Redland Sea Dragons
What is dragon boating?
A dragon boat is a long (approx 12 metres) and narrow canoe style boat used in the team paddling sport.
For racing events, dragon boats are always rigged with decorative Chinese dragon heads and tails and are required to carry a large drum aboard.
The standard crew 22, comprising 20 paddlers in pairs facing toward the bow of the boat, one drummer or caller at the bow facing toward the paddlers and one steerer or sweep at the rear of the boat
The drummer and drumming
The drummer or a caller leads the crew throughout a race with the rhythmic beating of a drum to indicate the timing and frequency of paddling strokes (that is, the cadence, picking up the pace, slowing the rate, etc.)
The caller may issue commands to the crew voice calls, and generally exhorts the crew to perform at their peak. A caller/drummer is mandatory during racing events, but if he or she is not present during training, it is typical for the steerer to direct the crew.
The paddlers sit facing forwards, and use a specific type of paddle. The leading pair of paddlers, called "strokes," set the pace for the team.
It is critical that all paddlers are synchronized. Each paddler should synchronize with the paddler diagonally in front of them. This ensures that the paddling pace is balanced and all energy is spent on moving the boat forward. The direction of the dragon boat is set by the helm, not the paddlers. The lead paddlers are responsible for synchronizing themselves.
The sweep, known also as the coxswain, helm, steersman, steersperson, steerer, or tiller, controls the dragon boat with a steering oar similar in function to a tiller, which is mounted at the rear of the boat.
The steerer may work with the drummer to call out commands during a race. The responses of the oar are opposite to the direction they take - if the steerer pulls the oar right, or into the boat, the boat will turn left, and if they push out, or left, the boat turns right.
During a race, an experienced steerer will be able to steer the dragon boat effectively according to the wind, the wake of other boats, and other factors to achieve optimum speed.
The steerer must constantly be aware of the boat's surroundings. The steerer has the power to override the caller at any time during the race (or the coach during practice) if the safety of the crew is threatened in any way.
(Acknowledgments to Wikipedia)