Whether you want to win the race, or win your lane – bring your team to the start line! Join other teams registering now for the Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation Dragon Boat Festival! Look to co-workers, friends, spouses, church members, civic leaders, customers, neighbors, and others to fill your winning team of 20 paddlers and a drummer. Find out why you it’s the fastest growing water sport! Get on the (Dragon) Boat. Make Waves!

All dragon boats, gear and instruction (including paddles, life jackets, and coaches) provided for teams by race producer.

  • Practices: May 8-10, 2019

  • Festival Day: May 11, 2019

  • Location: Point Mallard Aquatic Center Beach

  • Estimated Race Time: 9 AM – 4 PM
    (If your team doesn’t advance to a final round, you can stick around & enjoy the races)

  • Cost: $1,500 per team

Team FAQ

Dragon Boat Racing rapidly gains popularity as the 8th fastest growing sport in the world. The growth stems from participation of various groups and corporations using it as an opportunity to build their internal teams. Teams bring their best to become Grand Champion for the most unique, fun and unforgettable experience! Join us for the Second Annual Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation Dragon Boat Festival!

Team Info

  • Team Captains and/or Co-Captains lead the team effort and informs team members.

  • Teams race with 20 paddlers, a drummer and steerer (provided). Teams may have 4 alternates, for a total of 25 team members, or can race with minimum of 16. Must have at least 8 female paddlers. Minimum age for adult teams is 15, with parental signature.

  • Race management provides dragon boats for each team. They are stable and safe.

  • Each team gets an on-water practice session with registration.

  • Each team races on Saturday – two times, with top teams racing in a Final round.

  • Races are 200 meters – about two football fields, which will take just over a minute at full speed.

  • Practices and racing will NOT be canceled or postponed due to rain.

  • Your team should bring a tent, if desired, competitive spirit, water, food, tent decorations, etc. It’s a company picnic, community & cultural festival and adrenaline-pumping racing action in one.

  • Non-racing awards include: top fundraising team, top fundraising indivdual, team spirit, best dressed drummer and best team name.

  • Awards & Medals for Gold, Silver & Bronze winners, and for divisional winners.

  • Division include: Banks/Financial; Hospitals/Medical; Media/Communications; Manufacturing; Civic/Government; Engineering/Architecture; Church, College/University; & Community Team.

  • Almost anyone, regardless of size and fitness level, can paddle in a dragon boat race.

Captain's Guide

Congratulations! You registered a team in the Dragon Boat race. Now, how do you recruit and keep the team assembled until race day? Try following a few simple suggestions.

Ways to Recruit & Keep a Team

  • Team members can include co-workers, colleagues, friends, spouses, neighbors, clients, church members.

  • Initially recruit at least 25 for your team.

  • Keep a waiting list for last minute substitutions.

  • Expect turnover. Consider rules for team members – e.g., if one member drops,

  • make them responsible for getting a replacement.

  • Try an online team management system. One of the best dragon boat teams in the country

  • uses, which is free!

  • Keep them involved. Share Team Captain Updates and/or event info with team members.

  • Create a team page at FirstGiving to promote the race and your fundraising efforts.

Quick Look at Technical Race Rules

  • All dragon boats and equipment (including paddles) will be provided.

  • Each paddler must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket. One is provided. However, you may bring your own.

  • Every paddler must sign a waiver.

  • Each team will have a trained dragon boat steerer/coach.

  • Minimum age for adult boat is 15.

  • Your team will race with 20 paddlers and a drummer, but you may race with a minimum of 16 people.

  • Must have 8 female paddlers (drummer does not count).

  • The drummer must actively beat the drum during the race.

  • If you have a race day protest, you should communicate it to the Chief Marshaler.

  • The race heats will be a straight course of approximately 250 meters. Three boats race at a time in lanes marked by racing buoys.

A complete rules and regulations file will be distributed to all team captains. For info about race day schedule and format, visit the race day schedule page.

Paddling Commands

Info/Tips for New Teams

Conduct in the Boat: There should be no/minimal talking once your team is in the boat.  The drummer and steersperson must be able to communicate with the team and each other at all times, and all team members need to be able to hear the commands. Paddles straight up in the air if you need to draw attention to yourselves in case of emergency.

Buddy System: Make certain that each of your team members knows who is sitting beside them in case the boat swamps/capsizes, which is highly unlikely.  Teammates will be responsible for each other’s safety until rescue arrives. STAY WITH THE BOAT!

Life Jackets: Everyone must wear a life jacket during practice and on Race Day.

Drummer: The drummer should attend practice, if possible. He or she will assist in setting the timing for the team and can be an excellent source of motivation and inspiration during practices and on Race Day.

How To Sit In The Boat

  • Outside hip forward

  • Inside hip back

  • Outside leg extended along the gunwale (inside top rail of the boat)

  • Inside foot under the seat or braced effectively and comfortably

Seven Steps of the Dragon Boat Paddling Technique

  • Rotation

  • Reach Extension

  • Top Arm Drive (stab the water)

  • Catch-powerfully drive the paddle into the water at approx. a 45 degree angle, burying the entire blade into the water-your hand should get wet.

  • Pull water with the entire blade until you get to just behind your knee

  • Exit -get that paddle straight up and out of the water quickly, no further back than your hip

  • Recovery -snap the paddle back into the paddles up position for the next catch

Dragon Boat Paddling Commands

  • Paddles Up: Be ready to paddle. All paddlers with paddles above the water (3-6 inches from the surface) ready to enter the water.

  • Take it Away: Begin paddling.

  • Let it Run: Stop paddling and let the boat glide.

  • Hold the Boat or Stop the Boat: Place paddles in the water, with paddle pointed straight down, blade submerged. It will bring the boat to a stop. If you hear the command, “Hold hard,” quickly put your paddle straight down and then back it up one stroke.

  • Back it Down: Paddle backwards.

  • Draw (left or right side): Initiates a turn using draw strokes by the designated paddlers. Can also be used to get the boat closer to something, a dock, for example.

  • Stabilize the boat: Place your paddle blade on top of the water and hold it there. This stabilizes the boat. It is needed when anyone stands up in the boat to change position, etc.

Note: Your coach/steerer will brief you about these commands before your practice. In the boat, when the coach is talking, please continue to paddle and listen. Never stop paddling unless your coach says “Let it run.”