Boat racing is a sport in which boats, or other types of watercraft, race on water. Boat racing powered by oars is recorded as having occurred in ancient Egypt, and it is likely that people have engaged in races involving boats and other water-borne craft for as long as such watercraft have existed.
There are three broad categories of boat racing which define how the watercraft are powered. Self-propelled, human powered boats; wind (sail) powered boats; and motorised, frequently referred to as motorboats or powerboats.
Human-powered boat racing
- Dragon boat racing – a type of human-powered watercraft racing, originating from oriental Asia
- Rowing (sport) – a sport in which athletes race against each other on rivers or lakes, or on the ocean in special types of ocean-going rowing boats
- Canoe racing – competitive forms of canoeing and kayaking
Sail-powered boat racing
- Inshore powerboat racing – and within this category, the F1 Powerboat World Championship
- Offshore powerboat racing – racing by large, specially designed ocean-going powerboats promoted by Offshore Racing Organization
- XCAT Racing – a sport involving Extreme Catamarans or XCATs; XCAT Racing is promoted by the World Professional Powerboating Association (WPPA) and governed by the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM)
- Drag boat racing – a form of drag racing which takes place on water rather than land
- Hydroplane racing – a sport involving racing hydroplanes on lakes and rivers
- Jet sprint boat racing
- Swamp buggy racing – although not technically classed as boats, these specialist craft race tri-annually on swampy area circuits in the Florida region
Race format types
Notable boat races
- The Boat Race – between Oxford and Cambridge Universities
- The Welsh Boat Race – between Cardiff and Swansea Universities
- The Northumbrian Water University Boat Race – between the University of Durham and the University of Newcastle
- Vallam Kali – the traditional Snake Boat Race in Kerala, India
- Nehru Trophy Boat Race – Snake Boat Race in Alleppy, Kerala, India
- Musi Triboatton – an annually international boat race across more than 500 km of Musi River in South Sumatra, Indonesia
- The Harvard–Yale Regatta – also known as 'The Race'
- The Volvo Ocean Race
- The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
- The Vendee Globe – a round-the-world, non-stop, single-handed yacht race
- The Velux 5 Oceans Race – a round-the-world, staged, single-handed yacht race; originally known as the 'BOC Challenge', and then the 'Around Alone'
- The Fastnet Race
- 24 Heures Motonautiques de Rouen – a 24-hour circuit boat race in Rouen, France
- Archer eade memorial – an unlimited outboard race consisting of six laps