Calgary Dragon Boat Race & Festival
Official Rules & Regulations

updated: May 26, 2024

Calgary Dragon Boat Festival 2014 Sun (19 of 78)
Calgary Dragon Boat Festival 2014 Sat (36 of 66)
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  • Racing rules are based on the Dragon Boat Canada Rules of Racing, as well as local rules developed by the Calgary Dragon Boat Society.
  • The Chief Official has the discretion to amend rules based on their judgement.
  • The Festival will prioritize participants’ safety first, and will also promote fairness, fun, camaraderie and sportsmanship.
  • See the Calgary Dragon Boat Society Official Rules & Regulations (open PDF)

Crew Categories

  • All categories: minimum 16 paddlers to a maximum roster of 26. All paddlers must be on the crew roster, have signed a waiver, and may not cross-roster (i.e., may not paddle on more than one crew in a category.) Drummers and steers may cross-roster in those roles only.
  • Youth: crew consists of paddlers between 12-17 years of age. No gender restrictions. Drummers and steers may be 18+. Waivers for participants under 18 must be signed by a parent or guardian.
  • Mixed: crew must have no more than 10 men.
  • Women’s: drummer and steers have no gender restriction.
  • Women’s Cancer Survivor Crew: may use drummers and/or steers from the pool, as needed.
  • Open: specialty challenge race with no gender restriction. Depending on number of teams, we may or may not be able to schedule this race. Register your team to indicate interest in entering $200 fee will be donated to the Charity Recipient.

Note: The Calgary Dragon Boat Festival promotes inclusiveness, equity, respect and belonging. While we work to develop our own Inclusion Policy, we will follow Dragon Boat Canada’s lead. All individuals participating in dragon boat activities in Calgary should be able to participate in the gender category in which they identify or feel most comfortable. Crew roster counts at check-in will include an ‘other’ option.


  • Races will be 200m on Saturday and 500m on Sunday. Specialty races may differ.
  • Crews must finish in their assigned lane.
  • A floating or held start will be used. Once the starter feels the boats are lined up as evenly as possible, they will call ‘ARE YOU READY’ followed by ‘ATTENTION’ at which time no more paddle movement is allowed. The start will be indicated by a horn signal. False starts will be indicated by three horn signals.
  • Boats may not impede other crews. Those that do will face penalty or disqualification at the discretion of the race officials.
  • Boats may do a practice start on the way to the start line but must proceed in a timely manner.
  • Boats should not turn after crossing the finish line until all boats have safely crossed. Then, they should turn and proceed back to the dock quickly and safely.
  • Times from the 200m races on Saturday will determine progression to category semi-finals on Sunday as well as lane seeding.
  • Protests/appeals must be accompanied by a $50 cash fee, which will be returned should the protest be legitimate. Only captains and steers will be allowed to present to the Chief Official, and any protests must occur within 15 minutes of the conclusion of the race in question. The Chief Official may consult with the Timing Tower Officials and On-Water Officials and will make the final ruling which will be without appeal.
  • Officials will make any calls deemed necessary to promote safety in the event of inclement weather such as high winds or thunder/lightning, and may postpone race times as necessary.


  • In case of a medical emergency while on the boat, stop the boat and have 2-4 members raise their paddles in the air and wait for emergency response crew (Boat Patrol)
  • In the case of a capsize, the crew should:
    • Stay with the boat
    • Do a safety count
    • Locate any missing paddlers. If necessary ONE member should check under the boat. Notify emergency response crew (Boat Patrol) immediately on their arrival if a member is missing, injured, or in distress.
    • Await rescue at the boat.
    • Listen to the drummer/steers and rescue personnel
    • Repeat safety count upon rescue

Team Conduct

  • The crew manager/captain is responsible for the conduct of their team members during the Festival. Teams are expected to be respectful to other participants, the officials, and to the Festival property.
  • Managers/Captains and Steers are expected to attend the Captains meeting on Friday evening.
  • Wristbands must be worn throughout the Festival and should be worn on the wrist only. Replacements will be allowed on a case-by-case basis by request to festival officials. No one without a wristband will be allowed in the Marshalling Area.
  • Teams should report to the Marshalling Area a minimum of 30 minutes prior to their assigned race time.
  • Liquor and/or cannabis use is not permitted outside of designated areas, and those under the influence of drugs or alcohol will not be permitted on a boat.
  • Teams are expected to remove all personal items from Athlete’s Village at the end of the festival and ensure garbage and recycling is deposited appropriately. Teams should not leave valuables unattended. The Calgary Dragon Boat Festival is not responsible for lost or stolen items, though any lost-and-found items will be posted to social media after the event.
  • If teams would like to decorate tents in Athlete’s Village, please use painter’s tape and do not make any holes in the tent or use paint/markers etc. directly on the tent.


  • Participants must return CDBS PFDs and/or paddles to the race area after each race and should not take these items back to their tents.
  • Personal PFDs may be worn as long as they meet safety standards. Waist belt/inflatable PFDs are allowed. Captains take responsibility that crew members understand how to use them properly.