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Dragon Boat Challenge

A Photo Album
of Past Dragon Boat Races

The City of Niles will again participate in the Dragon Boat Races in Riverfront Park during Riverfest.

The City of Niles has sponsored a team for the Dragon Boat Challenge since the inception of the race many years prior. The Niles Norsemen are comprised of city employees, their family members and friends. Coordination of the City’s team is done through the office of the City Administrator.

The Niles Norsemen will have a training session prior to the Dragon Boat Challenge.  At that time boat positions are assigned by the team captains or the team coordinators Trisha Knapp and Pam VanLue.  Minor children of employees are allowed on the team if they are at least 14 years of age and have the permission of their parents.  All team members will sign a Waiver of Liability for each year that they participate.  Team T-Shirts will be distributed at the boat dock prior to the start of the first race. The team is made up of 18 paddlers, a drummer, a flag catcher and 5 alternate paddlers.

For more information or to sign up for this winning team, please contact Pam VanLue at 683-4700 x 215 or Trisha Knapp at x 224.  When you sign up, be sure to remember to give your shirt size.  Come out and enjoy the dragon boat races with us!


Race Schedule TBA.

This Year's "Niles Norsemen" Back To Top

You Your Spouse
Your Friend Your Other Friend
Your Son Your Daughter
Your Neighbor Your Co Worker

Rules of Competition

Race Committee
The top management of the competition shall be in the hands of a Race committee, which shall consist of

  • Chairman

  • Race Director

  • Assistant Director(s)

The Race Committee shall:

  1. Hear any protest that may be made and settle any disputes that may arise.

  2. Decide matters concerning disqualification in cases where the regulations have been broken during the competition.  The decision of the Committee shall be based on the ADBA Dragon boat rules.

The Race Committee may disqualify any competitor who behaves improperly or who by his/her conduct or speech shows contempt toward the officials, other competitors or onlookers.

A member of the Race Committee may not participate in a judgment connected with his/her team.

Official Timing Procedure Back To Top

The starter shall be equipped with a radio, which shall be audible to the timers at the finish.  At the starter's horn, the clocks will be started.  Each lane's clock will be stopped after its boat crosses its finish line and pulls the flag from its buoy.  There shall be one backup manual timer for each lane.  In the event of a missed flag, that team's time will be the time of the successful team plus 3 seconds.  In the event both teams miss their flags, their times will be the time at which they crossed the finish line plus 3 seconds, according to the manual timers.  If a time is not calculated during a double missed flag, the two teams will exit the boats and re-run the heat(s) within one hour.


1.1  The team captain or representative from each team must address all questions and concerns about the event prior to the race day.  A grievance may be filed by the team captain only within 15 minutes of the occurrence.  The race director will decide what action to take within the rules set forth for that particular event.

1.2  Each team will receive a copy of these and all race rules.

1.3  The MDBA will provide all boats, paddles, life vest, and sternsmen.  The allocation of boats and paddles shall be at the discretion of Race Officials.  No team may choose its boat or equipment.  The officials will not be responsible for any failure of equipment during a race and each team is advised to carefully check the boat and paddles allocated to it before racing.  Race officials will replace damaged equipment at the request of a team before the team leaves the dock or between heats.

1.4 Once in the marshaling area or on the race course, teams must obey any reasonable instructions given them by the race officials and/or the sternsmen.

1.5  Any team that fails to observe these rules may be disqualified.

1.6  The race officials reserve the right to refuse any team entry into a race if the team does not comply with the race rules and conduct.

1.7  All competitors must be at least 14 years of age before race date to compete.  All competitors under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian sign their waiver.

Safety Back To Top

2.1  Each competitor will be required to wear a life jacket while in a Dragon Boat.

2.2  All team members must wear rubber soled shoes, sandals, or water shoes.  (Bare feet are not allowed.)

2.3  Each team will have the opportunity to train in a Dragon Boat before racing.

2.4  The MDBA will provide all Sterns persons.

2.5  It is assumed that all team members and race crew members will at all times conduct themselves in a prudent and safe manner so as to avoid endangering themselves and others either on shore or in a Dragon Boat.

The Team

3.1 Teams are composed of eighteen (18) paddlers, a drummer, and a flag catcher, (Sternsperson provided by Race Committee).

3.2  A team may have up to 25 members on its roster.  Each team must have a minimum of six (6) males or six (6) females in the boat while racing, unless otherwise stated on the registration form.  Only persons listed on the team roster may participate.  The team roster must be turned in prior to the first race.

3.3  A team may not substitute or add crew members between heats.  A crew member from a lower division may paddle for a team in an upper division.  A crew member from an upper division may not paddle for a team in a lower division.  Race officials reserve the right to limit and reject paddler substitutions.

3.4  Any team member observed by an official to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be removed from racing and cannot be replaced.

Marshaling Back To Top

4.1  A team must be assembled in the Team Assembly Area and be ready to board 30 minutes before the time of its race.

4.2  Each team's captain must be present in the Assembly Area during the time his/her team is under the control of race officials, as a team liaison to officials.

4.3  A team is under the control of race officials from the time it is called to the Team Assembly Area, or 30 minutes before its next race, whichever is first, and will remain under the control of officials until it has left the Team Assembly Area after its race.

The Race

5.1  Each race will consist of two (2) approximately 300-meter heats.  At completion of the first heat, boats will return to the starting line, switch lanes and race the second heat.  The winner of each race will be determined on the basis of the lowest combined time for the two heats.  Ties will be settled by best overall times.

5.2  Teams will paddle the boat assigned to them by race officials and in the lane assigned.

5.3  If a paddle is dropped during a race, or is broken, the boat continues and the heat counts.  If the stern paddle breaks or is dropped, the team may rerun that heat due to an equipment failure.  Paddles of team members may be replaced between heats.  Paddlers will be given a paddle selected by race officials.

The Start Back To Top

6.1  Once in the starting area, all racing comes under the control of the starter.  Each them must obey commands given by the starter and by race officials under the direction of the starter, including the sterns person.  Failure to do so may result in disqualification.

6.2  Approximately one minute before the start, a warning will be given, followed by a second warning, then a start signal or command.

6.3  In the event of a false start, a second signal will be given to stop the race or a chase boat will signal to stop.  Boats will line up again in the same lanes and the heat will be restarted.  If the race is not stopped by the time the boats reach the half way marker, then the race will be re-run within one hour.

6.4  If a team causes a false start, then a warning will be given.  If a second false start occurs, the race will continue but the team at fault will receive a 5-second penalty.

Race Conduct

7.1  Each boat must remain in its correct lane and must not interfere with the other boat.  Any boat interfering with the progress of the other boat will be warned.  If such interference warrants, then the offending boat my be disqualified.

7.2  In the event of a "spin out", an equipment failure will be declared and that team must rerun that heat, alone.

7.3  If in the opinion of the race officials, a team appears to have swamped or capsized a boat intentionally or interfered with the other boat, to the same effect, then the offending team will be disqualified from all further event racing, and may be prevented from entering future racing.

The Finish Back To Top

8.1  The finishing order of a race and the time taken by each boat will be determined by the official timekeeper and by the race officials whose determinations will be in all cases, final.

8.2  In the event of a tie for any place determining advancement to the next elimination round, the two teams involved will re-paddle a run off heat.

8.3  Any protest relating to race results must be brought to the attention of the Race Director by the Team Captain within ten (10) minutes after disembarking from the boat at the end of that race.

8.4  No protests will be allowed concerning equipment or any matter other than the conduct of teams during a race.

8.5  Only the flag catcher may pull the flag.  The flag catcher must remain on the boat after catching the flag.  Failure to do so will result in a penalty of 5 seconds added to the opposing teams time.

Footnotes/Amendments Back To Top

9.1  Michigan Dragon Boat Association (MDBA) sanctioning body.

9.2  These rules are adapted from the Official American Dragon Boat Association (ADBA) Racing Rules.  In instances of ambiguity over the meaning or application of these rules, or where a situation is not covered by a rule herein, the ADBA rules will govern.

9.4  Read in all instances, Race Committee as being interchangeable with Race Officials.

9.5  All communication between race officials and teams will be conducted through the Team Captains.  Team Captains will be responsible for communicating all necessary information to their respective teams.


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