Once you’ve registered for the 2017 Big Blue Dragon Boat Festival, it’s time to think about getting on the water! And we recommend taking the opportunity to do so as soon as possible!
Scheduling for team practices will begin in June
Of course, you probably have a lot of questions about how that works. Here’s everything you need to know.
Each team is required to complete one practice prior to race day. You can also purchase additional practices. Practice times are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Please note: Only the team captain can schedule practices using our online reservation system.
Step 1 – View the instructions on how to get started using our online practice scheduling system.
Step 2 - Visit www.bigbluedragonboat.com and login. View available practices dates and select and reserve a time(s) for your team. Here you may also purchase additional practice sessions to be scheduled immediately or at a later date.
Additional practices for purchase are optional. Costs are:
• $100 for 1 practice
• $90 (each) for 2-4 practices
• $85 (each) for 5 or more practices
All proceeds support the Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare Center for Breast Care to enhance breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
To change or cancel a practice
Please call or text 608-792-4040 if you need to change or cancel your practice.
Be sure to choose a time when all team members can attend your team practice. Even seasoned paddlers need at least one practice with the team. Each person must also complete a waiver. Completion of waivers will be verified.
Please arrive 30 minutes prior to the practice start time. The boat will push off at the scheduled time and won’t wait or return for latecomers. Note that a steersperson, coach and equipment will be provided.
What to Bring
Paddles and personal flotation devices (PFDs) will be provided, but feel free to bring your own if you prefer. Please note that inflatable PFDs are not permitted. Also be sure to bring:
Comfortable, clothing and footwear that can get wet (Aqua shoes, Crocs with heel straps and old tennis shoes work well. No flip flops are allowed.)
Optional: Seat cushion or Dragon Saddle (a gardening knee pad works well when covered with a nonslip shelf liner).
Who to Bring
It’s important for ALL team members to practice together at least once. An experienced steersperson and coach will be provided for you for practice sessions. Teams can provide their own experienced steersperson, with prior approval, if he or she has had previous steering experience in a dragon boat race.
Arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled start time.
Always listen to and promptly obey your steersperson’s commands.
No alcohol is allowed before or during practices. On race day, intoxication is grounds for disqualification. Socializing and competing are both a big part of this sport, so be responsible.
All paddlers at practice are expected to listen to a safety briefing and orientation before getting on the water.
If there is bad weather at your practice time
Practices will occur if it’s raining, but if there’s any thunder or lightening, practices will be rescheduled. If you’re already on the water when these conditions arise, the steersperson will return to shore as quickly as possible. If a practice needs to be rescheduled, the practice coordinator will work with you to schedule a new time.
Decisions to cancel due to forecasted weather will be made at least two hours before a scheduled practice. If a practice is cancelled due to weather, the practice coordinator will alert your team captain. In that event, you will be able to reschedule without any additional fee.
When Practice Time Ends
Dragon boats and equipment must be returned at least 5 minutes before the end of the team's scheduled practice session for the next team to use. If yours is the last practice of the day, please bail excess water from the boat and return all borrowed equipment to the storage shed within the fenced area.
Practice sessions will be held at the Clinton Street Boat Ramp. (Take Clinton Street west towards French Island. You will see the ramp after crossing the Black River)
Enter the boat ramp/park area (Boathouse Drive). Do not park in the paved area. Continue heading south to the space where you will see the Dragon Boat storage area (look for the chain link fenced area with trailers). Restrooms are located in the small raised building you will pass on the way to the boat storage area.