Filling the Boat

Putting together your own dragon boat team is a rewarding experience.

Once you get a group of like-minded people together, you will need to assign roles (team captain, pledge captain, etc.), create a team name. Putting together a dragon boat team and coming up with a name can allow you express your creativity. Have fun with it!

A dragon boat team is made up of 20 paddlers seated in pairs, a drummer or ‘caller’, and a steersperson. A team can be made up of anybody over the age of 12. All teams at the DBI Festival will be competing as mixed teams and therefore must have a minimum of 8 women paddlers.


DBI 2012 Peter Waiser1


Sitting on a wooden seat at the bow (front of the boat), the drummer uses a drumbeat to follow the paddling pace set by the steer and front paddlers. The drummer has been called ‘the heartbeat of the dragon’.

inspiring drummer


Team members paddle in time and stroke with other crew members and the beat set by the drummer.

For more some interesting insight into how paddlers are best placed in the boat, check out this article and the follow up.

dragon boat steers person


The steersperson stands at the stern (back) of the boat and uses a long oar to steer and keep the boat in the centre of the lane. S/he is in charge of the boat while it is on the water and is responsible for the decision-making and safety of the team during the race. An experienced steersperson will be provided for each team once they arrive in Israel.

Other Roles

Every dragon boat team registering with the festival has three administrative roles to fill. Assigning these roles to different people will help with the success of your team. These people will be designated on your roster.

Team Organizer

Responsible for registering the team and communicating with the festival office and team captain, as required.

Team Captain

Responsible for submitting the roster in the administration area of the registration page, ensuring the team has the required number of members, including a minimum of 8 women paddlers.

The captain is also responsible for the team as a whole, conveying all necessary information to the team (practice times, race times, conduct of the team, attend team captain’s meeting, explain rules) and ensuring the team’s conduct is appropriate and respectful.

Pledge Captain

Each team participating in the festival’s Pledge Challenge should assign a Pledge Captain. The Pledge Captain is responsible for distributing pledge kits to team members and for monitoring members’ progress to encourage them to collect the pledges. It is recommended that the Pledge Captain turn in the money collected by the team, however, that responsibility can be left up to the individual paddlers.

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