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Dragon Boats

Dragon Boats

Using its expertise in racing boats, training boats, coastal boats and kayaks, Swift Racing started producing Dragon Boats in 2007. Since then, they have focused on developing their quality and ergonomics based on feedback from paddlers of Swift Racing Dragon Boats throughout Asia.


In just two years their development work achieved a level high enough for Swift Racing Dragon Boats to be the choice of the Organising Committees of the 2009 EDBF Club Crew Championships, the 2009 IDBF World Nations Championships and the 2010 ICF World Championships.

This effort was rewarded in the finals of the 20 man men’s senior 200m event at the 2009 IDBF World Nations Championships, when the team from the Philippines set the current World Record of 40.02 seconds, smashing the previous record set by over 2 seconds.

Today Swift Racing crafts both 20 man and 10 man Dragon Boats, suitable for IDBF and ICF, as well as the 20 man and 10 man boats for the CDBA, and all of these can be supplied in the UK and Ireland by Rowing Centre UK.

Contact us so we can price up your ideal Swift Racing Dragon Boat specification - please click HERE

  • Boat Shapes

    Swift International started the production of IDBF design Dragon Boats in 2007.

    In addition to the moulds, Swift International also follows all IDBF rules regarding positioning and material of seats, foot rests, steering arm, buoyancy tanks, drummer seats, gunwale capping etc.

    What is the IDBF standard boat design?

    It is a list of rules and a set of drawings and measurements, based on which moulds are built, from which the IDBF shape boats are then built.

    Does that mean that all IDBF shape boats are the same?

    Regarding the hull shape, the answer is effectively "yes". However, there are "tolerances". These are necessary for the manufacture of any product.

    These tolerances are quite small, and allow for very slight differences between boats from the same moulds, which naturally occur due to factors such as the difference between the ambient temperature and humidity in different seasons, as well as differences in measuring methods and accuracy. See below for more about these tolerances. 

    Regarding the cockpit, the answer is "no". 

    The tolerances for the position of seats and footrests is much greater, and the potential to build in other features, such as posts under the seats, means that the cockpit of boats from different builders can be quite different. 

    Regarding stiffness, longevity etc, the answer is a big "no".

    There is no stipulation from the IDBF regards the materials or processes that builders must use, so there is quite a lot of difference between builders, although this mostly comes down to 2 groups of builders: those that use 2 part moulds, and those that do not. The 2 part mould process is more expensive, but makes a superior boat.

    Can the tolerances affect a boat’s feel and performance? (or "Can boat builders manipulate the tolerances to change the design?")

    Regarding the overall shape of the boats, yes, but only very marginally.

    For example, the tolerance for length is +/-100mm, which is less than +/-1% of the length of the 20 man boats.

    The tolerance for "side rail width" and "gunwale width" is +/-20mm, which seems more significant, until we consider that about half of this tolerance must be used to eliminate the “tumblehome” which is part of the IDBF design for the 20 man boats.

    This is something which must be done by all companies that build IDBF boats with composite materials ( ie. not wood).

    ("Tumblehome" is the name given to the feature of a boat where the gunwale is narrower than the sides.) The reason is simply that if the sides of the boats (and therefore the mould), were wider than the gunwale, it would be impossible to lift a finished boat out of the mould!

    Therefore the remaining tolerance for "side rail width" and "gunwale width" is about +/-10mm, much of which needs to be kept as genuine tolerance, so is not available to make the boats narrower or wider.

    Regarding the cockpit, the tolerances allow for significant variation in position of seats and foot rests, which can therefore feel significantly different, and lead to differing performance. 

  • Seats

    Our bench seats are made from resin infused hardwood, to protect against water damage. They are angled with 5 degrees of pitch, to provide an ergonomically ideal sitting position. The edges are rounded for comfort. The seats around the middle of the boats have posts underneath to provide incredible support for even the heaviest heavyweight!

    Hand holds

    Our hand holds are bonded into the internal sides of our boats, one for every seat, plus 1 extra.

    Non-slip floors

    All floor surfaces, including for the steersman, have a non slip pattern, which is part of the layup of the boat, so will last for as long as the boat.


    We provide pairs of footrests, so that all paddlers have a choice of which is most comfortable or effective for them.

    Gunwale Capping

    Our gunwale capping is made from resin infused hardwood, to protect against water damage. It adds considerable stiffness to the sides of the boats.

    Heads and tails

    Our heads and tails are moulded fiberglass, that are then painted in bright colors by hand. The heads in particular are very popular with many customers, for the charm they bring to the boats.


    Our drums are traditional Hong Kong style drums so have the traditional sound and feel that has motivated paddlers for millennia.

    Drummers seat

    Our drummer's seats are made from resin infused hardwood, to protect against water damage. They are designed to easily but securely slide into the rails that are built into the boats.

    Steering Arm

    Our steering arms are very substantial, being considerably bigger than the minimum allowed by the IDBF. This gives great stiffness, and an increased surface area for bonding to the boat. We choose not to use additional bolts to secure the steering arm to the stern deck, as in a collision with another boat or with the dock, it is better that the arm breaks free cleanly, rather than ripping the stern deck to pieces.

    Drainage bungs

    The bow and stern buoyancy compartments both have small drainage bungs which allow them to be easily drained or aired.

    Self bailers

    See the safety page


    For sales directly to end users, Swift International Limited warrants its products to be free from defects in material and workmanship for two years from the time of shipment. No other warranty or guarantee of any kind or nature, expressed or implied, is made. 

    Our warranty does not apply to products improperly stored or installed, damaged in transit, your misuse, neglect, accident or improper maintenance, or any repair or modification without our prior written approval. 

    In the event of any claim under this warranty or otherwise with respect to our products, our entire liability and your exclusive remedy shall be repair or replacement as decided by Swift International Limited, or the refund of the purchase price paid by you. 

    All warranty work shall be done at our designated repair centre(s) and all related transport to and from the repair centre shall be your responsibility.

  • Moulds and Construction

    Our moulds are "2 part" moulds, with 1 mould for the hull and 1 mould for the entire internal structure, from bow to stern. 
    This system requires a higher level of investment and skill than building what are effectively "single skin" boats, where multiple layers of fibreglass are simply laminated one on top of the other, in a single hit. 
    The 2 part system allows us to build in all of the features that paddlers should expect, such as non-slip floor surfaces, a flat and safe platform for the steer, fully enclosed buoyancy tanks, posts to support seats and provide extra buoyancy, hand holds etc. 
    Having the internal and external mouldings, which are then bonded together over almost their entire surface also provides the maximum possible stiffness, as well as an internal surface of gel coat for the ultimate protection from the weather and ease of cleaning.

    We offer 2 "grades" of construction:

    Basic uses multiple layers of fibreglass cloth and mat, but in a 2 part system as explained above. 
    Premium uses Lantor Coremat to replace some of the fibreglass layers, adding to overall stiffness while reducing total weight.

    Boat Weights

    Excluding heads and tails, our boats weights are:

    Premium 10 man boat complete (boat approx 160kg) 
    Premium 20 man boat complete (boat approx 250kg) 
    Basic 10 man boat complete (boat approx 200kg) 
    Basic 20 man boat complete (boat approx 280kg) 

  • Swift Dragon Boats are painted inside and out with a UV and scratch resistant gel coat. We are perhaps the only Dragon Boat builder that paints the scales in gel coat, so that they will stay good looking for year after year, while the stickers used by our competitors will become scratched and tatty. 

    Our paint shop has perfected this technique of painting the scales right into the mould, with the background color, giving incredibly sharp lines between the scales and background color. Furthermore, the smooth surface of our boats means a significant advantage in speed, over those boats with stickers.
    What is more, this is included in the great price, so no extra to pay! 


    Any combination of scale and background color is possible. For those customers in a hurry, we build stock boats, which will have the following color combinations:

    Yellow and Orange

    Scales: Yellow RAL 1018

    Background: Orange RAL 2008

    Yellow and Green

    Scales: Yellow RAL 1018

    Background: Kelley Green RAL6001

    Yellow and Blue

    Scales: Yellow RAL 1018

    Background: Light Blue RAL5015

    Light Pink and Dark Pink

    Scales: Light Pink RAL 3015

    Background: Dark Pink RAL4003


    The RAL numbers are correct, but the colors shown here on your screen are approximations. 
    The cockpit and bow and stern decks are painted in the same tough gel coat, in white. 

  • 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, PFDs 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:


    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 beforehand, 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

    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 opened 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! 

  • 10 Man Boat

    Basic construction (weight 200 kg) £POA

    Premium construction (weight 160kg) £POA

    Prices include – the Drum, Seat, Head, Tail and Steering Oar (Crew paddles not included.)

    20 Man Boat

    Basic construction (weight 280kg) £POA

    Premium construction (weight 250kg) £POA

    Prices include – the Drum, Seat, Head, Tail and Steering Oar (Crew paddles not included.)


    We can deliver to most UK locations - please contact us for details.

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Reasons Why

5 Reasons to use a Swift Racing Dragon Boat:

  1. World-record achieving designs, to ensure ultimate competitiveness.
  2. Crafted to meet and surpass IDBF, EDBF and ICF competition requirements and specifications.
  3. Considerable attention to safety which includes buoyancy compartments, non-slip floor surfaces, handrails, appropriate height gunwales, self-bailers etc., all ensuring peace of mind for crew members and coaches at all levels.
  4. Comprehensive range of paint and scale colour options, to tailor your ideal look and specification.
  5. 2 grades of construction to offer different options for weight, stiffness and durability, to suit the different needs of Dragon Boat crews at all levels.