Race Rules & Regulations


  • All races will be governed by the following:
    • i. Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival Rules and Regulations.
    • ii. Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival Notice of Race.
    • iii. Any amendment issue by Lamma Racing Committee on the race day.
  • Any team or crew that fails to observe the Rules and Regulations herein or has received two warnings from the racing committee may be disqualified.
  • The entry fee paid is non-refundable should the crew decide to withdraw from the races or should the races be cancelled for reasons beyond the Organiser’s control.
  • The Organiser reserves the right to refuse the entry of any crew in the races at its sole discretion.
  • No competitor will be allowed to participate in a race while intoxicated.


  • Each competitor must be able to swim at least 100 metres wearing light clothing. It is the responsibility of the person entering a crew to make sure that all members of the crew comply with this rule.
  • Each competitor is solely responsible for his or her own safety during official practice sessions and during races and no responsibility will be accepted by the Organiser or any other individual or organisation connected directly or indirectly with the races for any death, injury, damage or loss incurred or borne by competitors or members of a crew.
  • Personal flotation equipment may be worn by competitors but this does not relieve the competitor and the person entering the crew from complying with Rule 2.1.
  • The drummer should be positioned on the drummer’s seat only.

The Crew and Crew Composition

  • Each boat may carry up to 20 paddlers or not less than 16 paddlers. Each boat must carry one drummer and one steersman.
  • There is no limit on the number of reserves, but a full list of team members should be submitted after entry. The team manager must also prepare a full team list (including all spare athletes and team officials) on race day to be submitted to the Race Control Panel if requested.
  • A mixed crew shall race with at least eight female paddlers, up to a maximum of 12. No men shall participate in a women’s crew except as a drummer or a steersperson.
  • Each crew must have a Team Captain, who must be present in the Crew Assembly Area during the time that the crew is under the control of the Race Officials. The Team Captain will be responsible for liaising with Race Officials.
  • Each crew is entirely responsible for its own conduct and for complying with the race rules.
  • Every member of each crew must wear a uniform, distinctive singlet or shirt while under the control of Race Officials.
  • Persons for whom a Lamma Festival waiver form has not been submitted will not be permitted to race.
  • A crew may have a drummer and/or steersman who is/are not employee(s) of the company team, or members of the organisation. Each steersman or drummer may race for more than one team but only “of the same organization”. However, prior approval by the organizer is necessary.
  • The Judge Panel may, in case of unfavourable weather and sea conditions, announce it mandatory to lower the number of rowers on each boat.

Marshalling, Embarking and Proceeding to the Start

  • A crew must report to the crew assembly area no less than 20 minutes before the time of its race and be ready to boat no less than ten minutes before the time of its race.
  • A crew must follow the directions of the Race Officials from the time it is called to the Crew Assembly Area, until it leaves the Crew Assembly Area after its race.
  • A crew must embark the boat in accordance with the instruction of the Crew Marshals.
  • A crew is not permitted to choose which boat to use and must use the boat allocated to it by the Organiser.
  • Each boat will carry a number indicating the lane in which it is to race. A crew must race in the lane allocated to its boat.
  • After a crew has embarked, it must immediately leave the beach and proceed to the starting area.
  • A crew proceeding to the starting area must keep clear of the course and must not interfere with any race which is in progress. Boats proceeding to the starting area must keep to the far left to the race course on heading out to the start point.

Starting Procedure

  • A crew in the starting area must obey the instructions of the Starter, Umpires and Course Umpires.
  • A crew must take up its correct position at the starting area in the lane allocated to it.
  • A numbered buoy will be moored in each lane behind the starting line. The steersman is required to hold the end of the rope from the numbered buoy. When the starting signal is given, the steersman will release the rope. If there is no rope, boats will line up according to the starter’s directions and proceed on his orders.
  • All paddle blades should be above the water surface before the start signal.
  • When the Aligner is satisfied that all crews are correctly aligned, the Starter will alert all crews with a flag, signifying “READY”. A horn will then be sounded to signify the start of the race. N.B. It is the responsibility of each Team Captain to make sure that each crew member is familiar with the starting procedure. The starting signal is the horn.
  • In the event that the Starter considers that any crew has started before the horn is sounded, a second horn will be sounded and the course Umpire will hoist the red flag (again) to signify a false start and all crews must stop and return immediately to their starting positions. The race will be restarted. The Starter will issue a warning to the crew(s) that has (have) caused the false start.
  • Any crew that fails to return after a false start or that causes more than one false start, be it for starting early, or for not following the boat aligner’s directions at the start, may be disqualified.

Race Conduct

  • The proper course for each boat is a straight line from its starting position to a corresponding point on the finish line. Each boat must remain in its allocated lane and must not interfere with other boats.
  • From the moment the crew line up and get ready for a start until they cross the finish line, the steersman must keep the blade of the steering rudder in the water.
  • All paddlers and the drummer shall sit and remain in their designated seats throughout the race and the drummer should hold drumstick(s) in hand during the race.
  • Boats should not pass outside the buoys marking the edge of the course.
  • In the event of a boat failing to keep to its proper course and thereby interfering with the course of another boat which is on its proper course, or in the event of a collision between two or more boats, the Race Controller may, after consultation with the Umpire, disqualify the offending boat or boats. The rest of the boats will re-row the races, according to the following arrangement:
    • i. If the interference happened after the starting signal and before the race is half-finished, all boats will re-row the race. The offending boats may be disqualified from the re-row, depending on the Race Controller and Umpire’s decision.
    • ii. If the interference happened after the race course is half-completed by at least two boats; and if the boats’ finishing position is affected, only the boats affected by the interference will re-row the race depending on the Race Controller and Umpire’s decision. If, in the opinions of the Race Controller and Umpire, interference does not affect the position of the boats, results will stand.
  • When, in the opinion of an Umpire or the Race Controller, a boat has been swamped or capsized deliberately by the crew, the Organiser reserves the right to refuse such crew’s entry in future races and impose a penalty of HK$1,000 on the organisation entering the crew.
  • When, in the opinion of the Race Controller, the Umpire or any Crew Marshal, a boat is damaged deliberately by the crew, the Organiser reserves the right to impose a penalty of HK$5,000 on the organisation entering the crew. The Organiser also reserves the right to demand such organisation to pay for the total cost of repair to the damaged boat.


  • The finishing Line is defined by two designated marks at the starboard-end and the port-end finishing line of the race course. Any buoys set between are for defining the race course only and cannot be regarded as the finish line.
  • Boats finish the race when the front-most part of the boat passes through the finishing line.
  • The finishing order of a race and the time taken by each boat will be determined by the Finishing Judges whose decision shall be final.
  • Each boat must immediately stop paddling and slow down after the bow of the boat has crossed the finishing line. If a boat is damaged, or an accident is caused, as a result of any team failing to slow down after crossing the finishing line, the team will be disqualified.
  • Each crew must return immediately to the Crew Assembly Area and disembark after the race. Teams must not run their boats onto the beach. Any crew that runs its boat onto the beach may be subject to a $1,000 fine. The Organiser reserves the right to demand any organization to pay for the total cost of repairs should any boat be damaged as a result of running it onto the beach.
  • The number of crew in a boat passing the Finish Line must be the same as the number of crew that embarked on the boat in the same race. Any mismatch will mean the team is disqualified.
  • A boat that capsizes while racing will be considered as unable to complete the race and will be disqualified. No re-race will be arranged.


  • Eligibility of Protest : Protests against finishing results and race equipment will not be accepted.
  • Protest Evidence Not Acceptable : Photographic evidence of any form about an alleged breach of a rule given by competitors will not be accepted.
  • Lodging a Protest : Any protest shall be lodged by the team captain or team leader with the Race Officer on duty at the Race Control within fifteen (15) minutes of the end of the relevant race. Only the captain of the protesting team may make the protest to race officials. The Race Officer may invite the steersman of the protesting team to discuss the problem, at the Race Officer’s own discretion only. No person other than the team captain is allowed to lodge a protest.
  • Protest Hearing : If the Race Committee accepts a protest and decides that a hearing is required, it will immediately notify any other party involved and open the protest hearing to discuss the protest. The result will be announced within 30 minutes of the conclusion of the hearing. The protest decision issued by the protest committee will be the final result.


  • All boats and paddles used by competitors shall be provided by the Organiser. The allocation of boats and paddles to individual crews shall be at the sole discretion of the Organiser. The Organiser will not be responsible for any failure of equipment during a race and each crew is advised to carefully check the boat and paddles allocated to it before racing.
  • No modifications or additions to the boat or the equipment within the boat may be made or carried out by any competitors or crews. In particular:
    • i. Any pad or device for the rower to sit on should be of flexible material to the extent that it should be able to be folded over double and should not be thicker than two inches uncompressed.
    • ii. No equipment for removing water from the boat is permitted except plastic hand-held bailers with which the water is picked up and scooped out of the boat by a crew member. No pumps of any kind are permitted.
    • iii. No electrical, electronic or radio amplifying equipment of any kind is permitted in the boat.

Race Conduct

  • Conduct of Crews and Teams : Crews must follow the directions of the Race Officials at all times during the race. All Team Leaders shall monitor the behaviour of their team members to observe this rule.
  • Conduct of Crews : Any Dragon Boat Crew or competitor who attempts to win a race by other than honourable means, or who deliberately breaks the Racing Rules, or who disregards the honourable nature of the rules shall face disqualification from the race.
  • Abusive Language : A Dragon Boat Crew shall not use abusive language towards any Race Officials. Any proven case may result in a warning or disqualification from a race.
  • Race Control Area : Crews and competitors must not enter the Race Control Area without permission.
  • Attitude of Race Officials : The Racing Committee will also constantly remind all Race Officials to remain sincere, fair and cooperative towards all Crews and Competitors.
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