Technical Race Information

Information for Crew Managers and Crews


Remember that the spirit of the festival is to have fun, and it’s no fun when people get hurt!

Safety Orientation

Mandatory Safety Equipment in the Boat and on Person

  • Sounding device (whistle) (drummer and/or steersperson)
  • Throw Bag (attached to boat near the steersperson)
  • Personal Floatation Device (worn appropriately on person at all times) 
  • Paddle

Emergency Events

Other boats shall NOT approach a boat in distress unless directed by an Official (Festival Coach, Dock Master or Rescue Team)

The drummer and /or steersperson:

Will blow their whistle and call for help (walkie-talkie if available) to attract individuals on shore or in other vessels Call for a Safety Count

The Crew Must:

Stay with the boat

  1. Do a Safety Count
  2. Find your seat partner and stick together
  3. Locate the person in the seat in front and behind (the front seats, locate the drummer; the last seats, locate the steersperson)
  4. Await rescue — Stay with the boat
  5. Listen to the drummer and steersperson and work together as a group
  6. Repeat Safety Count every 30 seconds until all are recovered and accounted for
  7. Make sure PFD’s are properly fastened
  8. Do not attempt to swim to shore–Stay with the boat
  9. Minimize heat loss by huddling close together
  10. Reassure panicking crew members Provide non-swimmers with additional buoyancy e.g. a handful of paddles

If someone is missing:

  1. Look around for the missing person – if you have already been counted in
  2. Quickly resume safety count to be sure that there are not others missing
  3. Each paddler will need to feel under the boat to help find the missing person
  4. If necessary, one individual ONLY, should check under the boat
  5. The Emergency Response Team needs to be notified, as soon as they arrive, that a person is missing
  6. When the person is found and in distress, commence First Aid and / or CPR as required

Please note that if you find yourself under an over turned boat, there should 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.

Rules and Regulations

All Rules and Regulations are based on the Dragon Boat Canada Rules of Racing and local rules and regulations developed by Lethbridge Rotary Dragon Boat Festival Committee.  These rules and regulations are subject to change based on the race director’s judgment.

The intent of this festival is to provide the community with an opportunity to gather and work together for the promotion of the sport; building friendships and good will!

The minimum race crew is based on the crew category, Naut Dragons min 10 paddlers, Recreation min of 14 paddlers and Competitive min of 16 paddlers, maximum of 20 paddlers. All boats require one drummer and one steer.  All mixed crews must have a minimum of 8 female paddlers.  All paddlers must be on the crew roster, there is a maximum roster of 26 (unless a qualifying crew).

The festival races are approximately 200 (Saturday morning) and 500 meters in length.  Challenge races may differ.

Crews are assigned lanes, by number, and must stay within these lanes during the start, race and finish.

A Floating start will be used, the starter will line up as best as possible.  You may start with paddles in or out of the water (unless otherwise directed).  Boats must listen to race officials and follow instructions quickly.  Starters’ instructions will include “hold”, “back up”, or “move forward” during line up.  Once the starter feels boats are lined up evenly at his/her discretion he/she will call ARE YOU READY (respond only if something is wrong), this will be followed by “ATTENTION” (NO PADDLE MOVEMENT IS ALLOWED AFTER THIS CALL). Starter will signal horn between 1 to 5 seconds after Attention.  All boats should be quiet during the start commands.  False starts will be signaled by three sound signals after the start signal.

A boat changing lanes during a heat may not impede any other crew on the course.  A penalty or disqualification may be assessed at the time of race completion, subject to officials’ discretion.  All boats must attempt to avoid contact at all times on the water.

The finish line is a land marker; buoys are just past the finish line.  The timer will be stopped as the first part of the boat crossed the finish line.  When your boat crosses the finish line, you must follow straight through for at least one boat length and judge those boats following through in their lanes.  Return to docks quickly and safely along north shore (counterclockwise).

Exhibition races are part of the entry fee (with exception of the tug of war).

Each Recreation and Competitive crew will have 2 races on Saturday – one 200 meter and one 500 meter. The times from these 2 races will seed to Semi finals on Sunday morning.  Fastest times will seed to the fastest lanes.  Semi final placement will seed to Finals.  Fastest times will seed to the fastest lanes.Sunday races will be 500 meters

Crew members suspected of alcohol or drug abuse may be disqualified at the sole discretion of the organizing committee.  Safety is paramount.


Appeals must be accompanied by $50 cash filing fee.  If the appeal/protest is legitimate, this fee will be returned.  These must be made by the crew captain, manager, or steer, within 15 minutes of the conclusion of the race heat in which the penalty was assessed or issue occurred.  The Race Director and 2 other assigned members will investigate the appeal/protest and make the final ruling.  This ruling is final and without appeal.

Crew Managers

The crew manager is responsible for the welfare and conduct of all team members during practices and on the Race weekend. *Note, there must be a land side team member available during the festival, in case of emergency.

Athletes Village



  • Must emphasize the need for wristbands to remain worn throughout the course of the entire Festival, must not be removed
  • Ensure wristbands are properly worn (wrist only, not ankle or anywhere else).
  • Wristbands should be worn tight enough that they cannot be slipped on/ off, and must not be cut and patched back together. 
  • Manager must contact Festival Officials on festival weekend if replacement wristbands are needed, and original wristbands will need to be turned in to receive a replacement.  
  • No one without a wristband on will be allowed into the Marshalling Area or on any boat! 

Pet Policy

  • No pets, especially dogs, will be allowed into Racers’ Village, Beer Garden/food court, or the Marshalling area.
    • If you use a certified guide dog, please inform us by using the Contact Us page so we know ahead of time.

Cannabis/Liquor Policy

  • No Liquor or Cannabis use in Athletes Village. No one who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be allowed on a boat.
    • No alcohol is permitted in Athletes Village, or anywhere at, or near the event, outside of the Beer Gardens. If your team is caught with alcohol outside of the Beer Gardens, you may be disqualified.

Miscellaneous Rules

  • Any team caught manipulating the fencing around the village may be disqualified.
  • Remove all articles from Athlete’s Village prior to leaving at the end of the festival.
  • Do not leave valuables unattended. The ATB Financial Lethbridge Rotary Dragon Boat Festival is not responsible for any lost, stolen, or damaged items in Athletes Village.

Crew Tent Decorations and Etiquette

Awesome crew tent decorations contribute to your crew’s success in the Fun Awards, so get creative! See the Crew Competitions page for details on the Fun Awards.

Everything you bring, especially all decorations, garbage, recycling, and personal belongings must be removed at the end of the festival, or your crew will be charged a cleanup fee. The tent should be left as clean or cleaner than it was when it was set up.

Approved Methods for Attaching Decorations to Tents

  • Zip ties
  • String
  • Rope
  • Painters’ tape (also known as Frog tape)

Do not use any of the following:

  • Any tape / glue / adhesives (except painters’ tape), especially duct tape (also known as Duck tape), or clear packing tape – It takes forever to clean off, and no one likes doing it. Our volunteers work hard enough as is.
  • Metal wire – It accelerates wear and tear on the tents.
  • Poking holes in the walls or roof – Seriously. It has happened.
  • Any paint / ink / markers – It’s impossible to clean.

Crews are responsible for any charges resulting from damages to their tents.

Walls are mounted for your safety – Please DO NOT UNDO OR ALTER walls, straps, or any other part of the tents as it is a very serious safety hazard, especially when the Lethbridge wind picks up!

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