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On Water Boat Safety

Suspension of Races Due to Wave Activity

Should high winds or other circumstance result in high waves within the breakwater area, then the decision to suspend racing activity will be made by the Race Director in consultation with the Race Management Team (22 Dragons).

Moderate Wave Activity/Paddler Reduction

In the event of moderate wave activity that, in the view of the Race Director and Race Management Team, may substantially increase the likelihood of a capsizing event, interim solution(s) will be to (a) remove drummers from the dragon boats; and/or (b) reduce the number of paddlers per boat to 16.  The decision on whether to implement this interim solution will be made by the Race Director in consultation with the Race Management Team (22 Dragons).  If this modification in the race rules is implemented, the decision will be communicated as follows:

  • Loudspeaker notification
  • DHVT staff and volunteers will visit each team site in the Athletes' Village area
  • Staging area managers, on deck managers and dock managers will check to ascertain that only 16 paddlers board the boat.

Capsize Protocol

All teams will be advised concerning the capsize protocol at their training session. Should a team capsize, the steersperson will implement the capsize protocol. One or two of the safety boats/race marshals will immediately move to the area where the dragon boat has capsized and assist paddlers in the water. Once all paddlers who are in the water have been moved to safety, one of the safety boats will tow the capsized boat back to the dock area where it will be fully bailed out, checked for damage and either returned to service or removed from service.

Festival Water Patrols/On-Water Emergency Response

The US Coast Guard has ultimate authority to police the waters in Lake Champlain.  The local Coast Guard station has agreed to have at least one boat in the water at the race site throughout the day.  The Festival will have at least two race marshal/safety boats in the water during each race.  In addition, a third boat, manned by DHVT personnel, has been assigned to the media for race coverage and photographs will be will be available to help in the event of a water emergency.

Modification of Race Schedule Due to Wave or Storm Activity

Every effort will be made to adhere to the established race schedule. Should a delay occur due to wave or storm activity, and the delay is so lengthy as to render adherence to the original race schedule impossible, then the Race Director, in consultation with the Race Management Team, will modify the schedule.

Should the wave or storm activity occur during the first heat, the recommended modification will be to suspend the first heat and separate the crews into 8 divisons of eight crews each and begin the play-down process. Should the suspension occur during the second heat, then the recommended solution will be to base quarter final qualification for the championship heats on the first heat time.  Should the wave or storm activity occur during the championship finals, the races will be suspended until the wave or storm activity has passed.  If the wave or storm activity is still in active progress when there is only one hour left before projected nightfall, then the championship finals will be either cancelled or postponed to an evening date later in the month.