Overall Management

  1. The overall management of the Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival (herein after called the “Festival”) rests with the Board of Directors of the Festival.
  2. The overall management of the Racing Program for the Festival rests with the Race Committee of the Festival.
  3. The Race Committee of the Festival is the final authority with respect to all matters pertaining
    in any way to the races and its decision and rulings shall be final and binding on all persons, groups and organizations concerned with the ruling.
  4. The Festival races shall be under the supervision and control of the Chief Race Official. The Chief Race Official shall have the power to appoint such on-ice and off-ice officials as they deem appropriate for the proper control and management of the races and results.
  5. Due to the limited time, a team may protest any decision of a Starter or Referee in respect of a race, provided the Team Captain immediately following the end of the race by notifying the judges in the Officials/Announcers Tent on the ice, at the appropriate finish line. If the Chief Race Official allows the protest they may order a re-run or take other corrective action.  Protests are processed at the Officials/Announcers Tent and must be submitted only by the Team Captain.
  6. Each team is responsible for any damage to festival equipment for which they have caused, as determined by the festival, including but not limited to, any damage caused to the boat (including head and tail), to paddles or loss of paddles, drums and related boat equipment while being used by the team.


  1. To be eligible to compete or participate in any way in the Festival a team and all its members must conform to the Rule and Regulations of the races.
  2. The Race Committee of the Festival has the right to accept or reject any entry submitted for any reason the Race Committee considers appropriate.
  3. In order to be eligible to be a team member, a person must be at least 13 years of age as of January 31 of the given year.

Team Racing Rules

  1. A competing team is to be composed of 8-10 paddlers (not including steersperson and drummer).  In no circumstances may a team race with fewer than 8 paddlers.  While racing, a boat must have a steersperson and a drummer in the boat at all times. A paddler may be a member of and race for only one team per division. The divisions are women and mixed.A steersperson/drummer may steer/drum for more than one team and division.
  2. The start line will alternate between the North end (Start/Finish A) and the South end (Start/Finish B) of the racecourse.  The start line for the first race will be Start/Finish A.  On completion of each race the crews are to stop their boats within 75m of the finish line and disembark, leaving the boat to be turned and allow teams for the next race to load and proceed to the appropriate start line.  The start of races will alternate between Start/Finish A and Start/Finish B of the course. The race schedule will indicate the appropriate start line for each race.
  3. Crews must embark and disembark the dragon boats as directed by the Ice Marshall or their designate.
  4. Crews must race the entire length of the racecourse in their allocated lane.  A boat that enters an adjacent lane during a race may be disqualified.  Disqualification will be at the discretion of the Chief Race Official.
  5. A boat will have completed the race when the nose of their dragon’s head crosses the finish line between the lane markers (excluding any unattached items such as paddles), with all crew members in the boat.  In the event the dragon head is not attached to the front of the boat at the finish the bow of the boat crossing the finish line will determine the finish. Any boat finishing out of their proper lane may be disqualified.
  6. Women’s teams must have all female paddlers, but may have a male drummer and/or steersperson.
  7. Mixed Teams must race with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 5 male paddlers excluding the drummer and steersperson.  The drummer and steersperson may be male or female.
  8. Paddlers must use the paddles provided by the Festival.  The paddles may not be altered in any way.
  9. A steersperson may stand or sit at the helm of the boat from the start and during the course of the race until the boat crosses the finish line.  Only the steersperson may stand, the drummer and paddlers must remain seated during the course of the race.
  10. Only the drum and drum stick provided by the Festival (or the drummer’s/steersperson’s voice) may be used to signal the stroke rate.  Whistles, rattles, air horns, noise making devices or other means of enhancing the drummer’s voice or cadence are prohibited from being in the dragon boat at the start of a race.
  11. If a steersperson is deemed incompetent by the Chief Race Official (ie. a boat leaves its assigned lane during a race), then the team will be required to find an experienced steersperson from another team as a replacement for their remaining races.
  12. Electronic devices, including radio communications, signalling devices, and race speed monitors are prohibited from being in the dragon boat at the start of the race.
  13. The Starter or on-ice referees must notify the Chief Race Official of any team breaking any of the Team Racing Rules.
  14. In the event that the ice conditions deteriorate to an extent that the Chief Race Official determines is significantly impeding the momentum of the boats, two paddlers may exit the boat and push the boat. Teams may not change the paddlers pushing the boat during the race. Steerspersons and drummers are not permitted to exit the boat to push.  In all cases, the boat must start and finish with the same number of paddlers with a minimum of 8 paddlers in the boat. Those pushing the boat must be in contact with the boat at all times, including crossing the finish line. Those pushing the boat may not wear any footwear assisting with better traction on the ice, including, skates, cleats, spikes and any other such device, as deemed by officials, providing an unfair advantage. Those pushing the boat may not wear any footwear assisting with better traction on the ice, including, skates, cleats, spikes and any other such device, as deemed by officials, providing an unfair advantage.
  15. Those pushing the boat may not wear any footwear assisting with better traction on the ice, including, skates, cleats, spikes and any other such device, as deemed by officials, providing an unfair advantage.If such a decision is made, a yellow flag showing the ice conditions will be displayed before the start of the race.  Additionally, the teams shall be informed in the staging area that Rule 23 is in effect.

Racecourse & Schedule

  1. All races will be held on Dow’s Lake at 1001 Queen Elizabeth Drive, Ottawa, ON.
  2. The racecourse is 200 metres in length and includes two start/finish lines located at the North and South ends of Dow’s Lake, with an additional 75m at each end.  All races will be 200m unless adjusted to a shorter distance by unforeseen circumstances. The course will consist of seven lanes and will be marked with flags at the start and finish lines.  Lane number 1 will be the lane closest to the Officials/Announcers Tent.
  3. Each boat will race in its appropriately numbered lane.
  4. Teams will be divided into two groups. The first group’s qualifying races will take place in Bracket 1 (morning races) and the second group’s qualifying races will take place in Bracket 2 (afternoon races).
    1. Teams will be divided between the brackets based on team type and skill level.
    2. Each race will be composed of a combination of mixed teams of all skill levels (first year, recreational, competitive) and women’s teams of all skill levels (first year, recreational, competitive).
    3. Each team will race twice, once from Start A, once from Start B.
  5. Teams will know their schedule for Bracket 1 (both qualifying races) and Bracket 2 (both qualifying races) in advance. The progression to the Semi-Finals and Finals will be outlined in the race schedule.
  6. Team advancements to the Semi-Finals from Brackets 1 and 2 will be based on their best time from their two qualifying races in their respective Brackets.
    1. 28 mixed teams and 28 women’s teams will advance to the semi-finals with an equal number of teams from each bracket (14 mixed and 14 women’s teams from each bracket).
    2. All team types (women or mixed) will race from the same starting position in the semi finals; all women’s teams will start from Start A and all mixed teams will start from Start B.
  7. Advancement to the Finals will be based on the team’s best time from the Semi-Finals.
    1. After the Semi-Finals, all Mixed teams (from both Brackets) will be ranked by their semi-final time, and all Women’s teams (from both Brackets) will be ranked by their semi-final time, to determine who progresses to the Finals.
    2. The top 14 Mixed teams and top 14 Women’s teams will progress to the Finals.
      Teams ranked 1-7 by time will race from Start B in the IIDBF Club Crew World Ice Dragon Boat Championship Final.
      Teams ranked 8-14 by time will race Start B in the Grand Final.

Advancement Flowchart:



Start of Races

  1. The starting procedure shall be as follows:

(a) It is the responsibility of each team to be at the start for its races.
(b) The start procedure will not be held up after the published start time unless instructed otherwise by the Chief Race Official.
(c) The objective is to give all teams a dead even start on the defined start line. The nose of the dragon of each boat shall be the starting point of reference.
(d) The Starter shall communicate the countdown exactly as follows:

“2 minutes to start”
“1 minute to start”

(e) The Referees shall space crews behind the start line. Boats must be stationary.
(f) When the Referee(s) is (are) satisfied the boats are properly spaced, aligned and stationary behind the start line the Referee furthest from the Starter shall say “Starter the race is yours”. The Starter will acknowledge with “Thank-you Referee, I have the race”.
(g) No boat may allow the nose of its dragon to cross the start line before the start of the race, but shall draw up to the start line as directed by the Starter;
(h) When the Starter is satisfied that the teams are in dead even line on the start line for the start he or she shall announce to the teams “Ready-Set” and within 3 seconds sound an air horn signalling the start of the race.  At the “Set” command the paddlers may place their paddles in the catch position.
(i) False starts are not permitted. The Starter shall disqualify any teams that start to paddle after the “Ready-Set”, and before the start of the race, by notifying the Referee/s at the finish line about the boat that has been disqualified.
(j) The Starter may call back any race for a re-start with two sounds of the air horn provided he/she does so immediately after the start of the race and only in the event that the Starter is of the opinion the start was not a dead even start with the teams properly spaced and aligned, or extraordinary situations, at the Starter’s discretion.  The starting process will recommence and the Starter will signal a re-start by a second sound of the air horn.
(k) At any time after the Referee(s) hands the race over to the Starter, but before the “Ready-Set” is given to the teams, the Referee(s) may, in the event of improper alignment or spacing of teams, take the race back from the Starter by announcing “Mister/Madam Starter I have the race”.

Conduct of Races

  1. Teams and team members shall immediately follow and comply with all instructions of the Starter and Referee before, during and after a race while on the ice. Any failure to do so may result in disqualification of the team from the race by the Starter or Referee, as applicable, and in the event of flagrant disregard of such instructions may result in disqualification from further participation in races by the Chief Race Official.
  2. Each team shall keep to the centre of its own lane and avoid contact or interference with other teams.
  3. When a boat is in a position to overtake another boat during a race, it is the duty of the boat overtaking to keep clear, at all times of the boat overtaken. Equally, the boat being overtaken is not allowed to alter course to make difficulties for the overtaking boat.
  4. Any team that leaves its own lane and contacts or otherwise interferes with any other team may be disqualified by the Referee.
  5. A Referee may stop any race after its start by sounding an air horn, and order the race restarted if the Referee is of the opinion to do so is necessary to ensure a fair race and result. Any team or teams committing fouls that give rise to the restart of the race may be disqualified from the re-start of the race.
  6. Upon disqualification during the course of a race a team shall be told by the Referee to stop paddling and shall immediately stop paddling until the race passes the team by. Notwithstanding, a Referee may tell a team to stop paddling without disqualifying the team for the purpose of race control and the team shall stop paddling until advised by the Referee to start paddling once again.
  7. Each boat must cross the finish line by its bow and in its proper lane in order to count as having finished the race. Any boat crossing the finish line out of its lane may be disqualified.
  8. A race shall be officially completed when the Referee(s) raises either a white flag signalling the race was “o.k. as run”, or a red flag, signalling that a foul was committed by a team during the course of the race. The Referee(s) shall raise the appropriate flag as soon as all boats still in the race have crossed the finish line.
  9. A Starter may disqualify any team on the ice prior to the start of a race or on the start of a race for failure to abide by the Festival Rules and Regulations.
  10. A Referee may disqualify any team on the ice prior to the start of a race, during the course of a race, or on the finish of a race for failure to abide by the Festival Rules and Regulations.
  11. The Chief Race Official may disqualify any team at any time, on or off the ice, from the competition for failure to abide by the Festival Rules and Regulations.


  1. Each team member is solely responsible for his or her own safety at all times while engaging in activities related to practicing and racing in the dragon boats and must have completed a Festival waiver.
  2. Team members must take care when embarking or disembarking the dragon boat on the ice.  The Team Captain (or another team delegate) is responsible for reporting any serious injury or illness that occurs before, during or after the completion of a race to the referees as soon as possible so assistance can be called as necessary.
  3. The drummer and paddlers must remain seated during the course of the race, only the steersperson may stand.
  4. The weather may be very cold with blowing snow and team members should wear appropriate clothing.

Race Results & Awards

  1. The Chief Race Official is responsible to confirm and announce the order of finish in each race and to record the race time of each boat in the race.
  2. The awards and prizes to be awarded shall be as determined by the Race Committee of the Festival.
  3. The first place teams in each Division (Mixed and Women’s) will receive a large team trophy and team medals. Second and third place teams will receive medals. The Awards Ceremony will be held immediately following the final race of the day.
  4. All large team trophies are the permanent property of the Festival. A trophy winning team may keep the trophy for the following year provided it is to be returned in good condition to the Festival office at least one month prior to the proceeding event.