Safety

Dragon boating should be a fun, satisfying, and life-long sport.
As it is a water sport, there is an inherent danger, and all participants should be aware of this. Before each outing, crews should consider the weather and water conditions, the ability of the members of the crew, and the suitability of their boat and equipment. If in doubt, don’t go out.
In most cases, PDFs or life jackets can be taken along with no adverse effect.
Keep in mind that weather and water conditions can change very quickly, so always be prepared to return close to home, or end your outing early.

At Swift we are doing our part to make dragon sport safe.
Buoyancy
Our boats have buoyancy far in excess of the IDBF requirements, provided by the bow and stern enclosed buoyancy compartments, and helped by our use of posts under most seats, and the 2 part moulding process that we use in our boat building.
Please note, there is a common misconception that increased buoyancy means the boats will sit higher in the water. This is completely nonsensical and untrue. It simply means that there is less space in the cockpit for water to flood in, and more air trapped in the boat, to provide positive buoyancy.
However, please note that even with the increased buoyancy of a Swift Dragon Boat, when fully swamped all Dragon Boats are unstable, so are likely to tip over. The moment this happens, the crew is in considerable danger, and it is advisable to practise what to do in this case, before hand, in warm water, in a sheltered and shallow area.
The following 2 features can help to avoid swamping in the first place.
Higher gunwales/sides
In the new moulds being prepared now (August 2012), we have taken the decision to build our boats with the maximum height of the gunwale that is allowed by the IDBF, at the lowest point of the gunwale, which is around the middle.
This means an extra 20mm of height, which is 30mm less than we would like, but is still better than nothing.
Please note that as the height of the seats will stay the same, relative to the water surface, there will be no impact on the paddling action or the boats performance. If anything, the extra boat height will increase longitudinal stiffness, so will aid performance.
Self bailers
As an option we can build in Andersen “self bailers”, as used on sailing boats and some kayaks.
When water enters the cockpit, the self bailer can be easily pen by a crew member, and it will bail this water as the boat is paddled. When it is no longer needed, it can simply be closed off.
Back on dry land, if the self bailer is jammed open, it can prevent the build up of rain water in the cockpit, which will add years to the life of your boats, and by eliminating the need for you to bail the boats, will do the same for your backs!