How Dragon Boating can Save your Rowing Club

A dragon boat racing at the 2008 San Francisco...
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A great article on Dragon Boating as the new fix to falling revenues in rowing clubs! 

During times of financial instability we know that one thought is at the fore-front of all rowing club manager’s minds: how do we make money and keep our club afloat!?  Well we have a very simple solution for you, and it breathes fire.  We’re talking dragon boats.

Dragon What?

Firmly established in the rowing world and growing with popularity, dragon boats are seen far beyond the Hong Kong market.  They’re visually attractive vessels propelled by the power of 22 members.  This makes them a fantastic team sport – far better than doubles sculling if you’re looking to make a few friends.  Additionally, it just takes a few simple calculations to realise that with each boat you can add an additional 20+ members to your club at roughly £300 a pop – imagine how many novices you’d have to sign up to make up those numbers!  Your club can earn £ Thousands by extending its membership offer.  Read on to learn how another club did it.

Due to these high returns, dragon boating will pay for itself and its mechanical storage in as little as a year, which makes this a fairly safe investment for your rowing club.  There are heaps of additional benefits as well such as increased community due to the large numbers of people working together.

Don’t just take our word for it

Below we have an interview with the Secretary of the Queensland Dragon Boat Club – Julie Elliot.  They were recently the first rowing club to install a mechanical dragon boat stacker in their new boat house – and are eagerly awaiting the opening of their re-designed club.

1. What got you into dragon boat racing?

I have always loved water sports and love keeping fit. The first time I watched a dragon boat race I thought it looked like a lot of fun, but a challenge at the same time; Having 22 people in a boat is never easy to get everyone on the same page! So I gave it a go and here I am 8 years later and still loving it!

2. What do you love about dragon boating?

The camaraderie and of course when we race the thrill of 20 people all paddling in sync, not to mention the drummer and sweep willing us to win!

3. As the secretary of a dragon boat club, what do you see as the benefit of offering dragon boats over (or along with) rowing and sculling?  

Of course there are a number of benefits, Dragon Boats just by its nature attracts large numbers, so immediately you feel part of a large family.

Read the full article at Space Saver Rowing Systems

Buy a mechanical dragon boat stacker

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5 thoughts on “How Dragon Boating can Save your Rowing Club

  1. Tom Carter says:

    Love dragonboating! As someone who trains round the season and then has a post henley “off season” July-August time its nice to have a go at different sports to keep fit, dragonboating being one of them.

    For the last two years Ross Rowing Club has offered a Dragon Boating competition on the saturday of the August Bank holiday so its great fun to go along and have a fun days racing, also a good money earner for the club!

  2. Jonny Cantwell says:

    My rowing club has a very long tradition with dragonboating – as you might expect since we are in Hong Kong!
    Dragonboating is a great way to increase membership and to gain income from corporate days and the like.

    The sport is very social and very accessible. 20 folks at once with little skill required to get the basics. A crew can be moving about and having fun in an hour. Even if there is one person who just doesn’t get it, no one will really notice or care that they are ‘tea-bagging’ up the back of the boat. Try that with a beginner eight!

    The equipment is – in comparison to rowing – cheap, robust and easy to handle. None of that “we can’t send novices out in the new Empacher” worry!

    The downside? It is slow, brutal and has a great injury risk, not to mention it might upset the more traditional rowers. If you have good training methods (gym circuits to build strength to prevent injury, regular swapping of paddling side) then it can be safe and fun. Managing the training season or times so as not to interfere or annoy the traditional rowers will keep everyone happy.

    Corporate days are easy. It is a great team building exercise and is very accessible even for the unskilled and unfit.

    The Rowing Section of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club also manages outrigger canoes, which is also a compatible discipline with dragonboating, but is a step up in terms of equipment, skill and committment.

    • Douglas Lumsden says:

      HI Jonny

      Good to know you’ve got a Dragon boat program at your club. I’ve been meaning to track you down to see if this prooduct would work for your club and in Hong Kong in general. At least in Hong Kong it’s great to be splashed in water from your other paddlers.

      Hear from you soon.

  3. Jock Wishart says:

    I was one of the forerunners in this area founding the Kingston Royals DBC back in 1989. A combinationof KRC and Royal Canoe Club. It is now a club in its own right with nearly 80 members based at Teddington. Perfect for thos slightly older oars people who want to be competitive at sport but do not quite havr tghe time for the 8 – 10 sessions a week.
    Jock

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