Dragon Boat Guideline

Getting In And Out of the Boat

  • When loading or unloading the boat the following precautions need to be taken:
  • Safe lifting technique (bend at the knees, not at the back) when lifting and carrying the boats
  • Make sure enough people are there to move the boat (min 10). Ask others for help if needed
  • Lower the boat slowly when putting it down
  • Paddlers load and unload the boat at the front, 2 at a time
  • Decide seating positions before getting into the boat
  • Avoid erratic movements
  • When seated, put paddles on the water
  • Do not push the boat off the pontoon while people in it are not seated
  • All paddlers should take note of their buddy sitting next to them. This is the person you will look out for if the boat capsizes. Your buddy’s safety depends on you
  • The boat should be balanced left and right before leaving the pontoon
  • Do not lock or tie yourself into the seat

Specific Safety Requirements

  • Paddlers who suffer from asthma must bring their medication with them on the boat
  • Teams must not train during lightning, strong winds or adverse conditions
  • Crew members must be appropriately dressed for the conditions
  • Members who have a medical problem should advise the Head Coach of their problem along with a medical plan in the event that their problem is exacerbated on the water
  • It is the responsibility of the club member to equip themselves with all appropriate medication and any necessary items required to assist them with a medical emergency
  • Alcohol and/or drugs are not permitted on boats
  • Paddlers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs will not be permitted to board a boat.
  • When the steersman calls “Stop/Hold the boat”, all the paddlers must dig their paddles vertically into the water to stop the boat. This must be practiced so that a team is able to stop boat in a short distance
  • When the steersman calls “Paddles flat” all paddlers must hold the blade of the paddle flat on the water. This stabilizes the boat and should be used at all times when not paddling. This is especially necessary when people are moving within the boat and when the water is choppy

Paddling at Night

  • Boat lights must be used on boats after dusk. The lights are to be waterproof and brightly visible from all angles
  • Steersman should be extra observant for other boats
  • Ensure at least three bailers are to be carried on each boat
  • Boats are to stick as close to the shoreline as possible
  • If more than one boat in the water, boats must travel together
  • Lifejackets are to be carried in the boat
  • Steersman should carry a whistle with them

Capsize Drill:

  • If the boat capsizes, remain calm
  • Make sure YOU are ok; get your head above water. If you come up under the boat, swim under and to the side of the boat, then surface
  • Find your buddy. Call out to them as they might be on the other side of the boat. If you cannot find your buddy, alert the people around you. Then search for your buddy
  • Distribute yourselves around the boat and hold onto it, to stop it from rolling over. Do not dive under the boat to get to the other side, swim around it
  • The steersman or coach will do a head count twice. If people are missing, then search for them
  • Carefully turn the boat right side up, and swim it to the nearest accessible bank. The whole team should move with the boat. Paddlers should not swim on ahead or be left behind. Do several head counts as you swim the boat
  • Paddlers must be disciplined to listen and obey the commands
  • Responsibility of the Steersman

The steersman is the person in control of the boat and has responsibility for the safety of the crew. The steersman and Coaches are the only person that can issue paddling commands to control the boat. All commands must be obeyed immediately. The steersman must:

  • Issue commands in a loud and clear voice
  • Be aware of boats and swimmers around you. All boats should be given a wide birth if possible
  • Maintain situational awareness by periodically looking behind to establish if any boats are approaching from behind
  • Be aware of other boats in the water, acknowledging that a Dragon Boat cannot change course quickly or is not very stable in choppy water
  • Do a head count and appoint a second in charge (an experienced paddler) before on water training
  • Be experienced in handling the boat in choppy water

Steersmen must face the boat into the waves or have the boat running with the waves (i.e. in the same direction of the waves) in choppy waters; not side onto them. But if in choppy waters steersmen must:

  • keep paddlers advised of your intentions; and
  • remind paddlers to lean out and keep paddling when you are turning the boat across the waves

Thank you everyone for helping to keep our boats in good order.