Join the Club


Welcome to the Gig Harbor Dragon Boat Club!

We are thrilled to have you join our paddling community




How to Get Started


01. Contact the New Paddler Committee by clicking this: BECOME A MEMBER or emailing to let our New Paddler Committee know you are interested in joining the team. A committee member will respond to your email within 1-2 days to answer your questions and schedule an orientation.

* We are not always accepting new members. Please proceed to the next steps only once you have made contact with the New Paddler Committee.


02. Complete the following before your orientation: You may attend one practice session before committing to a Gig Harbor Dragon Boat membership. However, it's essential that you e-sign some of our forms before your orientation and first practice. Click the link below, then New Member Registration, and follow the prompts.

Register Here  

Here's a nifty New Paddler Slideshow to help you prepare for your orientation.


03. Attend orientation. Your orientation will happen on the same day as your first practice session, 30 minutes before the team practice. You’ll meet your mentor at the pavilion at Skansie Park, and they will show you where you can get a paddle and life jacket (PFD) from our team locker. During orientation, your mentor will teach you about our club, safety protocol, commands, and stroke basics. Afterward, you’ll join the team for warm-up and stretching and participate in the practice session.


04. Pay Your Dues: If you haven't already, return here to submit payment for your GHDB membership. Log into the site, click "Account" in the upper right, then click "Payment History." You'll see an unpaid invoice there.





How many people are on the Gig Harbor Dragon Boat team?

Over 100!

How old do you have to be to join the team?

Anyone 16 years or older

How often do you practice?

We offer four weekly practices. They are on Monday and Thursday evenings and Wednesday and Saturday mornings. You can attend as many practices as you would like.

How much does it cost to join?

A full membership, which allows you to attend all scheduled practices, is $200 annually.

If you belong to another club and that club is your “home” or primary team, and you’d also like to become a Gig Harbor Dragon, you qualify for an Associate membership, which is $40 annually.

Are there other costs?

You can borrow one of our paddles and a PFD, but most paddlers eventually buy their own. You are also responsible for a race jersey(s), your share of the team’s race fees when you sign up, all your travel expenses for races out of town, cold weather gear, a seat pad, and gloves.

Do You race?

Yes! We participate in approximately 5-6 local and regional races annually between May and October every year. We race in Tacoma, Kent, Seattle, Portland, Salem, Vancouver, BC, and Victoria, BC.

Do you train all year?

Yep! We train all year, so we are ready for race season come Spring!

What if I've never paddled before?

Most of our members had never paddled before joining! We certainly don’t expect you to know how to do the stroke. You’ll get 1:1 time with a mentor to learn the stroke before joining a regular practice session. You’ll get even more coaching on the boat, and you're welcome to schedule some time with a coach if you'd like additional technical training.

What if I'm out of shape?

You don’t need to be at any fitness level to start. If you get tired during practice, we encourage all paddlers to bring their paddles in and rest. You’ll get strong and fit before you know it!

What if I have bad knees or an old injury?

We trust you to know what your body can and can’t handle, but the only way you’ll know what it’s like to paddle on a dragon boat is to try it. You can schedule 1:1 time with a coach to see if you can safely get in and out of the boat and paddle without causing further issues.

Does the team do social events together?

Yep! We are a very social club. We have holiday paddles, a super fun Holiday Party, an annual bocce ball tournament, and more! We participate in community events and often grab coffee or a meal after practice with teammates. Don’t worry; your social calendar will fill up fast!

Any tips for a newbie?

Don't expect to master every part of the stroke at once. It will take some time before it all comes together.

Ask your coaches questions and be open to coaching and feedback. 

Fuel yourself with good nutrition and enough water. 

What do I wear to practice?

  • PFD: A personal flotation device (or life jacket) is required to go on the boat. You can borrow a team PFD for as long as you wish, but most paddlers eventually buy their own. When purchasing your own, ensure it is Coast Guard-approved type III PFD. Please note that hybrid and inflatable PFDs are not allowed. You can buy PFDs at Ship to Shore in Gig Harbor, REI, Cabela’s, Amazon, or from company websites. Look for one with a thin back and pockets.
  • Clothing: In warmer months, most paddlers wear comfy workout clothing, like tee shirts or tank tops, and whatever bottoms are most comfortable (shorts, tights, leggings, full-length or cropped athletic pants, etc.). You won’t need socks in the warmer months unless it's more comfortable for you. In the colder, rainy months, you’ll want to layer up. Most paddlers wear full-length tights, athletic pants, or rain pants on the bottom. When it’s cold, you may want an additional base layer underneath. On the top, you might want a short-sleeved shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, and either a rain jacket or an athletic jacket. Socks are helpful when it’s cold or super rainy, and waterproof socks are great!
  • Sunscreen: The sun will be much stronger when on the water, so sunscreen and/or SPF clothing are essential to avoid getting burned.
  • Sunglasses or a hat or visor: Eye protection is helpful in the summer, especially if you have light-colored or sensitive eyes. Polarized sunglasses are great when on the water. If you worry about losing your glasses while paddling, a hat or visor can also keep the sun out of your eyes.
  • Shoes: Shoes will get wet. Tennis shoes that dry quickly, secure sandals, and water shoes are all great options. Most paddlers have found that a full sneaker water shoe provides the support you need and will dry quickly between practices. 

What else do I bring?

  • Gloves: Gloves are optional but can help grip and keep your hands warm in the winter. Most paddlers use kayak gloves or neoprene (sometimes marketed as diving gloves) in the winter.
  • Water bottle: You'll want to hydrate during practice. Keep in mind that the bottom of the boat, which is where your water bottle will sit, often carries a bit of water and the gross stuff from the bottoms of our feet, so water bottles that cover/seal up the mouthpiece are recommended. Also, plastic water bottles don't clank around as much while we're paddling.
  • Properly sized dragon boat paddle: This is available in the team locker and needs to be placed back in the team locker after every practice. You can use the team paddles for as long as you wish. Most paddlers will eventually buy their own paddle, however.
  • Seat pad: Seat pads are optional; some paddlers wouldn’t dream of paddling without one, and others prefer to go without one. Be sure to get a nonslip pad. These two styles are the most popular:


  • Waterproof key and phone sleeves: If you need to bring your car key/fob on the boat, placing it into a waterproof sleep will keep it dry. You can also purchase waterproof sleeves for your phone if you want it on the boat. Some paddlers use Ziploc bags. Either works!
  • Sport chews or beans: Sport chews are great when you need to refuel, especially in the summer when practice is more intense.