How a Crew Works

There are various positions and terms that are used in Dragon Boating – below are some you might find useful.

The Sweep

The Steersperson / Helm, Captain of the boat. The sweep is responsible for the crews’ safety and any commands from the sweep override those from the coach.

Sweep Commands

Paddles Up

– The start position, ready to start your 1st stroke.

– The blade of the paddle should just be touching the water.

– Grip the shaft of the paddle about 3cm above the paddle area. Your inside hand grips the handle on top.

Paddles Flat

– Rest the flat side of your paddle on the surface of the water and the shaft on the gunwale (the side of the boat).

– Extend your blade out away from the boat. This action helps stabilise the boat, reducing a sideways rocking motion.

– Also known as ‘bracing’ the boat. To be used whenever people are changing positions within the boat, when water conditions determine it, whenever the sweep commands.

Paddles Behind / Paddle Back

– This allows the boat to reverse. Place your paddle behind you ready to push the blade forwards in the water (towards the front of the boat) and wait.

– The sweep should then call “Go” so that you all start this forward stroke at the same time. As always, your timing comes from the front – keep looking forward.

– Generally, you need to do this when heading away from the shore, but also at the start line of a race.

Brake The Boat / Stop The Boat or Dig It In

– Push the full blade of your paddle vertically into the water to stop the boat from moving forward or backward.

– Also called Hold Water when the boat is stopped and you do not want to drift forward or backward. Holding water is a common procedure used when at the start line of a race

Paddles Out / Let It Run or Relax

– Stop paddling & pull your paddles out of the water.

The Strokes

– Sometimes called “the pacers”. The paddlers at the front of the boat. These paddlers work together to set the ‘‘stroke rate’ (the pace) of the boat – ie: the speed of the stroke & the return to the start position

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