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

Following the government announcement that restrictions are easing in England on 19th July, the BDA is standing down its Return to Training plan. This means that there are no longer restrictions placed on clubs by us, however our Coronavirus guidance and risk assessments are still available on our Return to Training page to use..


  • Clubs and members should remember that while restrictions have eased, they should continue to implement good practise in terms of personal hygiene and trying to reduce the potential for spreading the virus. You should only return to normal conditions when you feel you are comfortable and it is right to do so for your club.


  • Clubs and members should remember that the virus is still with us and the nature of our sport means it is potentially a riskier activity than most. Clubs and members should continue to proceed with caution and follow government and NHS advice.


  • Clubs may wish to display an official NHS QR code to support NHS Test and Trace. You can read more about NHS test and Trace 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.
Please continue to monitor UK Government advice:
Check the NHS wesbite for what you should look out for, and what you should do if you or someone in your club comes into contact with the virus

Sport England also has a good breakdown on the current situation as well as links to other types of support, including funding.

Return to Training Plan


In August 2020 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The Return to Training plan has five phases: CURRENT PHASE: NO LONGER ACTIVE

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:

BDA Events

We are looking to run three main events in 2021. The National Championships and A Northern and Southern Regional regatta event. Details will be available on this as soon as possible, bearing in mind that these events may change or be cancelled at short notice depending on the situation.

Useful links:

Government Advice

NHS Advice

Sports England Advice

IDBF update