Washington Dragon Boat Association

The Washington Dragon Boat Association was formed in 2004 by a group of individuals who were looking for a recreational paddling experience that also offered opportunities to race in a variety of dragon boat races. The organization and its members own four, 20 paddler Swift Dragon boats and one, 10 paddler Swift Dragon boat, affectionately called “the baby boat!”


WDBA is a non-profit (501 c 3) organization headquartered in Tacoma.  Our mission is to promote local, regional, national and international amateur dragon boating participation and competition.  In celebration of the cultural diversity of Washington and the Pacific Northwest, WDBA presents and participates in other activities that foster community involvement and cross cultural awareness and understanding.

The Washington Dragon Boat Association is a member of the Pacific Dragon Boat Association a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose mission is to promote the sport of dragon boat racing and foster national and international dragon boat competition. As a member of PDBA we are then a part of the United States Dragon Boat Federation (USDBF) representing the Western region of the United States.


  • Sheila Marsh, President
  • Robin Sylva, Vice-President
  • Shelagh Taylor, Secretary
  • Sue Wahlberg, Treasurer
  • Members-at-Large: Steve Silva, Sonja Johnston, Terry Wilmer


  • Steve Silva – Safety Officer


New Member Specials

You are invited to explore the world of dragon boaters, right here in Tacoma, Washington.  Enjoy the water and the sea life in and around the Thea Foss Waterway while participating in a team paddling activity. No experience necessary…we provide the equipment and the coaching, just come and enjoy the fun of dragon boating. [more...]


Try Dragon Boating for Free!

Your first 3 practices are FREE!

Headed off to paddle

Come and join the club members who are a fun loving group of people that come from all walks of life. Join us for a great day on the Thea Foss Waterway in Commencement Bay.

- No experience required.

- Life vests and paddles are provided

- Look at the practice times and locations below

- Find a practice time and location that works for you and show up

- Bring water to drink

- Dress for the weather (Wear layers during the cold weather and bring a change of dry clothes – Dragon boating is a water sport expect to get splashed)

Unlike other dragon boating organizations in Washington,
we offer two paddling locations for you! 

You can practice in both locations depending on your schedule.


In Tacoma we practice year-round, and our boats are on the dock at the Foss Waterway Seaport located at 705 Dock Street.

Practice Times:
Thursdays at 6:00 pm
Saturdays at 9:00 am
Sundays at 3:30 pm


In Olympia the boats are in the water from March through October at the Swantown Marina located at 1102 Marine Drive NE, Dock A.

Practice Times:
Wednesdays at 5:45 pm
Sundays at 1:00 pm

If you want to find out more about the crazy sport of dragon boating and dragon boat racing…and you’re not sure you want to experience it first hand – on the water – we can offer 561177_10150831068663497_187857751_nyou an opportunity to volunteer at the Rainier Dragon Boat Festival which is held at Thea’s Park in Tacoma on Saturday, May 11, 2013.  No experience is necessary, we’ll train you for your choice of roles at the event and you’ll get to enjoy the competition and enthusiasm of over 850 dragon boaters from the Northwest.  Be sure to see the pictures from the 2012 Rainier Dragon Boat Festival!

We also host other events for our members, just for fun!  Check out the pictures of a summer evening cruise on the Odyssey, a 90’ yawl built in 1938, now owned and operated by the Sea Scouts in Tacoma.


As a member of WDBA, you are eligible to participate in any and all activities that WDBA sponsors, presents, or participates.  In addition, you are entitled to participate in any dragon boat practice including the use of the equipment (boats, paddles, personal flotation devices) as well as availing yourself of the coaching provided. You will also be provided opportunities to participate in any dragon boat race that the organization may enter. Expenses related to participation in races (race fee, hotel, travel, food) are the responsibility of the paddlers.  Occasionally the WDBA board has provided a subsidy for the race fees.

 Membership fees:

  • Regular members: Annual membership dues it seventy-five dollars ($75).
  • Lifetime members: A onetime membership dues of one thousand dollars ($1000).
  • Family members: A family membership is for immediate family members aged 13 years of age or older.  A maximum of five family members may be associated in a family membership. Annual membership dues is two hundred dollars ($200).
  • Student members are individuals between the ages of 13 and 25, who are enrolled as full-time students in an accredited educational institution. Annual membership dues is thirty dollars ($30).
  • Associate members: Members of other paddling clubs who wish to join WDBA. Annual membership dues is thirty-five dollars ($35).

Forms to download:

Membership Application [LINK: membership application]

Paddlers Waiver

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