This page provides the latest information on the Covid-19 impact on our sport. It was last updated on 24th September 2020 following updated guidance from the UK Government.

Outdoor sport organised under national governing body guidance continues to be exempt from the "rule of six". Based on this BDA Clubs may return to training as set out in our Return to Training plan and guidance.

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".

From 24 September, 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.

From 24 September, indoor organised sport for over 18s is now subject to the ‘rule of six’. Groups of adults within club gyms or other indoor training facilities should be limited to groups of no larger than six. Clubs may have more than one group within an area of the club providing the different groups do not mix. There is an exemption to this rule for disabled people and under 18s.

The BDA return to training plan sets out 5 phases, with Phase 1 starting in October:

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

In line with Government advice on staying active the BDA advises paddlers to continue, where possible, with individual training activities. Paddlers should keep in mind government guidelines on preventing the spread of the virus including travelling and travel restrictions, “social distancing” and good hygiene when taking part in any activities.

a) Dragon boat training

We have had a plan to resume dragon boat training accepted by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Before clubs and individuals are able to return to training they need to take action. Please go to our Return to Training section for details on what action needs to be taken and the process for doing this. There is also an all clubs Zoom Meeting on the 14th September to describe the plan and to answer any questions not covered in the documentation. Please sign up here.

b) O1 Training

Following on from a lifting of some restrictions on small group activities and travel we have issued guidance where the use of training in an O1 could be considered. 

For details of the guidance please go to our policy documents subsection, or click on the document here.

BDA O1 Coronavirus Guidelines V2.1   (*V2.1 updated 2nd June 2020)


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

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