Frequently Asked Questions

2015 Half Moon Dragon Boat Festival

What is dragon boating?
Equal parts sporting event and spectacle, dragon boat racing is a team sport that has its roots in ancient China. In the last 25 years, dragon boating has been revitalized and is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world. A dragon boat is a long, colorful boat with a delicate and ornate head and tail. Hong Kong-style boats race point to point with the winner determined by which dragon’s nose crosses the finish line first. Each boat is propelled by a crew of 20 paddlers, a drummer and steer person (provided by the race for each boat). Races take place in heats on courses of 250 meters.

Why is Mayo Clinic Health System hosting this event for hospice?
Just as teamwork is important in dragon boat racing, a team is critical for providing whole-body hospice care. The patient is at the center of the hospice team and is surrounded by the loving support of his/her family and friends. Hospice medical care is coordinated by a team including doctors, nurses, social workers, hospice aids, chaplains, volunteers and bereavement counselors. This team coordinates care that encompasses the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of the patient, while continually responding to the patient and family as the illness progresses. All proceeds will benefit hospice care at Mayo Clinic Health System.

When is the Half Moon Dragon Boat Festival?
The Half Moon Dragon Boat Festival will be held on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017, at Half Moon Beach in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Do I need to be an experienced paddler to participate?
Dragon boating can work for people of all ages and fitness levels. What other sport do you know of where you can put people of different sizes and strength levels together and produce a successful team? No one person shines — the team must function as a whole in order to move the boat smoothly and quickly. There are premier athletes who excel in the sport. There are youth teams learning the sport. All skill levels are welcome; but persons with health limitations should first speak with their health care provider.

How do I participate and what is the cost?
The team registration fee includes use of a dragon boat, T-shirts for all paddlers and a steer person. Some teams fundraise to help cover the cost of team registration. Others simply split the cost equally among all paddlers.

I’m a team captain and need more paddlers to fill my boat. Where I can find others?
Please contact us at, and we’ll provide you with contact information for potential team members.

Will teams have the opportunity to practice before race day?
Dragon boating is a water sport that requires a little practice in advance. Each registered team will receive one free boat practice prior to race day. A practice schedule will be posted. Team captains will be notified of availability, and sessions will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Do I need to purchase special equipment to participate?
You do not need to purchase special equipment to participate in dragon boating. Paddles and personal flotation devices will be provided. 

Who do I contact if I have more questions? 
For more information about the Half Moon Dragon Boat Festival or how you can get involved as a paddler or volunteer, please contact us at

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