Team Captain Guide

This is your guide to leading your team on and off the water. You get the chance to bond with your team while competing for the win! Event day, Saturday, August 20, 2022, at the Gadsden Riverwalk Park (behind Chili’s) on Albert Rains Blvd. will feature exhilarating, competitive, and fun dragon boat racing. Decorate your tent, show off your cool team T-shirts – enjoy the experience!

The Team

  • You may have a maximum of 24 team members. The minimum age for participation is 15.
  • 20 paddlers and 1 drummer (ONLY 3 alternates can be added to your team). The steerer will be provided by race management. You may have a minimum of 16 paddlers to participate on race day. Your team may consist of fellow employees, friends and family. You don’t need experienced team members. Dragon Boat paddling is easy to learn; the techniques and logistical information you need are taught during practice.
  • Each team must race with a minimum of eight (8) female paddlers. Your team will receive a time penalty of three (3) seconds for every female your team is short. The only exception to this rule – leave the seat empty for every female required.
  • The drummer must weigh no more than 160 pounds. For safety reasons, there is a weight limit for drummers. Your drummer receives instruction in practice to keep the beat of the stroke. It is also ideal for this person to yell loudly and have rhythm. Drummer can only use provided drumsticks and their voices to direct team members.

Each team receives

  • Team Tent space (20’ x 20’) in Athlete’s Village (bring a 10’x10’ pop-up, coolers welcome)
  • Use of dragon boats, life jackets/PFD, paddles, and drum
  • Life jacket/PFD (team members may use their own Coast Guard approved PFD)
  • One 60-minute on-water scheduled practice prior to race day (contact office to schedule your practice)
  • Sponsoring company/team name posted on the and other materials and media.


Practices are vital to the Dragon Boat experience. Practice time will help your team become familiar with the boat and learn the technique, as well as master timing. The more team members showing for practice, the better your team performs on race day.

Each team gets to practice at the Gadsden Riverwalk Park (behind Chili’s) with trained coaches the week leading up to race day. The deadline to register your practice schedule request is Friday, July 31, 2020. Keep in mind – requests will be filled on a first come, first served basis upon payment in full.

Team Captain’s Meeting

Please choose one – Tuesday, August 4, 2020 or Thursday, August 6, 2020 – both will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Habitat office – 3644 Rainbow Dr., Rainbow City, just north of the RBC Library on the left. This meeting is required for team captains or a representative of your choosing. Important safety information will be discussed, your teams’ race schedule will be distributed (if available at that time), along with your unloading passes for two cars to be granted short-term close access to the Athletes Village to drop off items such as your tent – chairs, tables, decorations, etc.

*Team roster and waivers should be turned in by the Team Captain’s meeting.

What to wear for practice and race day

  • You WILL get wet. Wear clothing you do not mind getting wet.
  • Comfortable, quick drying shorts and dri-fit shirts are most convenient (cotton tends to stick to your skin).
  • Sport sandals, or water shoes are recommended such as Tevas, Crocs, etc. (Tennis shoes are too heavy).
  • You may wear your own U.S. coast Guard approved life vest (or use those provided at practices and on race day).
  • Hat or visor to keep the sun out of your eyes.
  • Sunscreen/ sunglasses
  • In case of rain, bring rain gear
  • Consider bringing a towel and extra change of clothes

What to Bring

  • Bring team tent for shade at the festival (10’x10’ pop-up canopy). NO large tents or stakes in the ground.
  • Each team will have tent space (20’ x 20’) labeled with your team name in the Athletes’ Village.
  • We will provide some water and other beverages, but you should bring extra to insure that your team has plenty of water. Healthy snacks would be a good idea, too. Food & cold drinks will also be available at concession stands.
  • Chairs, tables, decorations, snacks, sunscreen, hat, garbage bag for your tent area, towels, comfortable shoes, change of clothes if you do not want to be wet all day.

Race Day

  • Report to your Team Tent an hour (8:00 a.m.) before the race. This will allow you enough time to unload your belongings, park and sign in at the registration table to receive your wrist band.
  • Opening Ceremony – 8:45 a.m.
  • The first heat is at 9:00 a.m. so your team should be registered at least one (1) hour prior to their first race.
  • Marshaling officials and volunteers will instruct your team to line up and alert you when it’s time to load boat.
  • Parking passes required for the area by old Fish Market & for 5-min. drop off; given out at Captains’ meeting.
  • Free parking at the Boardwalk area (first come basis)
  • Free parking behind Collier-Butler and at Moragne Park, free shuttles from Park & Convention Hall.
  • Judges will decide the winners for Best Drummer Costume, Best Team Spirit, Best Decorated Tent, Best T-Shirts

Race Format –2 Race Divisions (Competitive & Recreational)

  • Each team races twice (a 3rd time if you’re in the finals).
  • Round 1 is pre-arranged on the schedule.
  • After Round 1, teams are seeded by time into their race division of Competitive or Recreational
  • Teams will race fastest to slowest in Round 2.
  • After Round 2, times from both races are averaged to determine the Final Round.
  • The Final Round of the Competitive Division is comprised of the 4 fastest teams. (Could vary depending on total entries.)
  • The Final Round of the Recreational Division is comprised of the 4 fastest teams. (Could vary depending on total entries.)
  • Winners are determined by the race time in the Final Round only.
  • Awards of Gold, Silver, and Bronze paddles will be presented to winners in both divisions along with individual medals.


All signed waivers should be turned in at the Captain’s Meeting. There is no other participant registration process necessary. A team member may fill out a waiver at their practice if necessary.

What Not to bring

  • Alcohol. It would severely dehydrate you and make paddling dangerous. Hydration is very important. Read more about it on Please learn more in the rules and regulations.
  • Sound Devices including radios, electronic signaling devices, bullhorns, air horns, whistles, generators with a decibel rating over 65dBA and other noisemaking devices are prohibited.

Gadsden-Etowah Habitat for Humanity

Phone: 256-543-1898

3722 Bland Street, RBC 35906 Facebook: habitatdrag