Dragon boating

Includes: dragon boat racing Outdoors, Adventurous activities, Water

Age:
7+
Print this activity pack

Row as a team

Dragon boats get the girls in your unit working together - just make sure you all row in time!

Overview

A dragon boat is a long, narrow, open boat with seats. It is paddled by up to 20 people who row to the beat of a drum played by a ‘caller’.

To take girls dragon boating, you will need to find a reputable local provider.

Dragon boating is an adventurous activity and should follow the adventurous activity policy and procedures.

Approved: 5 May 2021
Version: 1.0
Content owner: Adventure team

Planning checklist

If you or another member of your leadership team is running the activity at an external venue/location, follow these extra steps:

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know about any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your commissioner.
  • Get a copy of the public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Check you hold the relevant qualification (if one is needed) to run the activity and let your commissioner know you plan to run it yourself. If you aren't sure, speak to your local adviser to check.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the needs of your group.
  • Get any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.
  • Ask for a copy of the venue's safety guidelines and risk assessment (if relevant).
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls, leaders and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity if a qualification is needed). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Consider the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions and plan the session accordingly.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation. 

If you're working with an external provider or external instructors to run this activity outside the unit meeting space, follow these extra steps. 

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know if you make any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your local commissioner.
  • Tell the activity provider about the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions that need to be considered when running the activity.
  • Choose a reputable and licensed activity provider (where applicable).
  • Check the qualified adults hold the correct qualification to be able to run the activity (see the information below).
  • Get copies of the instructor qualifications and public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Ask for a copy of the providers' safety guidelines and risk assessment.
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the requirements for your group.
  • Source any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation.

one of the British Dragon Boat Racing Association (BDA) qualifications:

  • BDA Coach level 2
  • BDA Activity Centre Coach award.

If you are unsure, please seek advice from your outdoor activities adviser or contact [email protected] to ensure the instructor’s qualification is appropriate to the nature of the activity.

When offering this activity to participants under the age of 18, and in sea, tidal or inland water that is more than 50 metres from land, the provider must be licenced by the Adventurous Activities Licencing Authority (AALA).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       You can verify the quality of a provider by checking it has one of the following endorsements: Adventuremark or LotC Quality Badge for Adventure. AALA are not applicable in Northern Ireland, but Sport Northern Ireland confirm that the Adventuremark as a suitable adventure activity accreditation scheme for Northern Ireland. Or you can ask your local outdoor activities adviser to recommend an approved provider.

If dragon boating abroad, the above qualifications and regulations may not be applicable. The leader will need to make enquiries about the reputation and safety standards of the activity provider. Contact your international adviser or outdoor activities adviser, or email [email protected] for more guidance.

For many activities around or on water, confidence in the water is more important than the ability to swim a particular distance. Often girls will need to be helped back onto a craft by the  adult running the activity. So they should have the confidence to remain in the water until rescued.

Leaders should check the swimming ability, and confidence in water of their girls and let the instructor know about anyone with weak swimming abilities or low water confidence.

Where weak swimmers or those with low water confidence are taking part, this should be risk assessed and ratios may need to be amended.

You can get good swimmers who have low water confidence if the environment in which they are swimming is different to usual.  Someone who is a good swimmer in a pool may not initially be very confident in cold open water.

Activity providers may have a swimming ability requirement to take part in this activity. Leaders should check with the activity provider before booking.

Buoyancy aids and lifejackets must be worn for activities where this is recognised as best practice as identified by the qualified adult or activity provider.

To do dragon boating, girls must be able to:

  • Swim 50 metres
  • Keep afloat for five minutes in the clothes normally worn for the activity.

Girls may fulfil these rules wearing a buoyancy aid or life jacket when either is required for the activity.

Include all: If a girl has a medical condition that will affect her ability to swim, inform the instructor and take steps to allow her to take part safely.

The leader must:

  • Make sure that safety rules and alarm signals have been explained to the girls, and they understand that they need to obey instructions immediately
  • Make sure the required buoyancy aids or life jackets are used
  • Follow water safety guidelines and ensure that the responsible adult helpers are familiar with them

Water should be inspected for signs of visible pollution, for example rubbish, blue green algae or chemicals.

Make sure girls and parents are aware of the dangers and symptoms of Weil's disease and what action to take if infection is suspected. On the day of the activity participants should be advised to cover cuts and grazes with waterproof plasters to help prevent infection.

See our guidance on water activities.

Activity ratios

The ratios below are given as a maximum and ratios must be considered as part of the risk assessment, this may lessen due to any medical conditions, lack of water confidence, poor swimming ability or other factors.

Leadership team ratio

As this activity will take place outside of your usual meeting place the leadership team adult to child ratio is mandatory.

  • Rainbows: 1:5, at least 2 adults
  • Brownies: 1:8
  • Guides: 1:12
  • Rangers: 1:12

We recommend at least one adult has up-to-date knowledge of water safety and rescue techniques, such having completed the Girlguiding water safety training module.

Leadership team ratios must be maintained per craft, the skipper or helm cannot be included in the ratio.

Qualified adult/participant ratio

The qualified adult should determine what size of group is safe. There must be enough qualified adults to ensure the safety of all participants.

This will be determined by any limitations placed on their qualification or permit, or by the rules of their operating organisation as well as the risk assessment. It should taken into consideration the location, weather and experience of both the qualified adult and other participants. This risk assessment should be assessed by the leader and any concerns raised to the qualified adult.

The skipper or helm is outside the qualified adults required for ratios

Forms

  • An Activity Information and Consent form is required to participate in this activity - PDF | Word
  • A Risk Assessment form is required for this activity - PDF

Remember - you can use one consent form for multiple activities