Dragon Boat Crew

A full crew consists of 20 paddlers, a sweep and a drummer. Every member of the crew has a role and is important.




The sweep stands at the back of the boat. The sweep steers the boat and is responsible for the safety of the boat from the time of loading the boat until unloading. The sweep is in absolute control of the boat, overruling the coach. Anyone can learn to sweep – all you need is good balance and a bit of confidence. There is a procedure for becoming an accredited sweep with DBNSW. If you are interested please ask one of the sweeps. 


The drummer sits at the front of the boat and beats in time with the strokes (the paddlers in the first row). They are generally small and lightweight. Anyone can be a drummer. For more information see Drummer Master Class

Row 1

Row 1 are known as the strokes, they are smallish, fit, cool-headed and have good technique. The right side is the lead stroke who sets the rate for the entire boat.

Rows 2 to 3

Medium/large paddlers with good technique, fit and strong. They work with Row 1 and help control the pace. 

Rows 4 to 7

Larger powerful paddlers, known as the engine room.

Rows 8 to 9

Paddle in more disturbed and not as clean or hard water as at the front of the boat, therefore requires a fast stroke and a precise and fast entry into the water. Require more concentration to paddle well and they have to go deeper, longer, and harder into the water.

Row 10

Small paddlers & similar to Rows 8 to 9.