Rules of procession in the V&A Canal precinct

complied September 2009, in conjunction with V&A Harbour master Steven Bentley



  1. All dragonboats should proceed around the spa islands in a clockwise direction
    This is contrary to the fixed rule of always proceeding in an anticlockwise direction in the Marina and Alfred Basins and applies only to the area around the spa islands in the canal. This is because yachts and motorboats exit the lock and have to turn immediately to port (left) towards the first white bridge (Gulmarn Bridge). If paddle-craft approach the lock following a clockwise route, it will give room to manoever in the lock vicinity and avoid tight-water with any drifting yachts and power-boats awaiting the Marina Lock opening.
  2. All boats must keep hard to starboard on the entire length of the canal system,
    from the first bridge, Gulmarn Bridge (point X on the picture below) keep right, especially when approaching any corners.
  3. Pass oncoming boats in the canal to starboard,
    with oncoming yachts and boats going past on the dragon boat's port side.
  4. Should a faster boat be proceeding in the same direction, keep hard to starboard (right) to give them free water in the centre of the canal to pass you on your port side (left).
    Have paddlers ready to fend, should the overtaking boat be creating any wake.
    Allow for overtaking on the straight portions of the canal and not on the bends.
    An overtaking boat must take the precautions and pass safely.
    Sweeps may wave to signal okay to overtake, or show a stop hand to prevent a boat from overtaking.
  5. All noise must be kept to an absolute minimum in the residential area,
    ie from the Dock Road bridge (S) near the circle to the One-&-Only Hotel.
    • Sweeps' instructions and counting must be quiet and discrete.
    • There must be no shouting from the paddlers.
    • No drumming is allowed in this area.
  6. A short sharp whistle at blind spots is acceptable, as safety on the water is paramount.
  7. It is not permitted to climb out of the dragon boat and enter any residential or hotel areas.

This is the most expensive real estate in Africa and we are very privileged to be allowed to paddle here.
Please respect this privilege & behave with dignity & decorum, in a manner that the WCDBA can be proud of you.
Any clubs reported to be making a disturbance in this area will be banned from using the canal.
There will be no second warning.

There is often a temptation to show off when people are watching, so go ahead and show off by looking fantastic!
Focus on being in time, perfect style, good discipline, quick responses to commands, togetherness, perfection!
To this end it will be good if teams using the canal dress in club kit.

Look awesome ... without being noisy!

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