poisoning.)

K.  An area shall be roped off from spectators and other racers to use as an engine test area.

L.  Fire extinguishers must be located in the pit area and engine test areas as well.

M. No smoking is allowed in the pit area at any time.

N.  A good quality first aid kit should be standard equipment at all races, first aid kits should be replenished periodically throughout the year.

O. The club safety officer may provide technical inspection to the boats prior to an event, and deny running privileges to any boat not considered safe.


A.  Whenever running a boat, whether during a race or practicing, there must be a spotter for each driver to watch for any unsafe conditions which should arise around the pond.

B.  Anyone in the pit area MUST wear shoes. (Sandals or open-toed shoes of any kind are NOT acceptable.)

C.  All inboard hydros should have throwing handles, but not mandatory.

D.  No plastic or composite props will be used except for Working Scale Electric, and RTR / ABS production type boats.

E.  The method of propulsion shall be the type that functions by contact with the water. Inertia-reaction devices such as rockets, jets, or air props are prohibited, as main source of propulsion.

F.  Boat stands should have prop guards, but not mandatory.

G. The transmitter on/off switch shall be positioned in such a manner as to prevent its accidental shut off if bumped either during launching, handling, or racing.

H.  All transmitters will be identified by the owner’s name and address thereon.

I.   The model boat radio on/off switch shall be positioned in such a manner as to prevent its accidental shut off if bumped either during launching, handling or racing on all boats.

J.  NEVER bring boat back to pit area straight in-- always run parallel to shore while slowing it down.

K.  Pick up your frequency tag from the tag board. YOU MUST HAVE A SURFACE MODEL FREQUENCY RADIO. If the tag that you need is not on the board, it means that someone else is operating a boat on the same frequency as you. DO NOT PICK UP YOUR RADIO AND TURN IT ON!

L.  A positive engine throttle control, or speed control on electric boats, will be required of all boats entered in racing or record trials.

M. Boats will be checked to see each has an antenna before the race is started.

N.  Boat antennas should have a protective cap to prevent eye injuries.

O.  After you have the tag/flag for your frequency, you may pick up your radio from the radio impound.

P.  Check operation of the radio, check battery, check range. Does both rudder and throttle operate? Does the throttle close the carburetor completely? It’s more important to be able to stop the engine than to have full throttle. When the stick (wheel) is moved to the right, does the rudder move to turn the boat to the right? When the stick (wheel) is moved to the left, does the rudder move to turn the boat to the left?

When all tests are completed and everything is working properly, you are ready to start your engine.

Q.  Start your boat and WALK TO THE LAUNCH SITE.

R.  Launch your boat and bring it up to speed (on plane). Once a boat passes the entrance buoy, there will be no re-launch

S.  You must be able to drive a straight course on the straight-a-ways and turn around the outside of the turn buoys.

T.  When returning to the pits, after a run, make sure you are able to stop the boat without running into the shore. Bring the boat in parallel with the shore. NEVER bring it straight in.

U.  Place the boat back on its stand. Turn off the boat receiver, and then turn off the transmitter.

V.  Return the transmitter to the impound area. MAKE SURE THE TRANSMITTER IS OFF when setting it down. Return the frequency tag to the board. When the boats are running, you will not be able to hear what your boat is doing. You must become aware that you now only have your sense of sight to control your boat. Your pit man is an important part of your boat’s operation. He is your second set of eyes and will be talking to you about what is ahead on the race course. Become accustomed to someone talking to you while you are operating your boat.


A.  Fast Electric Powered Models

It is recommended for all fast electric powered model boats to have an electrical disconnect circuit(s) (EDC) (see diagrams and pictured examples in the Rule Book). The EDC(s) should have a lanyard attaching it to the model boat if required the EDC should also be located on the left hand side of the model if at all possible. EDC(s) should be designed to physically prevent the transmission of all electrical energy to the motor(s). Boats using the 2p setup may use 2 (two) EDCs, in order to keep the entire load from one EDC circuit. The use of the EDC(s) device is to allow persons in retrieve boats to activate the EDC(s) to ensure the electrical energy to the motor(s) is/are interrupted.

It is recommended that a radio failsafe be used in all models. The radio failsafe should be set to shut the electronic speed control (ESC) voltage down when a signal is lost or weak.

As a general safety practice while FE boats are in the pit area the EDC(s) should also be activated to ensure an increased safety margin for all.

All electric models must be handled as if the motor is running. Retrieve boat operators will be reminded that when picking up dead boats to keep themselves clear of the propeller(s) on the model and to keep the propeller(s) clear of any obstructions in the retrieve boat.

As with any high performance battery, due consideration should be given to the safe handling and charging of batteries. (See Section-J, Fast Electric)

Batteries may be of any commercial manufacture that is available to the public.
These may include: Lithium Polymer or Lithium Ion, etc. type cells.  Liquid acid type battery, Fuel Cell or Radioactive batteries are not allowed. The following chart lists the voltage maximums

Class Voltage Limits

Allowed Motor(s)

Style/Type (Note1)    Number of

N 3.7  to  8.46 Any 1
P 11.1  to  16.92 Any 1
Q 18.5  to  25.38 Any Any (Note 1)
S 25.9  to  33.84 Any Any (Note 1)
T 33.3  to  42.3 Any Any (Note 1)

Note 1: some classes may limit number/type of motor. Some classes may limit battery type

B.   Fuel/Gasoline Powered Models

The use of Tetra Nitro Methane or Hydrazine is illegal in all phases of model boating controlled by IMPBA. Any member found using these would be banned from IMPBA for one year. In addition, he will have to reimburse to IMPBA the entire fuel analyzing costs prior to being allowed to rejoin this organization.

All engines must have a positive off-on switch, or in lieu of this switch, the primary ignition lead must be removed from the spark plug except when in the pits, out of the spectator area, or in preparation for racing.

It is recommended that a radio failsafe be used in all models. The radio failsafe should be set to close the throttle when a signal is lost or weak.


A.  All accidents must be reported to the club’s Safety Officer. In the event of an accident, the Club Safety Officer will write his opinion on the accident, and forward it to the IMPBA Safety Director as soon as possible. Pictures of what caused the accident and the location where the accident occurred if possible and a method of preventing a reoccurrence of the accident should also be submitted to the IMPBA Safety Officer for review by the IMPBA Board.

B.  IMPBA Accident and Injury forms will be kept at the race site at all times. If there should be an accident, it will be recorded on these forms and sent to the National Safety Director as soon as possible. The forms will be a prerequisite to payment of claims. Claim form can be found in Printable Forms section of this website.