In The Boat


The crew in a dragon boat works like a complex machine with different parts all working together to move the boat forward, and ideally, as fast as possible.

Along with the paddlers we have the sweep and the drummer, and within the paddlers themselves we have the strokes, the engine room and the back 6.



The primary strokes are on seat one in the boat, they are responsible for setting an appropriate pace for the crew that will allow for the most power to be laid down. The next two seats “lock in” with the front two paddlers and provide a visual cue for the rest of the boat to follow.

Engine Room

The engine room is comprised of the middle eight paddlers, during the middle of the race. Paddlers here are usually heavier, stronger paddlers with the extra space allowing them to reach as far as they can to provide more power.

The Back 6

Paddlers at the back of the boat take on an enormous task, their paddling technique has to be spot on and they need a tremendous amount of power in order to tackle the choppy water created by the front of the boat.

The Drummer

The drummers role is both tactical and ceremonial in dragon boating, the drummer beats the drum to the pace of the lead strokes whilst also relaying information between the sweep, paddlers and lead strokes.

The drummer has a big task in mentally preparing the crew to race, and motivating the crew to “unleash the dragon” when the race starts.

The Sweep

The sweep is responsible for the safety of the crew, along with keeping the boat on course. The job of a sweep is mentally challenging with the requirement to keep track of multiple obstacles, other dragon boats, water currents and wind. The sweep delivers commands to the crew to maneuver the boat in order to line up at the start, as well as transit between the course and the loading area.