Chicago Marine Heritage Society

41° 52' 55" N - 087° 36' 43" W

Dragon Boat Race for Literacy

The Chicago Dragon Boat Race for Literacy, presented by The Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the City of Chicago and The Chicago Park District, ran its first Dragon boat race in 1999. Each year almost ten thousand persons enjoy the spectacle and excitement of the race and adjoining traditional Dragon Festival. The race is held annually on the south shore of the Chicago River at picturesque Ping Tom Park in Chinatown.

The Chicago Marine Heritage Society is proud to provide race management and water safety services for this outstanding Chicago event. The Society provides a marine special event team comprised of three race and safety officers and a crew of ten trained marine event specialists.

The Society is committed to provide a fair, competitive, safe and fun event. To do this, the Society race officers measure the depth and contours of the river and chart the currents and wind predictions. Based on this information the crew charts a computer assisted course design that is then marked off on race day with race lane markers. The Race Officers coordinate operations with local law enforcement and rescue services. Communication channels and protocols are established.

On Race Day Society and event Race Officers brief race captains on rules, environment, safety and standard race procedures. The Society Race Start Crew starts each race in coordination with the Chinatown event committee race chairman. During the race, the river side water safety monitors and the on-the-water chase boat safety teams patrol the crowded shoreline and provide warnings to avert dangerous situations; and when needed they provide instant rescue response.

For over ten years this event has been safe, fun and competitive. We are proud to work with the wonderful staff of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. We also thank the exceptional cooperation and support given to the event by the Chicago Police Marine Unit, The Coast Guard units from Calumet Harbor Station and the Auxiliary river patrol units from the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit.