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FAQ's



When can practices be booked?

Practices for the season may be booked starting January 15th* (Please see our booking policy for important information about booking your practices). When you are ready to book practices please send an email to: dragon@rideaucanoeclub.ca indicating your team name and your requested coaching level. If you are registered for the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival please include your team number as well. After March 5th your information will be entered into our on-line registration system and you will be sent a password so that you can login to book all of your practices. If you would like to request practice times prior to March 5th these must be sent by email. The on-line booking system can be found at: http://dragonboat.rideaucanoeclub.ca/jsp/Login.jsp. If you would like to look at current availabilities you may do so at the following link: http://dragonboat.rideaucanoeclub.ca/jsp/availabilitiesro.jsp. Please note that while you may book practices without submitting payment your practices are not confirmed until payment is received. If you are in jeopardy of losing your practice bookings because you have not paid you will be notified by email and given 2 days to respond.

When do practices take place and what are the standard days and times?
Practices for the season begin the first week of May (weather dependent) and end the third week of October. Our standard booking times are: 
Weekdays - 6am, 7am, 5pm, 5:30pm, 6pm, 6:30pm, 7pm, 7:30pm, and 8pm 
Weekends - 8am, 9am, 10:10am, 11:15am, 12:30pm, 1:35pm, and 2:40pm

If you would like a time during the day on weekdays or weekends please send an email to: dragon@rideaucanoeclub.ca and we will see if this is possible. 

*Note During May and September we often slightly adjust our evening practices times to accommodate sunlight conditions.

How much do practices cost?

Practice Fees can be found on the practice fees page.

What are coaching levels?

Each coach is assigned a coaching level based on years of experience. Coaching levels are determined by the number of practices/years that a coach has coached in our dragon boat program. There are four levels of coaching including Development (Dev), Junior (Jun), Senior (Sen), and Veteran (Vet). When you register your team you need to indicate the level of coach you would like. All of our coaches are excellent. 

Coaching Levels:
The following descriptions provide general guidelines that may help you in selecting a coach for your dragon boat season.

Development (Dev) - Coach is new to our program
Intermediate (Int) - Coach with 1-3 years of experience with our program
Senior (Sen) - Coach with 3-5 years of experience
Veteran (Vet) - Coach has 5+ years experience

What happens if a coach is double booked?

In the case where 2 or more teams book a specific coach the team who has paid for their session(s) first will take precedence.

What is your cancellation policy?

A team may cancel a practice without charge if 48 notice is given. If 24 hours notice is given the charge is $25 and full price is charged if less than 24 hours notice is given.

How do we pay for practices?

(Under Review) Payments can be made by cash or cheque. Cheque is the preferred method of payment but cash will be accepted. Cheques should be made out to 'Rideau Canoe Club' and sent to the following address:

Rideau Canoe Club - Dragon Boat
804 Hogs Back Road
Ottawa, ON
K2C 0B1

After your practices are booked you will receive an invoice by email within a few weeks. We ask that payment for any extra practices be made before your first practice. If you require a receipt for practices please send an email to dragon@rideaucanoeclub.ca and one will be provided.

How long are practices?

Practices are 55 minutes in length. Longer practices may be booked but they are subject to additional charges. We ask that you arrive about 15 minutes before your practice start time so that we are able to get on the water on time. In the case where members of the team are late, the practice will still end at the scheduled time. Most coaches will coach several sessions over the course of an evening so if your coach is not present when you arrive please do not worry they will find your group once the prior session is completed.

Is there a clinic where our steersperson can learn how to steer?

Yes. The Rideau Canoe Club will host two steering clinics where steerspeople can come out and get one on one attention from experienced coaches. The cost to attend each clinic is $10/person. The clinics will take place at the Rideau Canoe Club on May 28th and June 4th from 3:00pm to 4:30pm. If you would like to reserve your spot now please do so by filling out the form at the following link:

Register for steering clinic - Registration Open for 2017!


If you are interested in helping out by lending a hand to paddle during the steersperson training sessions please sign up below. There is no cost and you will get some time out on the water!

Register to paddle during Steersperson clinic - Registration Open for 2017!

Is there a clinic for drummers?

Yes. The Rideau Canoe Club will host two drummers clinics where drummers can come out and get tips about calling the race. Topics discussed will be commands, race strategy, etc. Below is a document to help drummers. It includes a variety of information related to drumming as well as information for the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival. This document is being updated regularly with more information. The clinic will take 45 minutes and will take place on May 28th and June 4th at 4:00pm. Registration is not required. Simply show up at the canoe club at 4:00pm. Please note there will be a $5 fee to participate.

Where do the practices take place?

The location of practices is at the Rideau Canoe Club. The Rideau Canoe Club's address is 804 Hogs Back Road close to Prince of Wales Drive. It is right beside the Hogs Back locks. You can see a white building as you are driving down Hogs Back Drive.

View Map

Where do we find our coach?

If you are practising during non peak season (May, July, August) your coach will be able to find you as there are very few teams on site. Generally teams assemble on the hill (you will see this hill when you arrive for the first time) and the coach will come to you and introduce him/herself. During the peak season (June) when you arrive there will be a few boards posted which show teams and the area they should report to. There are 3 areas. The area number you are assigned does not correspond to the boat number. Your team should assemble in the area they've been assigned on the board and then your coach will meet you in that area. Often times coaches are coaching a group right before your session so coaches will get off the boat and come directly to meet you.

When should my team arrive at the practice site?

Teams should arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start time of their practice. Make sure to allow yourself enough time to assemble your team. During the core festival training period (month of June) there will be a many dragonboats at the Rideau Canoe Club. In order to determine which boat you are practising in please talk to one of the staff members (identified with festival T-shirts) or check the signs which indicate your corresponding area. Once you determine your area proceed to the area and your coach will meet you there.

What should I wear to practices?

When attending practices you should make sure to dress appropriately. You will get wet during these practices so try to choose clothes which are quick to dry. T-shifts and shorts typically work best.

Where do we park?

Please click HERE to view parking options.

Do I need to bring anything to practices?

Paddles and life jackets are provided but you may bring your own life jacket if you prefer. Due to the nature of the sport we also recommend teams bring water with them to drink during the practice, particularly on very hot days.

If it is raining are practices cancelled?

No. Practices are not cancelled if there is rain. The only situation where a practice may be cancelled is in the case of lightning 
directly over the practice area. The decision to go on the water or not go on the water are made on site at the time of the practice.

Only in the case of lightning will a practice be delayed and/or cancelled. The maximum amount of time we will delay a practice in the case of lightning is 15 minutes at which time we cancel the session. In the case a team is not able to get on the water, the charge for the session will remain on the team's account; however, the team will have the opportunity to book a make-up session at no charge. Credits for cancelled sessions due to lightning are not refundable or transferable and make-up sessions must be booked during the current season.

TIM HORTONS OTTAWA DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL SPECIFIC QUESTIONS

Do we need a steersperson?
Every team must provide a steersperson for the race. Steering is not an easy task and we recommend that you appoint someone who has some canoeing or sailing experience (if possible). Steerspeople will be given instruction during the practice sessions but it is highly recommended that they attend at least one of the steering clinics.

If we really can't find a steersperson what do we do?
If you are finding it difficult to find a steersperson you are able to rent a steersperson for $26 per practice and/or $35 per race (+ HST). If you would like to rent a steersperson for the festival you can request one by contacting us at: dragon@rideaucanoeclub.caIf you feel that you are going to need a steersperson for the race please contact us in advance. Steerspeople are provided on first come first serve basis. Fees for steering will be added to your team account for practices and for races. A portion of the costs ($10) goes towards a reserve fund to cover damage costs to the equipment when a hired steersperson breaks equipment (in 2016 we were charged $3253.14 CAD for damages). This is the reasoning for the increase in fees ($25 -> $35). In order to be covered for damages payment must be made through the club and a coach cannot be directly paid. If a team pays a coach directly and there is damage to the boat the team is responsible to pay all fees.

Are drummers available for hire?
Drummers may also be hired. Typically teams will only hire a drummer for races. The cost for drummers is $30 per race (+ HST). Please contact dragon@rideaucanoeclub.ca in advance of the festival. Fees for drumming will be added to your team account for races on the Saturday. Should you advance to Sunday you will pay the coach directly at the time of the race.

How many practices are included with the festival registration?
When you register for the Ottawa Festival you receive 2 free practices. These practices must be taken during the month of June.