Practice Information

Once you’ve registered for the 2019 Big Blue Dragon Boat Festival, it’s time to think about getting wet!

Scheduling for team practices means more opportunities for your team to practice even earlier in preparation for race day!

Of course, you probably have a lot of questions about how that works.

Instructions on how to schedule a practice will be shared with captains at a later date.


Team Captains: Schedule Your Practice

Each team is required to complete one practice prior to race day. You can also purchase additional practices. Practice times are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note: Only the team captain can schedule practices using our online reservation system.

  • Step 1 – View the instructions on how to get started using our online practice scheduling system.
  • Step 2 – View available practices dates and select and reserve a time(s) for your team.

Any teams wishing to purchase an additional practice should contact the La Crosse Paddling Club. Practice dates and times will be mutually agreed upon based on availability.

Individual practices are available for purchase for $150 each; 5-practice packages are also available for $625 (a total savings of $125). Please mail payment at least 5 business days in advance of your practice(s) to: La Crosse Paddling Club, 425 State Street, P.O. Box 84, La Crosse, WI 54602-0084.

To change or cancel a practice

Please call or text 608-792-4040 if you need to change or cancel your practice.

  • If you do need to cancel or change a practice, please notify us at least 24 hours in advance. We won’t be able to provide refunds but you will be able to reschedule your practice with no additional fee.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before a scheduled practice, we will not be able to provide a refund nor will we be able to guarantee an opportunity to reschedule.

All Paddlers: Prepare for Your Practice

Practice Arrival

Be sure to choose a time when all team members can attend your team practice. Even seasoned paddlers need at least one practice with the team. Each person must also complete a waiver. Completion of waivers will be verified.

Please arrive 30 minutes prior to the practice start time. The boat will push off at the scheduled time and won’t wait or return for latecomers. Note that a steersperson, coach and equipment will be provided.

What to Bring

Paddles and personal flotation devices (PFDs) will be provided, but feel free to bring your own if you prefer. U.S. Coast Guard approved inflatable waist PFDs are allowed. Also be sure to bring:

  • Sunscreen
  • Water Bottle
  • Comfortable, clothing and footwear that can get wet (Aqua shoes, Crocs with heel straps and old tennis shoes work well. No flip flops are allowed.)
  • Optional: Seat cushion or Dragon Saddle (a gardening knee pad works well when covered with a nonslip shelf liner).

Who to Bring

It’s important for ALL team members to practice together at least once. An experienced steersperson and coach will be provided for you for practice sessions. Teams can provide their own experienced steersperson, with prior approval, if he or she has had previous steering experience in a dragon boat race.

Practice Etiquette

  • Prior to arriving, be sure to review basic safety guidelines and dragon boat commands.
  • Arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled start time.
  • Always listen to and promptly obey your steersperson’s commands.
  • No alcohol is allowed before or during practices.
  • All paddlers at practice are expected to listen to a safety briefing and orientation before getting on the water.

If there is bad weather at your practice time

Practices will occur if it’s raining, If there is thunder or lightening, practices will be rescheduled. If you’re already on the water when these conditions arise, the steersperson will return to shore as quickly as possible. If a practice needs to be rescheduled, the practice coordinator will work with you to schedule a new time.

Decisions to cancel due to forecasted weather will be made at least two hours before a scheduled practice. If a practice is cancelled due to weather, the practice coordinator will alert your team captain. In that event, you will be able to reschedule without any additional fee.


Practice Location

Practice sessions will be held at the Clinton Street Boat Ramp. (Take Clinton Street west towards French Island. You will see the ramp after crossing the Black River)

Enter the boat ramp/park area (Boathouse Drive). Do not park in the paved area near the boat landing. Continue heading south to the space where you will see the Dragon Boat storage area (look for the chain link fenced area with trailers). Restrooms are located in the small raised building you will pass on the way to the boat storage area.

Practice Site Map