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Event Background

UK Chinese Dragon Boat Festival (CDBF) is one of the most high profile events organised by the Xinhua Chinese Association (XCA). With supports from local councils, communities and organisations, and Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Manchester, the Festival has been a fast growing event including amateur team dragon boat racing, diversity of culture show and presentations, and taste of authentic food since it was first held in June 2012 at MediaCityUK, Salford, Great Manchester. Especially the dragon boat racing is one of the most exciting and inclusive water sports that people can take part in. Most importantly, UCDBF is a great contribution to enriching the cultural and sports life in UK, with promotion to the multicultural and inclusive society, as well as Anglo-China friendship.

This year 2024, XCA is to work together with Salford City Council and the British Dragon Boat Racing Association (BDA) to make the Event an even bigger and sustainable platform contributing to local community and the multicultural inclusive society.

About the Dragon Boat Race

  • Dragon Boat race is both a fun and a highly effective way to encourage team building across organisations and communities. It is also to celebrate the important historical Duan Wu Festival (on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month of Chinese calendar, Monday 10th June this year.

  • No previous experience is necessary

  • Both men and women can compete on equal footing.

  • Each boat will have a boat instructor assigned by the organisers who steers the boat.

  • Each boat will hold a maximum of eleven team members (ten paddlers and a drummer – there must be a drummer). It is highly suggested to have some crew members on reserve.

  • Your single best race time over two to three rounds (weather permitting) is then used to qualify the fastest teams into the final round where 6 teams compete together in the finals.

Safety Concerns

  • The organiser’s instructors will provide a safety brief for each team prior to their first race as well as buoyancy aids for everyone.

  • The organiser’s will provide an instructor who is at the helm of the dragon boat and ensures the safety of all crews whilst on the water.

  • A safety boat will be on stand-by whilst the dragon boats are on the water; and the emergency service will be available.

If you need more information about the festival itself, please contact the CDBF Event Coordinator Lucky Deng:


Although Dragon Boating is not dangerous, safety is something the festival organiser takes very seriously. So everyone’s agreement and attention to the terms and conditions below is required from all team members before you will be allowed to compete on the water.

Crew Numbers

Crews may register up to 11 people in their team (not including the members on reserve). In the opinion of the helm, where the weight of the crews or conditions on the day makes safe boat handling a problem, the boat’s helm has the absolute authority to require the crew to reduce the number of paddlers or swap the paddlers . No refunds or reductions will be offered for crews competing or entering with less than the prescribed number.


Every team must have a drummer for each race.

Event Safety – Swimming

All crew members must be declared confident and competent in deep water and capable of swimming 50 metres with the aid of an approved personal flotation device (buoyancy aid). Such buoyancy aids will be provided by the event’s organisers for competitors’ use whilst on the water.


Personal Items

It would the individuals’ responsibility for personal items are brought on site and the event organisers assume no responsibility for stolen or damaged belongings.


In circumstances where any team member(s) are, in the opinion of any official from the organisers, deliberately trying to capsize the boat or behaving in such a way that could result in either damage to the boats or a danger to the crew, then those officials have the authority to disqualify the team member(s) from further participation in the day. Where such person(s) are disqualified but refuse to leave the crew, it is the responsibility of the Team Captain to remove the disqualified person(s). If the disqualified person(s) still refuses to leave, then the whole team will be disqualified from further participation in the day. No refund will be due to any person / team disqualified.

Special Needs

Where any team member(s) is either disabled or ‘having special needs’, then for safety reasons they must inform the boat’s helm prior to each race. Persons such identified to the helm will then be given a ‘day-glo’ jacket which must be worn over the buoyancy aid whilst in the boat and must be handed back to the boat’s helm or event marshal when the crew member(s) disembark the boat.

Previous Experience

No previous experience of Dragon Boat Racing is necessary in order to compete and all crews compete at their own risk.

Safety Brief

All team members are required to partake in the team safety brief before the start of their first race (the specific time slot together with racing schedule will be given before the event day). The safety brief will cover:

  • How to hold the paddle correctly

  • The various commands you will hear from the Helm and what each one means

  • How to move the boat forward and how to stop the boat

  • How to stop the boat capsizing

  • The “Buddy Buddy” system and what to do in the event of a capsize.

Minimum Age

In the interests of safety, a minimum age of sixteen years old is set for competitors.


Once the application is confirmed. The entry fee is non-refundable.

Festival Cancellation 

In the unlikely event that any emergency situation arose, which posed a risk to the health and safety of teams and audiences, the Event would be cancelled. Teams would be able to transfer the registration to the next event and details of the next steps would be discussed.

Award Ceremony 

During the award ceremony the winning team will be presented with a trophy and event prize, and medals will be given for gold, silver and bronze. This would make a great photo opportunity for the newsletter /company website.


CREW CONTRACT & WAIVER: In signing this ‘Form’ the team captain / manager of the crew here agrees on behalf of the team to the conditions of entry as listed in the promoter’s contract. Notwithstanding any of these conditions, the crew’s statutory rights are not affected.

The crew certifies that:

  1. All crew members are confident in water, and can swim for a minimum distance of 50 metres whilst wearing a personal flotation device (buoyancy aid supplied by the ‘Company’).

  2. Crew members with special needs have signed a separate waiver, and have satisfied the promoter this has been done.

  3. Those who are unable to sit unaided in the boat, are capable of communicating with and obeying instructions given by the event’s representatives both on and off the water and are confident in water whilst wearing a personal flotation device. There is no absolute requirement for such people to be able to swim 50 metres. In all cases a person with disabilities must be escorted by an able bodied helper (buddy) who will be briefed as to their duties whilst on the water. In the event no buddy can be organised from within the team, an additional charge may be levied for the supply of a trained member of the event team to act as a personal buddy.

  4. The crew accepts that in the interests of safety, the Event organiser has the absolute right to remove a whole crew or individuals within that crew from a race or races, if he/she or they are deemed to be unfit to race, or if weather conditions or other safety factors affecting the water conditions warrant such action.

  5. The crew undertakes to abide by the race rules as may be periodically amended.

  6. DECLARATION OF FITNESS TO COMPETE - Crew members are required to declare to the helm on the day if they are a weak swimmer, non-swimmer, or have a medical condition that might affect their safety or performance on the water. Such conditions might include but are not limited to:

  • They suffer from chest pains or shortness of breath​

  • They have been told by their Doctor that they have heart trouble

  • They have been told that their blood pressure is too high or too low

  • They have fainting or dizzy spells

  • They have undergone a recent operation

  • They suffer from bone or joint problems i.e. arthritis, spinal injury etc.

  • There is any other reason why they should not participate in an exercise programme, which in the case of Dragon Boat Racing should not exceed 2 minutes of active aerobic exercise per race.

This list is not exhaustive. If you are in any doubt about your fitness to compete, you must ask the event organiser prior to undertaking the training and race programme.


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