DC Services


What is Dragon Boat Racing?

Dragon boating is a fun filled, adrenaline pumping, water sports activity. Teams compete in Dragon Boats, which are large canoe-like vessels fitted with ornately carved dragon's heads and tails. Crews of up to 16 people sit in pairs and paddle to compete in multiple timed races over distances of around 250m. Each boat has a drummer beating time to keep the paddlers in unison, and a professional helmsperson in the stern to guide the boat.

Who can take part?

Dragon boating appeals to all ages and abilities, and no previous experience is necessary as full training will be given on the day.

It’s so popular even Prince William and Kate Middleton have had a go. Kate is a former member of the Sisterhood boat crew, and she raced against Prince William during a trip to Canada.


Dragon boat racing began more than 2000 years ago on the banks of the life-sustaining rivers in the valleys of southern China as a fertility rite to ensure plentiful crops. Over the years a second touching story was integrated to give the festival a dual meaning. Legend has it that Qu Yuan, the great warrior poet threw himself in the river Mi Lo, as a protest against the political corruption of the day. The people loved Qu Yuan very much and raced out in their fishing boats to the middle of the river in a vain attempt to save him. They beat on drums and splashed their oars in the water, trying to keep the dragons away from his body.

Now a modern day sporting activity, dragon boat racing has become popular with corporations and charities alike.  For companies it offers a superb platform for team building, corporate entertainment and hospitality, and for charities it provides an opportunity to raise funds and awareness for worthwhile causes.

What can you expect during a typical event?

A typical Dragon Boat Event starts with a full Health and Safety briefing and shore side training for each team by their instructor before being allowed access to the boats. The emphasis on the day is very much about team building and competition, with each team getting a guaranteed (weather permitting or unless otherwise specified) three timed races in the qualifying rounds.

There will be music and running commentary throughout the event provided by your Event Manager. After each race has finished, the results and times are entered on the leader board so each team can compare their times.  Not surprisingly, every time the leader board is updated, team members gather round and as the day progresses, the excitement and atmosphere steadily grows.

When all the qualifying rounds have been completed, we take each team’s single fastest time and use those times to rank all the teams in fastest time order. The teams which qualify for the Grand Final then race to the finish in one last and very dramatic battle to the line!  At our larger events, this has involved as many as twelve dragon boats all sweeping towards the finish line together as each team strives to be first and recognised as Dragon Boat Champions.

The day finishes with an award ceremony where a winner’s trophy is presented to the Captain of the top team and specially cast First, Second and Third place 'Olympic style' Dragon Boat Medals are awarded to each member of the top three teams.

Although dragon boat racing may be the main activity, we can also organise additional activities and services such as changing marques, catering and entertainment to make your event a truly memorable day.


Dragon Boat Events is committed to ensuring the highest possible standards of health and safety.

We believe that the safety of participants is of paramount importance so it is our top priority when planning an event, and we work closely with an external health and safety consultant who oversees our policies and practices. We are proud to say we have a 100% safety record.

Several steps are taken to ensure the safety of all people involved at our events which include:

  • In house qualified health and safety person
  • Venue risk assessment & safety plan
  • Free visit to new venues to complete risk assessments
  • All events supervised by suitably experienced and qualified staff
  • Pre-event safety briefing and training session for all teams
  • Safety boat and qualified driver at every event
  • EU-approved buoyancy aids (life jackets) for every crew member
  • High-visibility safety wristbands for every crew member
  • Qualified first aiders in attendance at every event

Minimum public liability insurance of £5 million with option to increase to £10 million if necessary.

Reasons to take part

Our events are vibrant, fun and suitable for all ages, fitness levels & abilities.  Involving the very best in competitive team building, our events will both challenge and motivate.  

  • Environmentally friendly activity
  • Everyone can get involved
  • Suitable for those with disabilities*
  • No experience needed
  • Healthy, outdoor activity


Team Building Benefits

Dragon boat racing is a popular team building event as it quickly gets everyone working together and having fun. It is not about individual skills as everyone in the boat must work together and paddle in perfect timing to reach the finish line. Every paddler has a unique job, encouraging leadership in each person. It’s all about collaboration, timing, effort, and putting the team before yourself. It is the perfect way to improve communication, strengthen bonds and encourage team work.

If you are planning a corporate event then consider inviting multiple divisions or other companies you work with on a regular basis to increase competitive spirit. It’s inclusive so any individual can take part regardless of age or ability.



TERMS & CONDITIONS: Dragon Boat Events Ltd hereafter referred to as ‘the Company’ stages events for and on behalf of its clients throughout the UK and Europe. This event is classed as a charitable event and falls within the terms and conditions agreed with and accepted by the client. A copy of these terms and conditions is available for scrutiny by post (on receipt of a cheque for £15.00 made payable to Dragon Boat Events Ltd) to cover admin, postage and packing.


INSURANCE: The Company complies with all industry standards and is covered for insurance purposes whilst staging its events and activities by Navigators and General (106), Policy No.YI054172Q, or a similar Policy on annual renewal.  Cover is as follows – Public Liability at least £5 million, Employers Liability £10 million. Cover is reviewed continually and conforms to the industry standard for the events and activities undertaken by the Company.  The Company is also accredited by the Adventure Activities Licensing Service (AALS) for the provision of Dragon Boat Racing to persons under the age of 18. Copies of the certificates and schedules of cover are available for scrutiny by post on receipt of a cheque for £15 made payable to Dragon Boat Events Ltd to cover admin, postage and packing.

TEAM CONTRACT & WAIVER.  In signing this ‘team contract’ the team captain of the crew listed here agrees on behalf of the team to the conditions of entry as listed in the company’s client contract. 

RULES OF PARTICIPATION.  The crew certifies that:

  1. All crew members are comfortable in deep water whilst wearing a personal flotation device (buoyancy aid supplied by the ‘Company’),


  1. Crew members with disabilities have signed a separate waiver, and have satisfied the Company, that they are able to sit unaided in the boat, be capable of communicating with and or obeying instructions given by the Company’s representatives or via an interpreter both on and off the water and are confident in water whilst wearing a personal flotation device. In all cases a person with physical disabilities must be escorted by an able bodied helper (buddy) who will be briefed as to their duties whilst on the water. An additional charge may be levied for the supply of a trained member of the event team to act as a personal buddy if no-one in their crew can so act.
  1. The crew accepts that in the interests of safety, the Company has the absolute right to remove a whole crew or individuals within that crew from a race or races, if he/she or they are deemed to be unfit to race, or if weather conditions or other safety factors affecting the water conditions warrant such action.


  1. There will be no reduction or reimbursement of fees for teams of less than 16 plus a drummer, or in the case of a crew member being removed from a race or races for any reason(s).
  1. The crew undertakes to abide by all instructions given by the Company’s representative(s).


DECLARATION OF FITNESS TO COMPETE – Crew members are required to declare to the Company (prior to the commencement of the event) if they: (a) suffer from chest pains or shortness of breath (b) if they have been told by their Doctor that they have heart trouble (c) they have been told that their blood pressure is too high or too low (d) they have had fainting or dizzy spells (e) they have undergone a recent operation (f) they suffer from bone or joint problems i.e. arthritis, spinal injury etc. (g) any other reason why they should not participate in an exercise programme which in the case of Dragon Boat Racing should not exceed 5 minutes of active aerobic exercise per race. This list is not exhaustive. If you are in any doubt about your fitness to compete, you must ask the Company’s representative prior to undertaking the training and race programme.

Please Note: it is a legal requirement for names and contact details to be registered for all crew members for insurance purposes – and under the Data Protection Act 1998 will not be disclosed to any third parties.