Please Join Us!

Bring the ferocity of the Dragon into your life!
Take a Seat on the Boat with Hope Afloat!

Contact a member of the Hope Afloat team and discuss the camaraderie of breast cancer survivor dragonboating:
Send an e-mail to
or call us at 215-574-1820.

Who Can Join?

Hope Afloat extends an open invitation to all breast cancer survivors, regardless of fitness level, size, shape, race, age, or previous experience. Requirements are an adventurous up-lifting attitude to try something new, your doctor’s permission to do so, and membership dues.

The cost for new membership is $300, which includes a new paddle. Life vests are on loan until you can purchase one of your own. Returning membership dues are $250. Hope Afloat has a sponsorship fund for those in need, upon financial qualification. Dues cover the costs of boat and trailer maintenance, insurance, equipment, coaching fees, dockside picnics, sunshine fund, and eye dotting ceremony. Once you join the team, you will have access to our password protected “members” only link on our website. There you will find the weekly practice sign up board, latest information on races, member contact information, team biographies, member’s handbook, and more.

What are the Benefits?

Challenge yourself with the opportunity to learn a new sport with other survivors like yourself – a bit nervous and unsure of their abilities to paddle - but proud at the end of the season to call themselves “dragon boaters” and “newbies-no-more”.

Through practices, competitive racing and informal team socials, this sport and our team provides camaraderie and networking with other breast cancer survivors, while offering an opportunity to experience focused relaxation and serenity through sport and exercise.

Experience the excitement of racing if you choose, or just enjoy the view of the Schuylkill River while paddling during weekly practices. No member is required to race, but race opportunities are available locally in PA and NJ, and internationally as our treasury, personal finances and time afford it.

Join a team committed to breast cancer community service from participation in Race for the Cure, Linda Creed Candle Lighting Ceremony, and American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, to breast cancer awareness events such as Living Beyond Breast Cancer and Young Survivor’s Network.

What do I Need, and How Do I Learn to Paddle?

A prospective dragon-boater doesn't have to be wealthy to be fully equipped and outfitted. The only requirements, besides adventurous spirit and willingness to learn, are to have a paddle and life jacket. Hope Afloat provides a paddle to our new members, and a life jacket on loan until you are able to purchase one – you bring the adventurous spirit!

You can wear anything comfortable in the boat for practice. Quick dry clothing is suggested – shorts or pants, and a top. You will get wet – this is a water sport! Wear any shoe you don’t mind getting wet from old sneakers to sport sandals, so long as they are not slippery when wet (flip-flops are not recommended). You may wish to bring a butt pad since the boat seats are not cushioned – suggestions are a non-slip cover such as a cabinet liner or mouse pad, or an inexpensive gardener’s kneepad.

Our coach will initially work with our “newbies” on the dock to teach you the paddle stroke and terminology. You will be placed in the boat, after dock work, for one-on-one coaching. The paddle stroke is fairly easy, and with repetition of practice, you’ll catch on quick! You’ll want to commit to practice at least two times per week to effectively learn the stroke, and gain the full benefits of exercise in the sport of Dragonboating.

YOU are what YOU do on the water, as part of a TEAM. The nature of dragonboating requires that each paddler judge their fellow paddlers on merit, not background. Dragonboaters know that 20 paddles hitting the water in a flawless synchronized rhythm is the key to victory. Practice consists of endurance paddling to enhance stamina, and drills that fine tune our bodies and minds to paddle as a TEAM.
© 2005- Hope Afloat USA
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