Dragon Boating

*Note: An orientation is required for new paddlers. CLICK HERE to register and receive more information. 

If you are looking for a team activity that allows you to get away from it all without leaving the city, get a total body workout, and enjoy the camaraderie of a great group of women, come see what dragon boating is all about and why it continues to be the fastest growing water sport in the world.

Become a Member

Becoming a member is free and a required first step to taking part in our programs.

Learn More

Dragon boating is a team sport that is appropriate for all fitness levels. No experience is required, and equipment is provided. Because we are all moving the boat together, beginners are able to rest when needed and still stay with the group. Coaches, captains, and experienced Survivor paddlers teach and support each other. A full boat consists of 20 paddlers, plus a tiller and a caller. 

Our team, Survivor SAKE, paddles under the umbrella organization Seattle SAKE Paddling Club. New paddlers can join three practices before deciding to become a member of SAKE, which requires a reduced annual $90 membership fee. Scholarships are available to those who need financial assistance – contact Beatriz at operations@teamsurvivornw.org to apply.

Racing is an exciting part of the dragon boating program. We work hard at our practices to build the endurance and technique required to work as a synchronized unit.  Those that want to participate in races will be expected to try to make most practices. Races are all-day events, usually on Saturdays. Most of the races are in the Puget Sound area, but we often select one overnight race each season at a bigger festival in locations such as Portland, Vancouver, or Victoria. All races are optional, but encouraged.

Intensity Level

moderate to high

Moderate to High


Practice Days/Times

Practices are currently held twice a week in Seattle and are led by fabulous volunteer coaches and captains with many years of Dragon Boating experience. 

  • Saturdays 8:30 AM 
  • Tuesdays 6:00 PM 
Steps to Join

For this program, you must be “cleared” by both TSNW and Club SAKE. Click on “Join Dragon Boating” above to complete the TSNW steps (free membership, medical release, COVID booster). Then, you will also need to register on the Club SAKE website as a visitor and agree to the terms of the insurance liability waiver: https://www.clubsake.com/home/. Also send a photo of your COVID vaccination card to coach Lisa Harkins: communications@clubsake.com

COVID Protocols

COVID information is located on the Club SAKE website. Please stay up to date by reviewing the site.

  • You are required to do a Health Self-Check before coming to practice. Stay home if you have any symptoms of illness.
  • Check in with the Health Coach when you get to practice. The Health Coach will have the TSNW sign in sheet.
  • Please bring a mask with you to practice. We have some members who are vulnerable and at times, you may be asked to wear a mask even though we are outside.
  • Please be respectful of teammates’ choices to wear a mask or not.
  • Masks will be mandatory when Coach Charlene is at practice.
RSVP For Each Practice

Paddlers need to RSVP for each practice on the club website the day before practice: https://www.clubsake.com/home/. Your RSVP allows coaches and captains to plan a great practice; at times, we may take out a smaller boat or plan to take out two boats depending on how many people RSVP. If you have RSVP’d and are not able to attend, a text message to the captains is required. If you forget to sign up, you can also text the coaches the day before practice to see if they are looking for paddlers to fill cancellation spots. You will not be able to get on the boat if you show up without RSVPing. 

Getting On the Boat

We suggest you plan to get to practice early, especially during the summer when parking can be tricky. If you are running late, please text both captains to let them know. If you are just a few minutes late you will miss the warmups, but late by 10-15 minutes, there is a good chance that you will miss the boat. Communication with the captains is key!

If weather conditions are not favorable, we will cancel. We try to make these decisions prior to people driving all the way to Leschi but it is not always possible. Bring a pair of sneakers just in case as sometimes if we can’t paddle, we will take a brisk walk together by the lake. 

While Dragon Boating is not really a contact sport, we do sit two ladies to a bench and some of the benches are a tight squeeze! You can expect that you will be rubbing elbows, touching legs and at times in very close proximity with your bench mate. When you exit the boat, we have a process that involves a forearm-to-forearm connection to exit the boat. This is a safety procedure in place for all to exit gracefully without losing balance. 


The club provides PFDs and paddles. Our equipment manager will give you information on how to purchase your own should you decide to do so after falling in love with paddling!

What to Wear
  • Survivor SAKE is scent free – please do not wear perfume or clothing with strong laundry odors.
  • Athletic gear that you can move in and layers to regulate body temp.
  • Tights, tops, socks that are made from moisture-wicking materials like polyester, spandex, nylon, bamboo, wool are best.
  • Closed-toe shoes with rubber soles like Keens are great. A pair of sneakers or rain boots work just fine.
  • Rain gear like a light jacket and rain pants are helpful.
  • Hat, sunglasses, gloves (gardening gloves work well!)
  • Cotton is not the best, when wet from water or perspiration can increase the risk of hypothermia in the cold months of paddling.
“I joined TSNW just a few weeks after I finished treatment. I felt so fragile and the women I met just understood what I been through. During my first class, they made me laugh about having no hair. I have been out of treatment for over 7 years now and am happy to say that I am stronger than I was before I was diagnosed. I am so proud to be on a Dragon Boat team with four women in their 80s who inspire me to keep at it so that I can have an old age and be like them. We don’t talk about having a positive attitude. The members just live it.”

Team Survivor Member

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