General Safety & Steering Tips

General Safety

  • Reservoir usage, stay within the lanes, the cove or the Heritage side
  • Survey wind direction, watch for storm clouds before going out
  • Steer into or away from the waves, don’t allow waves to hit broad side for too long
  • Dragon Boats yield to all other crafts on the Rez
  • Stay away from the Moyie

General Dragon Boat Protocols

  • Use south end of dock to load and unload the team unless it is already congested.
  • Don’t leave Dragon Boats on the dock unless you are sure another team is going to use it immediately (i.e.: you are handing off to the next team)
  • Don’t allow paddlers to throw their paddles on the dock as the team is loading or unloading, folks can easily slip and get hurt
  • Always use 3 people to retrieve and return the Dragon Boat. At least one should know how to steer
  • Slow down around the dock

Boat And Equipment Care

  • Ensure boat is secured to the mooring. Secure front and back of boat together. Use bumpers.
  • Please don’t step on the seats
  • Be careful not to let the canoe crash into the Dragon Boats
  • Steering oar should not be left hanging solely on U bolt and in the water, you will risk losing it or damage to the T-grip
  • Steering oars now stored in shed when not in use
  • Please keep the shed tidy

Boat Set Up

  • Ensure boat is balanced left and right (hint: if not possible err on being slightly right heavy). Do a balance check.
  • Ensure boat is balanced front to back including steersperson and drummer weight. If too back or front heavy, the boat becomes more difficult to steer.
  • Ensure paddlers understand and can comply with boat commands. Teams may have their own commands so this is especially important when steering a team you are not familiar with.

Steering Tips

  • If you have to go backwards, do not leave the oar in the water, use paddle steer technique
  • Ensure you have a good body position to exert pressure on the oar and be aware of how much of the oar is in the water (use T-grip height to reference point on your torso)
  • When lining up at the start, give yourself lots of runway to the start line.
  • Read the current/wind and line up toward left or right side of lane as appropriate.
  • Ensure boat is pointed as straight as possible prior to the start. Mid start corrections kill the boat speed plus it is the highest risk of steering error
  • Any and all steering corrections affect the boat speed, stay straight. Sometimes currents can “slant” the boat during a race. Steer and straighten out otherwise that will drastically slow the boat speed down.
  • Use blade angle on the oar to help trim boat direction
  • Currents change throughout the course, especially in the middle of the course here in Calgary, anticipate this and correct accordingly.
  • Steers person priority is steering and boat safety, obviously. If possible however, the steers should help drummer communicate with the boat.
  • Remind your paddlers to keep their weight on the outside butt cheek and not move around during paddling. This upsets the balance of the boat and will make it harder for you to steer, not to mention slowing the boat down.
  • As steers person you can help balance the boat if required by shifting your weight slightly between legs and in more extreme cases, putting a knee down on the gunwale
  • Bend your knees when steering, it will help you balance and it lowers your body creating less air resistance.
  • If you go off course, be conservative and let it ride. Safety first!

Information provided by Calgary Dragon Boat Society
Published: July 20, 2013