ESSA Water Activities Centre
Registered Charity No: 1025713

Dragon Boating

Taster Sessions

Come and try dragon boating! If you're part of a group, see our Groups page to see what you can achieve.

Leadership Courses

Be in control of your own boat, become a Dragon Boat Helm. Be creative with your qualification and run a District Dragonboat Race.

Taster Sessions

General information

A dragon boat is a human-powered boat, which originated in China over 2000 years ago. 

For competition events, dragon boats are rigged with decorative Chinese dragon heads and tails.

Paddlers sit facing forwards, and use a specific type of paddle with one blade.

What will you learn?

Taster Session content

Click here to find the taster session plan

As part of the session, we will do a timed race across the lake. Your time will be put on the ESSA Dragon Boat Dash leaderboard.

Session recommendations

Evening or part of a multi-activity day. 

We have two Junior dragon boats, each seating 10 paddlers and a qualified helm.

If you have more than 20 paddlers, we can rotate paddlers in rowing boats or katakanu's and they paddle a ‘mini’ dragon boat.

Sessions can be booked any time if you have your own qualified helm.


The British Dragon Boat Racing Association is the governing body of dragon boat racing in Great Britain.

The Basic Helm Course will allow you to lead a group. The course can be run with a minimum of 4, maximum of 8 people.


BDA Helm (1 Day)

The Basic Helm award enables you to become the helm of a dragon boat, looking after the people on board and delivering briefings, learning new skills and playing games.

Course Content

Click here to find the syllabus

BDA Centre Coach (1 Day)


The Centre Coach Award qualifies you to coach crews under race conditions and supervise the training of helms.

Course Content

Click here to find the syllabus