As is the case with the Mixed and Women's division races, every dragon boat must have a caller and tiller. All callers and tillers must be at least 14 years of age, but need not meet age, sex, or other requirements of these divisions.
At their discretion, the Race Directors may penalize, dismiss or disqualify any team or individual at any time for:
If equipment is lost or damaged through the willful, reckless or grossly negligent actions of a person or team, the Race Directors may disqualify the offending person or team from the competition. On recommendation of the Race Directors, a fine or the replacement cost of the lost or damaged equipment may be assessed against the offending person or team.
Unsportsmanlike conduct or behavior includes, but is not limited to, failure to heed an instruction from a Race Official or Volunteer; delaying the start of a race without just cause; racing non-rostered paddlers; disregard for the DragonSports principles of fairness or safety; use of obscene language or gestures; or abusive behavior toward any Race Official, volunteer, competitor, or spectator. The Team Captain is responsible for the conduct and behavior of his or her team. At the discretion of the Race Directors, unsportsmanlike conduct or behavior by a team or a rostered team member may result in a time penalty, disqualification from a heat, or disqualification from the races.
Race Officials include: Race Director, Starter, Course Marshal, Dock Marshal, Chief Marshal, Secretary, and Finish Line Judges.
After leaving the dock, dragon boats should proceed without delay toward the start line without interfering with any ongoing race. Dragon boats should turn around and align themselves with their assigned lane well behind the start line; they will later be instructed to pull forward. The Starter will communicate only with the callers and tillers. If any team is not ready to start, that caller must hold his or her hand clearly in the air. The following commands will be given:
The Starter, in consultation with the Course Marshal, is empowered to implement a dead slow running start should wind or current conditions warrant; this would involve the dragon boats creeping ahead while all aligned.
Upon hearing the starting horn, each team shall proceed to the finish line directly along the middle of its racing lane, without crossing out of its racing lane, without encroaching on the side of its racing lane, and without riding the wake of another dragon boat. After a fair start, the Course Marshal will follow the dragon boats down the course in a chase boat, and if necessary and where possible, direct tillers to maintain the middle of their lanes. Chase boats will be instructed to avoid following the dragon boats so closely that they cause wakes that interfere with the race.
Only the drum and drum sticks provided or team members’ voices may be used to signal the stroke rate. Noise making devices (such as horns/whistles) as well as voice magnification systems are prohibited. The Course Marshal may assess penalties for failing to abide by this rule.
All paddlers must remain seated for the duration of the race. Callers may sit or stand as they desire (see rules below regarding “man overboard”).
If a dragon boat appears to be losing directional control, is crossing out of its lane, is encroaching on the side of its lane, or is riding the wake of another dragon boat, the Course Marshal, in the Course Marshal’s discretion, may either stop that dragon boat, or any or all other dragon boats, so as to avoid possible collisions. If the progress of a dragon boat is affected by another dragon boat, the Course Marshal may halt the race and issue a re-start or assess a time penalty against the offending team. A time bonus may also be awarded to the impeded boat. In the case of a collision, the team responsible for the collision will be penalized by the Course Marshal and, if the collision had any material effect on the race outcome, may order a re-race before the next round of the competition with the penalty being carried forward.
After each race, the Course Marshal may raise a flag of one of three colors. A white flag (or no flag) indicates that the race was good. A red flag indicates that a penalty that may result in time penalties has been reporterd. A black flag indicates that a penalty that may result in disqualification has reported.
Upon completion of their race, the dragon boats must be brought back to the dock without delay. Each team must bail excess water out of the dragon boat out as they approach the dock; upon arrival at the dock, each dragon boat must be substantially free of water and be ready for the next race. Please remove all seat pads, foot blocks, and any extra paddles. Teams should approach the docks at a dead slow pace so as to avoid collision damage.
In the event of a dragon boat swamping or capsizing, the following shall apply:
Crews will be instructed to hold behind the start line and will be started using staggered starts of approximately fifteen seconds apart.
The Starter will communicate only with the callers and tillers. The following starting sequence will be given:
If during the course of the race a boat impedes or collides with another boat, the Course Marshal shall apportion blame. The Course Marshal may assess a time penalty or disqualify a boat that causes a collision. If the Course Marshal decides that a boat has impeded the forward motion of another boat, or that the crew in the impeded boat had to, by necessity, stop paddling, a time penalty may be assessed against the impeding crew. A time bonus may also be awarded to the impeded boat.
To assist the Course Marshal in implementing these rules, Course Officials (both waterborne and land-based) will be positioned around the Race Course for observation and supervision. A boat with a Course Official will be stationed at each Turning Point to observe the crews negotiating the turns.