Original document date: 22 November  2018
This version: Version 2
Version date: 11 December  2018
Next due for review: 11 December  2019


To ensure the safety of members by ensuring they are appropriate monitored by a qualified and endorsed coach during training sessions and that all training sessions are planned with the safety and welfare of the paddlers in mind.


The club is committed to ensuring the safety of members at all times.

This policy has been developed taking into account the AusDBF Coaches Accreditation and Currency bulletin of 29th September, 2018 which states:

As from 1st October 2018 it is mandatory that all Dragon Boat Clubs affiliated with AusDBF via member states only engage AusDBF Dragon Boat coaches/ trainers that have current Dragon Boat Coaching accreditation to undertake coaching and training activities.

Current accreditation also includes:

  • Current signed code of conduct.
  • Current senior first aid certificate.
  • Current working with Children clearance (WWCC mandatory for all coaches)

Under the AusDBF Public Liability and Personal Accident Insurance Policy wording it states:

2.3.21 Qualified Instructors or Qualified Coach means an individual who has obtained recognised qualifications or accreditation in a particular activity or specialist occupation which allows them to supervise and train in that activity or occupation.

The insurance company’s view is that if a club is knowingly engaging a coach/trainer that isn’t accredited or accreditation has expired then they are accepting responsibility for any liability.

Further, regarding sweeps taking on the task of coaching a training run, AusDBF states:

As long as the training session plans etc have been compiled and explained to the sweep by an accredited coach currently engaged by the club it is OK. However, this is to be treated as a seldom scenario and not ongoing.

The following considerations have also been taken into account:

That “coaching” is a different activity than “calling” a run.

  • Calling a run simply means providing the instructions outlined in the session plan. This includes what the activity is and the duration or number of repeats.
  • Coaching is providing group and/or individual instructions, describing the purpose and intended outcome of an activity, monitoring technique, monitoring the physical response of crew members to the activity, making alterations to the session based on observations and/or feedback from the crew.

Although sweeps may have a first aid qualification, they cannot administer first aid and get the boat to shore at the same time. Hence, having a first aid qualified coach on board is an important element in the Club’s Risk Management Strategy.

During intensive training sessions paddlers should be monitored by a coach to determine the effectiveness of the activities and to plan appropriate subsequent sessions.

During non-intensive training sessions paddlers should be monitored by a coach to ensure those returning from injury, new to paddling or with ongoing medical conditions are responding appropriately to the session activities and to make adjustments as required during the session.

During training sessions with new and inexperienced members the paddlers should be monitored by a coach to ensure they are learning a safe paddling technique that both reduces the risk of injury and maximises paddling effectiveness.

In case of an incident involving capsize, the coach is the backup for the sweep in terms of ensuring the safety of the crew.


The Executive is responsible for ensuring this policy is readily accessible by all members.

Coaches and sweeps are responsible for regularly reviewing this policy and recommending amendments as required.

Coaches and sweeps are responsible for adhering to this policy for all Club training sessions.


  1. No single boat should go on the water without a Club endorsed sweep and under the instruction of an endorsed coach, not necessarily on board.
  2. The coach is responsible for conducting the training session including giving instructions to the crew. It is permissible but not common practice for the accredited coach to be the sweep of the boat. Sweeps who are not accredited coaches should not be asked to take on this role. If the coach does sweep the boat it is advisable to have another accredited coach on the boat.
  3. The sweep is responsible for the safety of the boat and all persons on board. The sweep will take control of the boat when leaving and returning to shore, when asked by the coach or when necessary to ensure boat and crew safety.
  4. At all times the coach and sweep will show respect for each other’s role in the boat.
  5. Trainee coaches and/or sweeps must be under the supervision of a mentor as per the Coach Training procedure and/or Sweep Training Procedure.
  6. Coaches must be sitting on the front of the boat, observing the crew during come and try, school students, sessions for new paddlers and specific sessions designated for technique work. On low intensity runs the preferred position for the coach is on the front of the boat unless the coach believes it is safe and appropriate to coach from a different position.
  7. In high/medium intensity sessions, the coach may call the run from a paddling position.
  8. Two boats may be CONDITIONALLY coached by the one coach using the same session plan.

Conditions being:

  • There is an accredited sweep willing to take the second boat.
  • There is an accredited coach on one of the boats willing to conduct the session. The preference would be for another coach to be on the second boat.
  • The numbers of paddlers on each boat are within the club’s set limits.
  • The session is set for one level of intensity.

2018 Coach in boat policy V2