• Safety

    Safety information for Dragon Boat Paddlers Safety is our number one priority. Please familiarize yourself with these basic water safety protocols prior to joining in on the fun.

    A. General Information

    Each team member is responsible for his or her own safety at all times while engaging in activities related to practicing and racing in dragon boats The steersperson is in charge of and responsible for your boat at all times. His/her commands must be obeyed to insure everyone’s safety Always listen to your steersperson for directions, even if you hear “hold the boat” and you are in the middle of a race A buddy system is used in the event of a medical emergency or capsizing

    B. Before Boarding

    Dress appropriately Take a bottle of water with you Apply proper sun protection, and/or wear a hat Stretching and moderate exercise is advisable before paddling The team should review the paddling commands with the steersperson The steersperson will communicate the safety and emergency procedures with the team before going out

    C. Life Jackets

    All paddlers must wear an a coast guard approved PFD (PFD – Personal Floatation Device) at all times while on the water. PFD’s will be available at the practice site and on race day, or you may bring your own

    D. Swimming Ability

    If you are a non-swimmer, you should inform your team captain, and you or your Captain must inform the steersperson and your buddy.

    E. Loading Procedure

    Loading procedure should be done row by row – first port side, then starboard side. The recommended process is middle rows first. Listen for the steersperson and/or drummer before getting in or out of the boat. Only one person should be getting in or out of the boat at a time For unloading, repeat the loading procedure backwards

    F. Boat Commands

    To be able to control the boat and avoid collisions, all paddlers must know the paddling commands The commands should be reviewed with your steersperson at the dock each time you go out Commands: "Hold the Boat" (paddle in the water to stop the boat), "Let it Ride" (stop paddling and rest the paddle on your lap), and "Back Paddle"

    H. Hydration

    Maintain hydration by drinking fluids before getting into the boat and during those times when your boat stops for any reason

    I. Talking on the boat

    Everyone wants to have a good time, however Paddlers should restrict talking in the boat. They need to pay attention to the directions given by the steersperson. The noise makes it difficult for other paddlers to hear the directions. In addition, the drummer and steersperson must be able to communicate effectively from the bow to the stern of the boat Do not stand while on the boat. Crossing the finish line can be a real rush, however, PLEASE resist the urge to celebrate until you reach dock side. When on the water, help can be a long way off. If someone should have a medical emergency, it is imperative that everyone remains silent as the steersperson gives directions

    Watch the"Dragon Boat Capsize Drill" on YouTube


    J. Boat Capsizing

    1. Dragon boats can capsize
    2. Unless otherwise instructed, paddlers should stay with the boat, hold onto it, do not try to swim to shore, and wait until help comes
    3. You must follow the directions of the steersperson and rescue personnel. The steersperson will remain in charge of the team until rescue personnel arrive. Once the rescue boat has arrived, they are in charge
    4. Use a buddy system. Your buddy is the person sitting beside you in your row. The paddlers in the first row (row 1) of the boat are also buddies with the drummer, and the paddlers in the last row (row 10) are buddies with the steersperson
    5. If you find yourself under the boat, there will be an air pocket available for you to catch your breath and get your bearings. Feel your way to the side of the boat and then surface on the outside
    6. Locate or call out for your buddy and be sure he/she is safe
    7. If other paddlers are injured or have difficulty reaching the boat, give them assistance and make the rescue boat aware of the situation
    8. The Steersperson will take a head count
    9. If the boat capsizes, it may not right itself. The Steersperson will determine if anyone is trapped under the dragon boat, and act accordingly
    10. If the dragon boat is upside down after capsizing, the Steersperson may ask the team to help roll the boat to its upright position. Before that can be done, all paddlers must be accounted for. A strong swimmer may be asked to swim under the boat from one end to the other looking for paddlers
    11. People shouting and making noise will cause confusion. In the event of an emergency, every paddler has to be ready to follow instructions