Portsmouth Dragonboat Festival
Portsmouth Dragonboat Festival 

Welcome to The Portsmouth

Dragonboat Festival Website

The Portsmouth Dragon Boat Festival is organised by the Rotary Clubs of


Portsmouth & Southsea

and Southsea Castle

The History of Dragon Boats


Dragon boat racing began more than 2000 years ago in the valleys of southern China.


Known as the 'To Fight and Cross Over' ceremony, the race often resembled a naval battle, with the competing crews throwing stones and striking one another with cane sticks.


Supporters on the shore would cheer and give gifts of red and green silk to the boat from their region but would greet opposing boats with angry shouts and a hail of stones!


Competition has taken place annually for more than 20 centuries as part of Chinese religious ceremonies, but dragon boat racing has emerged in modern times as an international sport, beginning in Hong Kong in 1976.

What is Dragon Boat racing?


Dragon Boat racing has become a popular sport throughout the world. It is great fun for both participants and spectators, and is the perfect vehicle for charity fundraising.

Dragon Boats are long canoes, elaborately decorated, with a dragon’s head and tail attached. 

There are wooden benches for the 16 paddlers and room at the bow for a drummer and at the stern for a qualified helmsman.


The event organisers provide the boats, paddles, instruction, flotation aids and safety systems.



How do I enter a team?

If you can get a team together, entering is easy  – just contact the organisers with the following information, 



  • Your name

  • Your address      

  • Phone/mobile no.

  • e-mail address

  • Organisation name

  • Chosen charity *

  • Your team name 

*Note: you do not have to choose a charity. If you are happy to raise funds for the Rotary nominated charity, just enter ‘Rotary’ in the space above.

Please send your details to:

 teams@portsdragonboat festival.co.uk

We will contact you as soon as possible with further details, entry costs, etc.

Get involved!

Find out how by contacting us at:




or watch the video at:





Next year's Dragonboat Festival will take place on ... 


Sunday 14th May 2017


If you were in one of the teams taking part in our 2016 festival, or if you attended as as a spectator, we sincerely hope you enjoyed the event.
If you would like to see a video report of the 2016 event, please click on the link below: 



The nominated Rotary charities for 2016 were:

Enable Ability is established as an independent charity for the care, welfare and advancement of disabled people living in Portsmouth and the surrounding area.  We work in partnership with disabled children and adults, their families and carers, to provide a range of high quality, professional and confidential services.



FitzRoy is a national charity that transforms the lives of people with learning disabilities. They support over 600 people in 66 services to do the simple things that make a real difference to their everyday lives.

They are currently fundraising for their new project, Love4Life, a service that supports people with learning disabilities to make lifelong friendships and find love in a fun, safe environment.


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