Paddling and Club Membership


Club Membership
After attending four (4) paddling sessions, paddlers are required to become a member of our club. This is a requirement of Dragon Boats NSW Inc. due to insurance constraints.

To become a member please see our Contact Page or speak to:  Sue Hughes 0420 926 329

To Join or Renew membership:

Go to

Fees:  Currently $50 (includes a Club T-Shirt)  All DBNSW fees are subsidised by the Club in return for fund-raising assistance

You will need to get the membership officer to take your photo to be uploaded to RevSport.

Training Sessions

When and Where?

Training  takes place twice a week.  The Club has established a ‘doodle’ page which gives all members an update of who is paddling on the day. Click on the link on the Home page and add your name to the list. Then check the days you are available.

Please log in to Doodle on the home page for details of when and where.

Notices about changes to paddling are posted at the bottom of Doodle, so watch out for them.

Please keep your eye on the website in case there are any changes, i.e., regattas, different paddling locations and times.

What do I bring?

  • water bottle
  • change of clothes
  • towel
  • hat and sunscreen
  • boat shoes – joggers, crocs but NO Thongs until the boat is in the water!
  • we generally go for coffee after paddling

You’re going to get splashed whilst training, so don’t wear your best clothes! You will get wet, thirsty and depending on the weather, you may be cold at the start of training. Wear a t-shirt or rash vest, wet-suit shorts or boardies or paddling pants.  If it is cold, wear a spray jacket or thermal clothing!

Safety Procedures

Dragon Boating – Safety – Safety is of primary importance.  Whilst rare, accidents can and do happen in Dragon Boat training or racing – and in many water sports. If you are new to the sport, please familiarise yourself with the details in our downloadable handbook, so that when a situation arises, you will be prepared.

  • As in any water sport, there is always an element of danger. In adverse weather conditions and when there are strong winds, Dragon Boats can be swamped with water and have been known to capsize, especially when turning sideways on to the prevailing wind or wave pattern.
  • In all water conditions, good or bad, the key to safety is the application of good old COMMON SENSE by all those taking part in the activity. Playing around in a Dragon Boat and deliberately capsizing it, even in warm and sunny conditions, can be dangerous to both the crew and other water users alike. In certain circumstances it could be lethal; a Dragon Boat moving at speed through the water cannot easily be stopped and another crew in the water from a capsized boat cannot easily be seen!
  • Paddlers must always ensure when lifting and carrying a dragon boat they use safe techniques, such as bending at the knees when lifting and not bending their back.
  • Always ensure there are enough paddlers to lift and carry a dragon boat – a minimum of 12 paddlers are required to lift and carry a dragon boat.
  • When lowering a dragon boat ensure it is put down slowly with paddlers bending at the knees.
  • A dragon boat must not be pushed into or on the water whilst paddlers are standing. If a dragon boat is to be moved advise those standing to be seated and only then move the dragon boat.
  • Paddlers should wear suitable footwear in a dragon boat. When manoeuvring the boat on land covered shoes should be worn.
  • Paddlers unable to swim 50 metres fully clothed must wear a life jacket (PFD).
  • If paddlers are feeling unwell, those around them need to let the sweep and the coach know immediately.
  • If paddlers cannot keep up for any reason, they are advised to ‘pull’ their paddle and ‘rock’ with the boat.

Swimming – Ideally, all members in a dragon boat crew should be able to swim at least 50 metres, but as a minimum, they must be water competent in cold and moving water and when dressed in light clothing, that is, racing dress (shorts and vest) plus waterproof top and trousers and light footwear (trainers, flip flops or similar footwear). (A persons swimming ability should be confirmed by testing, where possible, during training).

The Buddy System – The crew should number off from the front of the dragon boat (usually by the sweep) and be made aware that they are each responsible for the person they are paired with (across the dragon boat) and that, in the event of a capsize, their first responsibility is to ensure that their partner (or buddy) is accounted for and safe while following the capsizing guidelines.

This is called the “buddy system” and it gives each person in the dragon boat a specific responsibility for another.   If there is a drummer on board, the first two paddlers are responsible for this person and the rear paddlers have responsibility for the sweep.

On the Water

Boat Balance: Before leaving the embarking area, the Sweep should ensure that the boat is well balanced. That is, that each pair of paddlers are of similar weight or height and that, generally, the heavier pairs are seated in the boat’s middle section. The Sweep must know the number of people in the boat, when the crew is embarked by performing the head count procedure.

Steadying the Boat:  A boat will feel ‘tippy’ especially if the crew is out of balance or moving about in an uncoordinated manner. To steady the boat in such circumstances (and when sideways on to the wind or wave pattern) the crew should be instructed by the Sweep to slightly lean out over the side of the boat and place their paddle blades flat on the water, at arms length.

With all of the paddles on the water in this manner (10 either side) the boat is effectively stabilised. This is called a paddle brace and the Sweep’s command should be ‘Paddles Flat’ or ‘Brace the Boat’.

Stopping the Boat: When manoeuvring, turning or in a race it may be necessary to stop the boat suddenly, say to avoid a collision with another vessel. It is important that the crew reacts quickly but safely. An unbalanced crew over-reacting can capsize their own boat!

The initial command should be ‘Stop the Boat’ (or what the Sweep’s instructions are) if the boat is unstable and there is no immediate danger of a collision.