What is a Dragon Boat? - All You Need to Know about Dragon Boating

What is a Dragon Boat?

The dragon boat is a watercraft that is shaped and decorated as a Chinese Dragon and rowed by people to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival.
 Read more about Dragon Boat Racing

What does a Dragon Boat look like?

Dragon Boat Shape: long and narrow with flat bottom and rolling prow and stern
 How long is a dragon boat: 20 meters (65 feet)
 How heavy is a dragon boat: about 1-2 tons

The dragon boat decorations are complex and beautiful. The prow is made of a single block of teak wood and carved as a dragon head, and the stern is like dragon’s tail, while the body is painted with dragon’s scales. The dragon prow is normally painted red and assembled to the body only before the dragon boat race.

Mostly, there are two kinds of dragon boat: the boat only for racing and the boat modified from a regular ship. After the Dragon Boat Festival, the modified one will work as a fishing ship, a cruise ship or a transportation tool as before.

Dragon Boat History

Several versions about the dragon boat history are spread. The most widely spread one is related to a famous poet and politician, Qu Yuan (476 BC - 221 BC) in the Warring States Period. In 278 BC, on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, Qu Yuan, whose political views were not adopted, drown himself in the Miluo River. People was deeply moved by him so that they rowed boats to save him but failed. Since then, dragon boat race has become a folk activity to commemorate Qu Yuan.
In 1970s, dragon boat rowing gradually evolved from a folk custom to a professional water sport. In 1976, the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Invitational Race was held. Since then, the dragon boat race became a modern sports event, and spread to more than 30 countries around the world. In 1980, the dragon boat race was listed into the state sports competition programs of China.

How to Row a Dragon Boat

Mostly, there are 22 members in a standard racing dragon boat, a steersman, a drummer, and 20 sailors. Sailors sit on both sides of the boat, 10 in each side to keep balance and row forward with the dragon boat paddle. The steersman in the back guides the direction. The drummer in the front beats the drum to encourage sailors and control the movement and frequency of the sailors’ paddling. The drummer is the soul of a dragon boat team in that he guides the rowers to paddle at a unified pace.

The Dragon Boat racing is popular around the world.

Dragon Boat Races are held throughout China every year in many cities such as Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.  Read more about Top 12 Events of Dragon Boat Racing in China

Apart from China, nearly 90 countries and regions in the world have launched dragon boat sports, such as Japan, Vietnam and the United Kingdom. In the United States, Dragon boat rowing also develops rapidly as a water sports entertainment. In Boston, the dragon boat race is held every year.  Read more about Dragon Boat Festival Celebration around the World

- Last updated on Jun. 04, 2019 -
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