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Cold Water Safety Plan

Dartmouth Dragon Boat Association


Dartmouth Dragon Boat Association uses a water temperature of 8⁰ C and under to trigger actions by coaches and member clubs regarding cold water paddling. Paddling in water with a temperature of 8⁰ C or under will be considered cold water paddling for the purpose of this document.


Requirements for paddlers and coaches when participating in Dartmouth Dragon Boat Association practices involving cold water paddling (water temperature of 8⁰ C and under):


  1. All participants – paddlers, steersperson and drummer must WEAR a PDF when in the dragon boat, canoe, kayak, motor boat.  Inflatibles are permitted, but participants are responsible for maintaining their own inflatibles and should ensure that they are worn and in working order.

  2. The two people using a canoe to retrieve the moored dragon boat(s) and take them back must be highly skilled and experienced two person canoe paddlers and WEAR lifejackets or PFDs.

  3. The steersperson must be Dragon Boat Canada Level One certified or equivilent and is responsible for knowing and following all DDBA rules and guidelines.

  4. Dragon boat practices will closely follow the shoreline of the lake.  Please ensure to take wind conditions, water depth and general weather conditions into account at all times.

  5. Whenever possible, divide the participants into 2 boats and use the buddy system by paddling side by side.

  6. Steerers must have a working cell phone with them at all times on the water.  Our club is located at 45 Grahams Grove Park.

One result of implementing #2 and #3 may be a higher cost for teams for practices in cold water.

Cold Water responsibilities of coach/steersperson:

  1. Ensure life jackets/PFDs are worn .

  2. Provide information to team about suitable paddling attire for cold water paddling.

  3. Provide cold water safety talk to team before first paddling session of the year.

  4. Conduct practice close to shore along Waverley Rd, Birch Cove or behind islands.

  5. Ensure a cell phone is in the boat. 

  6. Get and return the dragon boat to mooring with a skilled pleasure canoe paddler – life jackets/PFDs must be worn.

  7. Ensure that safety kit which includes a sound signalling device and a flashlight is in the boat before practicing.


Responsibilities of paddlers:

  1. Wear a life jacket/PFD at all times in the boat.

  2. If using a CO₂ life jacket – ensure it is in proper working order.

  3. Attend the safety talk.

  4. Wear suitable attire for cold water paddling.

  5. Inform the coach of concerns/limitations - medical or physical that may manifest themselves and present issues when paddling.

  6. Follow the directions of coach/steersperson.

  7. Consult with their doctor before starting to practice, dragon boat paddling is a highly strenuous activity.

  8. Read, understand and sign the DDBA waiver. 

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