Dragon Boat Dimensions – Best Dimensions for Boat Racing


The dragon boat dimensions are critical. The dimensions of the boat—its length, width, and height—have a significant impact on how well it performs in dragon boat races.

A dragon boat may be any length you like. A lot depends on how many paddlers you have and what kind of boat you have. Smaller teams may use shorter boats, but 12 to 14 meters (40 to 42 feet) is the typical length for a dragon boat.

10 paddlers sit in the standard dragon boat’s 10 seats, a drummer sits in the bow, and the steers-person stands in the boat’s rear with a long wooden paddle. It’s possible to swap out the dragon boat’s head and tail. There’s also a longer, 10-person version that’s 30 feet in length.

Dragon Boat Dimensions 

Especially among traditional Chinese boatbuilders, the specifications of manufactured dragon boats might vary slightly. (In the past, most masters avoided using blueprints or detailed plans.)

Therefore, boats from various area events will vary. The following dimensions for a “medium-sized” boat are taken from HKDBA publications for use in regional and worldwide competitions and are provided for informational purposes only.

The boats used in the Stanley Races are of a moderate size. In some regions, fishermen often compete in “big-sized” (50 person) dragon boats, while “small dragons” (8 paddlers +1 steerer, typically built of fiberglass) are used by women. (They are commonly referred to as “baby dragon boats” by visiting teams from other countries. Even larger boats are sometimes employed in mainland China for show races.

Dragon Boat Dimensions
Dragon Boat Dimensions
  • Length: 11.66 m (38’10”) Width: 1.06 m (3’6″) Depth: 43.18 cm (17″) Dragon Boat Specifications: * Material: Teak wood * Length: 11.66 m (38’10”) 
  • Camphor wood * Dragon boat prow and stern 
  • Length of Paddle: 105–130 cm  
  • G18 cm for the blade, G10 cm for the handle (T grip).

What’s the point of using a dragon boat?

Companies and banks frequently promote and sponsor dragon boat paddling and racing because of the positive effects it has on employee morale and team spirit. It’s likely that many of the evening paddlers you see were putting in long hours at the office throughout the day. 

It’s a great way to get in shape while hanging out with friendly, like-minded people in a relaxing setting. 

Depending on your preference, there may be several tiers of competition. Many paddlers do so for recreation alone. There are various competitions available for those who enjoy racing.

Global schedule of Dragon boat races 

Charity is typically at the heart of dragon boat activities and races, which double as fundraisers. Many Dragon Boat teams are made up of people who have survived breast cancer.

The structure of a modern dragon boat 

Dragon boats were historically crafted from wood, and some are still constructed today using traditional methods. These boats, however, are used more for ceremonial purposes than competitive racing.

These days, plywood and fiber-glass hybrids are more frequently found. Fiber-glass boats are widely used, and some of them are made with cutting-edge machinery. Wood is commonly used as a finish.

Modern Dragon Boats retain the flat, plank-like sides of their traditional ancestors since they were also initially constructed from wood boards.

Dragon Boat Dimensions
Dragon Boat Dimensions

Races in Dragon Boats  

It is the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) that officially recognizes modern dragon boat racing.

Paddlers for dragon boats often train indoors on paddling machines or in swimming pools to supplement their time on the water.

Sprint events at a festival are often several hundred meters long, with the 500-meter distance being the most prevalent.

The 200-, 1,000-, and 2,000-meter distances are all often used in international competition.

Other distances, such as 100 or 250 meters, may also be used in local celebrations, depending on the size of the body of water.


A 40-foot traditional dragon boat contains 10 seats for 20 paddlers, a standing steers-person with a long wooden paddle in the back, and a drummer in the bow.  

The smallest dragon boat is 7.8 meters long and holds 5 people; the largest is 19 meters long and holds 42 people.

Dragon Boat racing is not an Olympic event, but it was included as a demonstration sport in Tokyo 2020 to get medal status.

Including rear deck extensions, length is measured from the bow tip to the stern of the leisure ship in a straight line. Bow sprits, rudders, outboard motors and motor brackets, handles, and other fittings and accessories are not measured.


The optimal performance of a dragon boat requires precise measurements. The excitement of dragon boat racing, with its foundation in tradition and collaboration, continues to fascinate participants of all ages and walks of life.

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