Terms and conditions

ESCA Paddle for CancerSupport TERMS & CONDITIONS     Download as PDF

  1. Definitions

Festival” means the ESCA Paddle for CancerSupport Dragon Boat Festival.

Festival Organisers” means the officials who control preparation and running of each Festival.

Festival Supporters” means any sponsors, donors, partners or others who directly or indirectly assist in organising and running the Festival.

Rules and Regulations” means the information set out in this document as well as any other regulations set by the Festival

Team” means the persons listed in the waiver

Team Captain” means the person designated as such on the team entry document(s)

Team List” means the list of names of team members

Waiver” is the form signed to show agreement to the Terms & Conditions

  1. Team registration

2.1 The Festival Organisers will post information for prospective and registered teams on the event website.  Competitors should visit the website for team registration information and preparation information for race day.

2.2 The names of all team members must be registered on a Team List and no individual is permitted to be listed in more than one team to participate in each year’s festival.

2.3 For the Dragon Boat event, a minimum of 17 to a maximum of 20 names may be on a Team List.  This shall include a nominated Team Captain. The final Team List must be submitted by each Team Captain to the Festival Organisers by the deadline specified in the Calendar of Events.

  1. Team categories

3.1 Mixed Corporate and Mixed Open:  Team members must be 15 years of age or older on the first day of race weekend. There must be at least 4 female paddlers.

3.2 All Female Corporate and All Female Open:  Crew members must be all female (including the drummer) and be 15 years of age or older on the first day of race weekend.

3.3 The Drummer in the Mixed categories can be either male or female.

  1. Conditions of entry

4.1 All participants must:

(a) Abide by the Rules and Regulations as a condition of their participation in the event;

(b) Ensure that they are aware of the risks associated with participation in dragon boat racing;

(c) Carry personal accident insurance; and

(d) Sign a Waiver to indicate that they have read and accepted these rules and regulations and thus waive any right they may have to any cause of action against the Festival, including any or all of the sponsors, organisers and officials for (i) injury to person(s), (ii) loss/damage to personal property and (iii) any costs incurred in the event of cancellation of the races or the Festival.

  1. Team composition

5.1 A Team consists of 16 paddlers maximum and a drummer.  At least four of the paddlers in Mixed Open/Corporate categories must be female.

5.2 The Steersperson is supplied by the Festival.

5.3 The paddlers in each boat are to be drawn from the Team List, with up to 3 additional names as reserves or substitutes. An additional 6 paddlers are allowed if the Team is also competing in the Tug of War.

5.4 Each Team Captain shall be responsible for:

(a) Team conduct in accordance with the Rules and Regulations;

(b) Communication with, and distribution of race and Festival information to, Team Members;

(c) Processing and submitting all required team forms/information, waiver forms, entry fees, donations, etc;

(d) Liaising with the Festival officials on behalf of his/her Team;

(e) Attending all designated meetings; and

(f) Taking charge of his/her Team during an accident or mishap.

  1. Race schedule

6.1 The race schedule will be organised into three different divisions: Mixed Corporate, Mixed Open and All Female (including All Female Corporate and All Female Open).

6.2 In the initial round Teams will be randomly assigned into matched boats and race lanes.  In the second and third rounds crews may be allocated a different boat and lane to ensure equal opportunity of conditions amongst teams entered.

  1. Racing equipment and clothing

7.1 Boats, paddles, drums and life jackets are provided by the Festival.  Life jackets must be worn by all team members while in the boat.

7.2 Life jackets and paddles must be returned after each race to the boat marshals.

7.3 Only the provided drum and drum sticks shall be used to signal the stroke rate. Whistles, rattles, air horns, or any other noise-making devices are not allowed.

7.4 All paddlers must wear the wristbands provided to demonstrate that they have registered and received pre-race training.

7.5 Participants should wear appropriate clothing for water sports, which could include thermals, polypro, shorts or wetsuits.  Jeans and long trousers are not allowed.  Appropriate footwear such as waterproof sandals or old trainers should be worn.  Warm and waterproof clothing is advised for the time spent between races in case of inclement weather.

  1. Watercourse description

8.1 The race distance is approximately 350 meters.

8.2 Race lanes: There will be no markings between each race lane. Each lane has a designated number, with lane 1 closest to the Festival side of the lake. Steerspersons will steer a straight course towards the finish line.

8.3 Start line: A start line is set up by a GPS sighting between the two shores of the lake.

8.4 Finish line: Similar to the description above for the start line.

9.5 Note that buoys and any other markers on the watercourse serve only as guides and approximate indicators of the true line as they are subject to drift due to the current and wind.

8.6 Entrance/gate: The area immediately before the start line which the dragonboats must approach slowly to enable accurate alignment of the boats at the start.

8.7 Run-out: The area immediately after the finish line in which the dragonboats come to a halt and turn after crossing the finish line.

8.8 Pontoon approach area: The water immediately surrounding the pontoons.

8.9 Warm-up area: The area of water outside the race course between the pontoons and entrance/gate, which provides the opportunity to practice starts and warm up.

  1. Communication with Teams

9.1 The Race Organisers may call meetings of Team Captains with any Festival officials to alter the schedule, emphasize procedures, advise of any programme/race adjustments or resolve any last minute concerns.  Each such meeting is known as a “Captains’ Briefing”.

9.2 Team Captains should keep abreast of any changes to the race arrangements and be aware of when and where his/her team is expected to report to race.  They should also be alert for any Captains’ Briefings to which they may be called.

  1. Race preparation

10.1 A Race Schedule will be determined in advance and Team Captains will be notified.

10.2 Team Captains should ensure that the entire team arrives on site at least one hour before their scheduled time to race.  Prior to reporting to race, teams should adjust clothing/uniforms, do warm up exercises and stretching, review race strategy, etc. Plan for plenty of time to move around the site since it will be congested.

10.3 Teams must report to the Boat Marshalls 30 minutes ahead of their scheduled race time in order to get ready to embark.

10.4 Personal belongings are not to be taken into the boat marshalling area.

10.5 Once reported in, crews will be directed to fit life jackets and take paddles.  Each participant should select the correct size life jacket and wear it in the correct manner.

10.6 Crews then proceed to their final assembly area in accordance with their designated race lane number where they should line up according to their pre-planned order of seating in the boat.  Pre-race training will be given at this point.

10.7 When instructed, crews are to proceed on to the pontoon in order, where they will be directed to the correct boat.

10.8 The Boat Marshals will ensure that each crew is correctly identified and embarks on to the correct boat bearing the correct lane number.

10.9 All paddlers must remain seated while the boat is away from the pontoon. Kneeling or standing is not permitted.

10.10 Crew members should take note of the member seated next to them as this will be their “buddy” in the event of an accident on the water.  The pairs closest to the drummer and Steersperson should include them in their “buddies”, forming trios instead of pairs.

10.11 Crew members must obey the instructions of the Steersperson once in the boat and will head to the race start area, doing practice starts and warm-ups en route if time permits.

10.12 It may be necessary for boats arriving early at the start to wait for the remaining boats in the race to arrive before proceeding to the entrance/gate area.

  1. Race start procedure

11.1 The Starters will tell boats when to proceed to the start line and take up positions.  At no time shall the nose of any dragonboat cross move across the start line.

11.2 When approaching the start line it is important that crews adjust their paddling so that the forward boat speed is kept to a minimum.

11.3 It is the responsibility of the steersperson to ensure that the boat is properly positioned in the lane at the start of the race and he/she will give instructions to the crew to achieve this.

11.4 The Starters will address individual boats to either move forwards, backwards or stand still in order to line up the dragon heads of all boats with the start line.

11.5 The Starters will call to all boats “Are you ready?, “Attention” and then “Go”.  At the “Attention” command the paddles go in the water to ensure the boat gets off to a straight start, but only on the command “Go” should paddlers start to take the first stroke.

  1. Racing and post-race conduct

12.1 The correct course for each boat is a straight line from its starting position to the finish.

12.2 Each boat must remain in its correct lane, keep clear of and not interfere with the other boats in the race, and generally keep their distance from boats in the adjacent lanes,

12.3 The Drummer is encouraged to beat the drum constantly from the start of the race through to the finish. Drumming is an essential part of dragonboat racing to help the crew members to keep in time.

12.4 Each boat must finish in its assigned lane, within the defined boundaries of the course, with the crew fully intact. The boat is deemed to have completed the race only when the entire boat has crossed the finish line, with the same all members it started with on board. The crew members must remain aboard until the boat has returned to the pontoon.

12.5 Each boat’s finish time will be taken at the instant that the number panel by the boat’s dragon figurehead crosses the finish line and a visual recording will be taken to provide an official record of the order of finish of each race.

12.6 Upon completion of each race, crews must remain in their boats, and the boats must be brought back to the pontoons without delay.

12.7 Returning crews may have to wait their turn to secure a place to berth at the pontoon and should take up a holding position where directed by the Boat Marshals and steerspersons.

12.8 Crews will be directed to a berth by a Boat Marshal and must disembark in an orderly manner.  All paddles and life jackets are to be returned promptly to the designated area.

12.9 The times and official order of finishing will be declared for all boats crossing the finish line in accordance with the Rules and Regulations.

  1. Safety considerations

13.1 Each team member is responsible for his or her own safety at all times while engaging in activity relating to practising and racing in dragonboats.

13.2 All Team Members, including the Steersperson and Drummer, should ensure that no one participates in dragonboating if their ability could be in any way impaired due to the use of alcohol, drugs or for any other reason.

13.3 Festival officials may refuse to allow any person to race who is deemed unfit to paddle.

13.4 Each Team Member should:

(a) be suitably dressed for the weather, water and race conditions and not wear anything (such as personal accessories or jewellery) which may impede their ability to escape from a capsized boat or swim unaided once in the water;

(b) ensure that his/her life jacket is securely fastened; and

(c) be able to swim unaided at least 50 meters while wearing a life jacket and in wet competition clothes.

13.5 Team Members should not lift their paddles above the head as a victory salute since the boat will become unstable.

13.6 Capsizing and collisions – should a boat capsize, Team Members must:

(a) Remain with their boat and employ the “Buddy System”; each person should check for their buddy/buddies and check that life jackets are properly fastened;

(b) Not attempt to swim to shore but await rescue and take a head count, repeating the same every 30 seconds until all members are recovered and accounted for;

(c) Minimize body heat loss by holding still and huddling close together;

(d) Reassure any panicking crew members; and

(e) Provide weak swimmers with additional buoyancy such as a handful of paddles.

Other boats must stay clear of the accident area and allow motorized rescue and recovery craft room to manoeuvre.  Other crews must not take any actions which could endanger their boat or crew members or which would result in their also capsizing and complicating the accident situation.

  1. Publicity

14.1 Festival Supporters may be publicly acknowledged on the Festival website and in any other published material.

14.2 An organization submitting a Team shall limit its publicity at the Festival to:

(a) clothing such as team uniforms, hats, head bands, pins, etc; and

(b) one freestanding team flag or banner not exceeding one square metre in area

  1. General

15.1 The Festival will take place regardless of the weather.  However, in the event of dangerous weather conditions, the Festival organisers reserve the right to change race order and/or cancel races to ensure the safety and well-being of participants and volunteers/workers.  Registration fees are not refunded in the event of cancellation.

15.2 The Festival, its staff and volunteers will not be responsible for lost or stolen articles left in any area of the site or in a boat.

15.3 The Festival Organisers reserve the right to amend the Rules and Regulations at their discretion and without notice.


NOTE: due to GDPR, the following permission to use photos and videos taken of teams on the day must now be agreed to separately, by either the team captain who agrees for the entire team, or each individual team member. 

The Festival reserves all rights to advertising, sponsorship, commercial representation and participants agree to the use of photographs and/or videos of the event or participants for use on the ESCA CancerSupport websites and social media, in the newsletters, on promotional materials such as posters and flyers and in local newspapers/magazines.