Hands on experience: Marco dragon boat rookies enjoy the real thing


Months of training for a dragon boat paddle culminated recently when a group of Marco YMCA women enjoyed the real thing on Charlotte Harbor.

Participant Cheryl McLaughlin filed this report: The Marco Island YMCA paddlers recently traveled with (trainer Rich) Cameron to Port Charlotte Harbor to join the Charlotte Harbor Paddlers Club, also known as the Draggin’ Dragons, in a session on an actual dragon boat.

Coach Rich Cameron and his paddlers take a break during the session. Photo: Gordon McLaughlin

Assistant coach Dave Fingard – who practices with the Charlotte Harbor crew – set up the session.

Paddlers enjoyed the experience of being in an actual boat and learning to utilize their entire body to exert a strong force on the paddle.

Some of the new challenges faced by the paddlers were learning to synchronize their strokes with teammates while following directions from their coach.  Close proximity to fellow rowers (which paddlers had not fully experienced in the pool), required more precise synchronization.

The Charlotte Harbor Paddlers Club is the nearest dragon boat club in southwest Florida and it is an hour and a half away from Marco Island.

The Marco Island YMCA paddlers are motivated to participate in a club, and hope to see a Marco Island dragon boat club take shape.

The Marco YMCA contingent lines up for a keepsake shot.
Paddlers cruise past a house on Charlotte Harbor.