Kent Dragon Boat Association
Commands and Safety Procedures
AT REST POSITION:
Paddlers will sit straight up, eyes on the coach, hips against the gunnels (side of the boat), feet in position, and paddles at rest across lap not resting on the gunnels, absolutely silent.
ATTENTION IN THE BOAT:
This command is used when the coach, caller or tiller feels the need to bring the paddlers focus back to what is happening in the boat. Paddlers will sit straight up with their hips against the gunnel with paddles at rest, parallel to the water, absolutely notalking in the boat.
BACK IT DOWN:
This command is used to move the boat backward. Paddlers will back paddle in sync with the strokers. (Lead paddlers.)
This command is used to move the boat sideways. Paddlers will extend their paddle over the water perpendicular to the boat; on command the paddlers will draw the water under the boat.
HOLD THE BOAT:
This command is used to hold the boat in place. Paddlers will hold their paddles straight down perpendicular to the boat with the blade completely submerged.
LET IT RUN: (OR LET IT RIDE)
This command lets the boat coast to a stop. Paddlers will stop paddling and assume the at-rest-position until further commands from the coach or tiller.
This command is used by race officials, coaches, and tiller to prepare to paddle. Paddlers will be at a 5 degree angle, eyes focused straight ahead, with paddles parallel to the water.
This command is used by race officials, coaches and tiller to prepare the paddlers for the start of a race or practice. Paddlers will snap their paddles into the upright position ready to pull water.
This is a tiller command to pivot the boat to the left. Paddlers will assume the at-rest -position. The first 4 seats on the port side and the last 4 seats on the starboard side will push water under the boat
This is a tiller command to pivot the boat to the right. Paddlers will assume the at-rest-position. The first 4 seats on the starboard side and the last 4 seats on the port side will push water under the boat.
Command to stop paddling. Paddlers will stop paddling and assume the at- rest-position.
STOP THE BOAT:
Command to stop paddling. Paddlers will immediately put their paddles in the upright position with the paddle blade completely submerged and hold.
STABILIZE THE BOAT:
This command is used to stabilize the boat for large wakes, rough water, or paddlers changing positions in the boat. Paddlers will sit straight, eyes focused on the coach; their paddles will be extended on the water with the paddle blades resting just below the water’s surface.
TAKE IT AWAY:
Command to start paddling. Paddlers begin to paddle in sync.
LOADING THE BOAT
LOADING THE BOAT FROM THE DOCK:
When we leave the holding area for a race or from the parking lot for practice we will be in formation to load the boat. We will load the boat with the strokers first two seats and then the back two seats, loading two seats front and two seats back until the last to load is the middle
Pass your paddle and water to the person on the dock before you load. DO NOT load the boat with your paddle in your hand. DO NOT slide your paddle across the dock.
Sit in the boat with your paddles in, blade down between your knees. Stay still and in your seat as we load.
The tiller has command of the boat from the time loading begins until the boat is away from the dock and out in open water where practice begins.
LOADING THE BOAT FROM THE WATER:
When we load from the water, we load the back of the boat first. The back 4 seats, push the boat out and load the next 4 seats, push the boat out and load the rest.
UNLOADING THE BOAT:
Unloading is the reverse of loading. Last in is first out. No one leaves their seat until the paddlers are safely out of the boat.
What happens if the boat gets swamped? Flips? Someone falls out?
At any race event or practice there is always the potential for capsize or collision. This may be due to water conditions, inexperienced crews or an error made by the tiller. While most of the time pride is the worst thing hurt, serious injuries can result and there have been some preventable deaths in the Dragon Boating community worldwide.
Remember, if the capsize takes place during a practice session a rescue boat may not be close at hand. Here are some general procedures to follow during one of these situations.
Always listen to your tiller for direction:
Yes, we mean always. If you hear “HOLD THE BOAT OR STOP THE BOAT” in the middle of a race follow the tiller’s directions immediately.
The simplest ‘Buddy System’ method is to know the person paddling in the seat beside you. In the event of capsize; you are responsible for ensuring that your partner or buddy has surfaced. The first and last seats in the boat must also check for the caller/coach and tiller.
However, when a boat rolls, the person that sits beside you may end up on the other side. Another method to make sure everyone is safe is to assign each person a number from 1 to 22 on shore. If the boat goes over the tiller can account for everyone by having him or her call out their numbers.
If the Boat Rolls Over:
You cannot stop it once it starts to turn. If you are on the higher side of the boat when it begins to go over try to jump clear of your seat partner to avoid injury. If you come up under the boat there will 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. Call out to your buddy to let them know where you are.
Stay With the Boat:
Stay with the boat until the rescue craft arrives. Under no circumstances should you attempt to swim to shore. Spread evenly around both sides of the capsized boat holding onto the top edge (gunnel). The boat has the capacity to support a full crew even when fully submerged (due to lightweight construction and bulkheads filled with air). If the dragon boat is upside down after capsizing spread evenly around the outside and gently roll it over. Remember there may be others trapped underneath.
Look for or call out to your “buddy” and obey the instructions of the rescue boat. Once the Rescue Boat has arrived, they are in charge. If other paddlers are injured or having difficulty reaching the boat give them assistance reaching the boat and make the rescue boat aware of the situation.
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