The Bahamas to host 2nd annual dragon boat festival

The Bahamas to host 2nd annual dragon boat festival
Photo courtesy of the Bahamas Chinese Dragon Boat Association

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The 2nd Annual Dragon Boat Festival is slated to take place 30 September – 1 October, 2023, at Goodman’s Bay in Nassau, Bahamas.

The announcement was made jointly by the Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation and The Bahamas Chinese Dragon Boat Association.

“Building on the resounding success of the Inaugural Bahamas Dragon Boat Festival held in August 2022, this year’s event promises to be even more exhilarating and engaging,” a statement read.

“The organizers, who recently attended the Pan American Club Crew Championships in Panama, have extended invitations to nearly 90 dragon boat teams from various countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago, all of whom have expressed keen interest in participating in The Bahamas’ second edition of the Dragon Boat Festival.”

Last year, 21 teams participated in the inaugural event, which originated in ancient China. The organizers, who called the event “the fastest growing water sport in the world,” are optimistic about an even larger turnout this year.

Excited participants at the 2022 festival. 

Teams compete in Dragon Boats, which are large canoe-like vessels outfitted with ornately carved dragons’ heads and tails and accommodate 14-person teams consisting of 10 paddlers, 1 drummer, 1 helmsperson, and 2 persons in reserve.

The paddlers sit in pairs to compete over distances of 200m, 500m and more. Each boat has a drummer beating time to keep the paddlers stroking in unison, and the helmsperson guiding the boat focused.  

“Set against our crystal blue waters, the Dragon Boat Festival symbolizes a vibrant fusion of cultures, competition, and camaraderie,” said Director General Latia Duncombe of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation.

“It is a celebration of our Chinese-Bahamian community but also an invitation for visitors to delve into the richness of Bahamian heritage found on our shores. As the global teams gather, we revel in tradition, sportsmanship, and the allure of our islands.”

The races will be held in multiple categories, catering to diverse groups, including Under 18, Under 24, Breast Cancer Survivors, All Cancer Survivors, Open, and Seniors.

Individual registration is also available for paddlers interested in joining a team and participating in the event which is being supported by Dai Qingli, Ambassador of The People’s Republic of China to The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

Proceeds from the festival will reportedly be contributed to the Cancer Society of The Bahamas.