The Sri Lanka Navy has trained school instructors and fisher folk in Jaffna in dragon boat racing in a bid to promote water sports in the peninsula, the navy said.
The navy held a two-week workshop on dragon boat racing and a life-saving workshop were early August at the waterfront of Karainagar channel in collaboration with the Canoe Association of Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Life Saving.
A dragon boat is a human-powered watercraft often made of fiberglass (replacing wood) and originating from the Pearl River Delta region of China’s southern Guangdong Province. Dragon boat racing as a sport traces its origins to southern China some 2,000 years ago.
Instructors representing eight schools in Jaffna and members of the local fishing community took part in the exercise that was conducted in a COVID-19 bio-secure bubble, the navy said.
The navy’s canoeing team and instructors from the rapid action boat squadron had trained the participants in dragon boat technical skills, rules of the sport and training techniques as well as lifesaving techniques, the navy said.
“With the culmination of successful training, the newly qualified instructors are expected to raise Dragon Boat teams at their respective schools and communities establishing the sports discipline enabling them to compete at national levels in due course,” the navy said.
Sri Lanka’s exports development authority is also planning on promoting nautical tourism with boating and water sports. The island is known for its whale and dolphin watching but there is a lack of infrastructure and a history of marine leisure activity.
Boat Building Technology Improvement Institute (BTI) which is organising a Boat Show with Sri Lanka’s Export Development Board to promote the sector said last week that a lot of boating enthusiasts are looking to own a boat, go leisure fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving and pleasure boating but the island doesn’t have the necessary infrastructure such as boat parks and marinas.
Sri Lanka has a coastal shore-line of 1,340 kilometres and a large inland water mass consisting of lagoons, lakes and reservoirs, BTI said. There are 17 major fishery harbors, 15 anchorages and 1,053 landing sites on the coastal belt.
The island also has about 25 active boat yards around the country and about a dozen have medium to large scale manufacturing facilities and others are small scale manufactures.