This page provides the latest information on the Covid-19 impact on our sport. It was last updated on 10th May 2021.

Following the government's announcement of the gradual relaxing of restrictions associated with the Coronavirus pandemic, a return to outdoor organised sport can now occur.

Following the government announcement that restrictions are easing for outdoor sports the BDA is moving to Phase 3 of our Return to Training Plan on the 17th May 2021 (full 20 person boat, and the ability to use 10 person boats). We will continue to monitor whether we need to seek permission to phases 4 and 5 or whether the government timeline out of Covid-19 restrictions will make that unnecessary.

Clubs are reminded that the exemption to the numbers of people who may gather only apply during actual training sessions. Paddlers must comply with social distancing and limits on group numbers at all other times.  Clubs should remind themselves of the BDA Return to Training Guidance and ensure that all measures are in place.  All other training such as O1 training or indoor training is subject to the Government's regulations applicable at the time.

For more information on individual training guidance please check the Government website.

Some very useful information is available on the Sport England website too


Return to Training Plan

In August the BDA had a plan approved by the Government Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for a safe return to paddling for BDA member clubs. This agreed plan allowed clubs to be exempted from some of the restrictions placed by the Government.

The Return to Training plan has five phases: CURRENT PHASE: PHASE TWO

Please note this exemption only applied to training by BDA affiliated clubs and there is no exemption to the "rule of six" for any other dragon boat activity. Please read our statement here for non-BDA clubs.

Paddlers should not mingle in groups of more than six before and after the activity. For more information please see the government website "Coronavirus Outbreak FAQs:what you can and can't do".

All sports clubs are required to display an official NHS QR code to support NHS Test and Trace. This does not replace any other requirement associated with recording members attendance as set out in the BDA return to training guidance. You can read more about these requirements here and create your QR code here.  Clubs should discuss this with the premises where they are based and decide whether it is appropriate for this to be provided for the premises as a whole or for the dragon boat club as a separate entity.  This will depend on the amount of mixing between different groups on the premises.

The BDA return to training plan sets out 5 phases. Please check the Return to Training page for more details and what the current phase we are in is.

Phase 1—a return to training in a dragon boat, but with only 8 paddlers and a helm in a 20-person dragon boat.  This will allow for greater distance between the paddlers.  No race events including inter-club races would take place during this stage.

Phase 2—a return to training with a crew of up to 14 paddlers and a helm in a 20-person dragon boat.  No race events including inter-club races would take place during this stage.

Phase 3—a return to training with a full crew of 20 paddlers and a helm in a 20-person dragon boat.  No race events including inter-club races would take place during this stage.  10-person dragon boats would be re-introduced at this stage with no restriction on the number of paddlers providing the paddler spacing in a small boat exceeds that in a 20-person boat.

For Phases 1 to 3 clubs would be training in their home locations as a single club, ie no mixing of members from different clubs.   Clubs may choose to have more than one boat on the water at any one time providing they can comply with the requirements for social distancing on land and during boat launch and recovery.

Phase 4—a limited return to racing between a small number of clubs, the numbers allowed would be based on Government guidance on groups sizes that is current at the time.  This phase would also see the return to training in dragon boats of GB crews, resulting in the mixing of paddlers from different clubs.  Drummers would also be permitted.

Phase 5—a return to racing without restriction.  This would require the relaxation of Government guidance on group sizes of up to around 500 people.

All clubs should be aware that there is a requirement for clubs to submit action plans and risk assessments before they can start training again. There is also be a requirement for some element of Track and Trace. We will be managing all these submissions through our new Membership Platform.  All clubs should therefore ensure that they are registered on the platform and that they have appointed Club Admins who have been trained.  Clubs will not be able to return to training until this is done.

Please contact Chris Bailey ( and advise the names of your Club Admins if you havent already done so.

Club Training

The return to dragon boat racing will be managed in five phases and requires action from both BDA clubs and individuals before they are able to return to training.  All clubs should be aware that there is a requirement for clubs to submit action plans and risk assessments before they can start training again.

Please go to our return to training page for details on what clubs and individuals need to do before they are able to return to the water.

a) Dragon boat training

Dragon Boat Training can resume up to Phase Two of our Return to Training plan.

b) O1 Training

Club O1 activities can take place as along as paddlers feel it is safe to do so. A new O1 policy has been published, which can be viewed in our policy section here.

c) Other Club Training

Please ensure you are aware of what you are able to do as some indoor and some outdoor activity is not allowed. Please check what this means and whether that could impact on your ability to conduct other club training.

More Information

Please ensure you stay up-to-date on advice on the NHS website:

Sport England have further information

You can access information on how to maintain good hygiene when training from the Sport England website:


Further Club Information

We would remind clubs that the BDA is here to support you. If you require support or help in some way, please contact the Executive Committee and we can discuss further:

GB squad/British National Training Squad(BNTS)

We are continuing to advise that all GB/BNTS training squads stop their group training activities.

The current status of the EDBF European Nations Championships and IDBF World Club Crews championships in 2020 is available via the IDBF website and the EDBF bulletin. Both events have been postponed from 2020.

BDA Events

The 2020 BDA Club and Racing Leagues have been set to null and void.   The National Championships have also been cancelled.


Useful links:

Government Advice

NHS Advice

Sports England Advice

IDBF update