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Rules of Participation           Go to Safety Information

View a sample FMG Dragon Boat Waiver form.. This form is provided to Team Managers at the team's first practice.

All Rules and Regulations are based on the International Dragon Boat Federation Members Handbook (2nd Edition, 1/1/1997) and Local rules and regulations developed by Facility Marketing Group Inc.

A. Fundamental Rules Statement:
Safety: The first priority of all competitors is the safety of their crew and all other crews involved - this takes precedence over all other activity. Any Dragon Boat Crew or competitor who attempts to participate by other than honorable means, or who deliberately breaks the Race / Participation Rules, or who disregards the honorable nature of the rules shall face disqualification.

B. Event Practice / Race Participation:

  1. Crews exceeding 22 members (incl. steersperson and drummer) on board will be disqualified
  2. A minimum race crew is sixteen paddlers, and one steersperson. (17 participants). All MIXED teams must have a minimum of eight (8) female and eight (8) male paddlers. All Female means all participants must be female.
  3. The Waiver must be read and properly signed by all participants prior to participating - it is the responsibility of the Team Manager to fulfill this obligation. Participant identification may be required.
  4. PFD's must be properly worn at practices and races. Use on IDBF/ FMG approved paddles only.
  5. No standing in the boat. all crew members who started the race are present in the boat.
  6. Participants must be 14 years of age or older, anyone under the age of 18 must have legal guardian permission by signing Youth Waiver at the participants first practice by the guardian
  7. All teams must complete all assigned practices & race heats to be eligible for Awards. Penalties apply at practices and are assigned to the teams third or final race heat.
  8. Paddlers may participate on more than one team as long as the following requirements are adhered to:
    - they must sign the waiver of each team they participate on
    - they must fulfill the two mandatory practices with each team they participate on team / participation must be in the same category - mixed rec in mixed rec, competitive in competitive, all female in all female
    Be aware that race scheduling conflicts may occur where they will only be able to participate on one of their teams in a heat.
  9. Teams cannot use participants that will not be full team members participating in all practices and race heats.

C. Starting:

  1. Boats must listen to the chief Race Official (Starter), and follow instructions clearly, when lining up for start.
  2. Starters instructions will include procedures for boats to 'hold', 'back up', and 'one minute to start' (not actually 60 seconds), while boats are lining up for the start.
  3. Once the Chief Race Official feels boats are lined up evenly (at his/her sole discretion) in the designated starting area, the warning signal "Attention Please!" will cue all paddlers, of every competing boat to prepare for the Start.
  4. Chief Race Official will sound signal at any time after warning signal.
  5. Races are 500 meters in length, unless otherwise stipulated.
  6. Drummers may not drum during Start procedures. Drummers must stop drumming if the Starter calls a False Start.
  7. False Starts will be signaled by three sound signals after the start signal.
  8. UNFAIR STARTS - When a crew jumps the start and a 'False Start' cannot be called, but in the opinion of the Starter a material advantage has been gained by the crew or crews, the Starter may award a 'Time Penalty' to the crew or crews in question.

D. Right of Way Rules

  1. A boat changing lanes or not in their lane for the entire race will receive a penalty or disqualification.
  2. Any contact between boats will results in penalty or disqualification.
  3. All boats must attempt to avoid contact at all times while on the water.
  4. A boat, which is not competing, must keep clear of all boats, which are competing.

E. Finishing:

  1. Finish line will be between the Finish Buoys these markers are a guide only. When buoys are not present, the Finish Official on land will indicate the finish line.
  2. For the Finish Line Officials to stop the clock, the Dragon Boat's bow (Dragon's nose) must cross the finish line.
  3. When your boat crosses the finish line, stay in your lane and "stop the boat", keeping boat straight. When instructed to do so, check for clearance and head towards docks under-power docks as quickly and safely as possible.

F. Other Grounds for Disqualification and Penalty:

  1. Any Team determined to have broken a rule, as defined in the Official Rules and Regulations or any Team not complying with the Safety Protocol, may receive a time penalty or disqualification, depending on the seriousness of the incident.
  2. Mixed Teams with less than 8 female or 8 male paddlers in a Race Crew will be disqualified and assessed a penalty of 30 seconds for breaking the rules and 2 seconds for each paddler that is missing. These teams will not qualify for Trophies.
  3. Crew members that are 'inebriated' will be disqualified from racing. The On-Water Committee has the sole discretion to deny any racer from entering a boat who they feel has been drinking or using banned substances. Drinking of alcohol and 'inebriated' team members will not be tolerated.
  4. Any alteration to festival equipment, switching positions/teams, standing, splashing, rocking or leaving the boat are not allowed and will result in a disqualification.
  5. Discipline - (As per I.D.B.F. Competition Regulations & Rules of Racing, Part 2,R3.1.3) 'The Chief Race Official shall be responsible for implementing the Disciplinary Code and additionally may disqualify any crew or competitor who behaves improperly or show contempt by bad conduct or speech towards the Race Officials or any other persons, including on-lookers.'
  6. Waivers - all team members must sign event waiver/roster form prior to participating. Any waiver/roster form violation will result in disqualification for example: switching of team members, incomplete team (lack of participants). Absolutely no changes or additions to team waiver/roster form on event day.
  7. No standing in the boat while the boat is on the water. All team members must remain seated at all times.
  8. All Life vests must be fully zipped up and properly buckled when received in Marshaling Area, these life jackets must be kept on until all team members have returned to the marshaling area after their race heat, disobeying this rule will result in a time penalty. Any Life Jackets not supplied by FMG must be Canadian Coast Guard and DOT approved.

G. Disqualifications and Time Penalties:

  1. Any boat deemed disqualified (DSQ) by either the Organizing Committee or the rules, will receive a time of the slowest time for the day - PLUS five seconds.
  2. Disqualified teams will not be considered qualifying time and will DSQ teams for awards.
  3. Time Penalties which are assessed to Teams can range anywhere from 1 - 10 seconds and will be added to their final heat.
  4. Penalized Teams do not qualify for awards.
H. Appeals:
  1. Must be made by the Captain or Manager Only.
  2. All protests must be made to the Dock Marshal
  3. All protests MUST be made within 15 minutes of the conclusion of the race heat in which the penalty was assessed.
  4. The Dock Marshall will investigate the written appeal and discuss appeal with Festival Chairman and Race Starter. Festival Chairman will make the final ruling.
  5. The ruling of the Festival Chairman is final and without appeal.
Each team is required to book three one hour practices during the designated practice period. Teams may qualify for the two practice option by using an FMG steerer or their steerer has steered in an FMG event for the past three consecutive years and all participants attend both practices. It is highly recommended each participant attend all three practices it is a requirement that each paddlers attend at least two practices with each team they participate, the steersperson must attend all three. All rules of participation and safety apply at practices and it is the Team Managers responsibility to make sure all participants fully understand all rules. More details relating to the practice requirement will come with registration confirmation.

***Note: Adjustments to race course, times, race schedule and cancellation of race hears may occur due to a number of circumstances including weather, daylight, water conditions, safety, etc. These adjustments are a part of the event and are at the sole discretion of the Race Officials and are final, without appeal and without refund.


FMG Dragon Boat Awarded Red Cross Safe Boating Award!

Boating Safety Program

On-Water Safety is key to the enjoyment of any dragon boat experience. FMG Dragon Boat prides itself in its impeccable safety record. Never has a boat tipped, an injury been sustained or participants jeopardized. This is due to our commitment to safety at all times. From the mandatory use of PFD's to the participation safety rules that are strictly enforced, no other dragon boat entity enforces safety as does FMG Dragon Boat.

The FMG Dragon Boat on-water safety crew are water rescue professionals with high levels of first responder training. Each year our water rescue team is re-certified to maintain a high level of preparation. When there is a team of dragon boaters on the water it is mandatory that the FMG Dragon Boat safety crew be in the safety boat on the water patrolling. Each team is required prior to entering a dragon boat to undergo a mandatory safety briefing. This briefing is to the point and drives home to each team member their responsibilities for safety while on the water.

FMG Dragon Boat has been congratulated by many on-water authorities for their attention to safety and protection of dragon boat participants. Some of those authorities are:

  • Canadian Coast Guard
  • US Coast Guard
  • Nevada Department of Wildlife
  • Fort Lauderdale Police Water Patrol
  • Ontario Provincial Police
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Canadian Red Cross
  • The Winnipeg Harbour Master

proper insurance coverage

Many organizations producing dragon boat events are not fully or properly insured. This leaves event organizers, boards of directors, club members, sponsors and individuals at great risk if an accident should occur. Every FMG Dragon Boat event regardless of size must carry Participants Liability, Certified Event General Liability and Liquor Liability. Without these three (3) coverage polices a dragon boat event is not properly insured. Providing just General Event Liability does not cover on-water incidents nor adequately address Liquor Liability.

FMG Dragon Boat has obtained coverage in all areas to operate a dragon boat event. This coverage includes the important areas of Participants Liability, Certified General Event Liability and Liquor Liability. FMG Dragon Boat offers this complete insurance package coverage to all its clients, so rest assured!