The Great Cardboard Boat Race

Miller Park Pool
6:30 PM
8:00 PM

Design, build, race, (and most likely) sink! Win the challenge to paddle your cardboard boat to the finish line! Boats may be crewed by one person or by a two-person team; divisions for youth and adults. Awards for fastest and most creative boats plus the most dramatic sinking. $10 per boat. Register by 8/9.


Cardboard boats, with one or two crew members, will be put to the test.  Crews will race against the clock to get to the finish line before their boat sinks.  



  • Speedy Award – Fastest Time 
  • Jewel of the Fleet – Most Creative Design 
  • Titanic Award – Most Dramatic Sinking 



Entrance fee is $10 per boat. Boat captain must pre-register by August 9th.


  • Crews consist or 1 or 2 people. Divisions for adults, youth, and adult-youth pairs. 
  • All crew members must be able to swim and must wear a life jacket 
  • All boats will be human powered using canoe paddles 
  • No arms or legs may be in the water for stability or propulsion. 
  • You may bring your own canoe paddle and life vest or use Parks & Rec paddles and vests. 
  • The race must begin and end with all crew members in the boat. 
  • Swimming and/or pulling the boat will result in disqualification 
  • Boat races will be 25 or 50 yards. 
  • Make sure you follow the boat construction rules on the next page. 



  • Boat must be made ONLY of corrugated cardboard and duct tape. 
  • Boats must be built before the race. 
  • Duct tape may be of varying colors for creativity, but must have come manufactured in that color. 
  • Only seams and joints may be taped, not the whole boat.  
  • Boats may be decorated with duct tape or permanent markers.   
  • Cardboard cannot be sealed. Absolutely NO glues, paints or resins. (We need to take care of our pool.) No wax-coated or pre-treated cardboard or other types of cardboard. ONLY duct tape and corrugated cardboard.   
  • We reserve the right to disqualify any boat that does not follow the rules. 



  • Be creative! Develop a theme and give your boat a name. 
  • Use multiple layers of cardboard, alternating the direction of the corrugation for strength. 
  • Seal the edges and seams with duct tape. 
  • Don’t make the sides of your boat too tall for the crew to reach over and paddle. For height, allow about 12 to 18 inches for you to sit and paddle effectively. 



  • Boat crews must arrive by 6:00pm for check-in and safety brief.  
  • Every crew member must register and sign a release form. Children must be accompanied by a parent/guardian who will complete the forms. 
  • Dress appropriately for the pool. Bring a towel. Locker rooms will be available. 
  • Lifeguards will be present. 
  • Race heats will be determined by the age of the crew and based on the number of entries. 
  • While boarding, a friend may stabilize the vessel from the side of the pool, but must let go before the starting whistle. Your or your boat must be touching the wall at the beginning of the race.  
  • Boats and teams may not intentionally interfere with any other team or boat. Throwing water on another boat is reason for disqualification, unless water comes from the incidental splash of a paddle. 
  • If you fall out of your boat, you may climb back in and complete the race. If you boat sinks or your fall out and are unable to continue, you will be considered sunk. A boat is considered sunk when every part has been submerged, you are unable to get back inside, or at the judge’s discretion. 
  • If you boat capsizes or sinks, you must remove your boat debris from the pool and exit from the pool as soon as possible.  
  • Upon finishing the heat, you must immediately remove your boat from the pool. 
  • If you don’t want to take your boat home after the race, please dispose of it in the designated trash receptacle. 
  • There is NO diving or swimming in the pool during this event. 


For more information, contact: Debbie Hoffbeck  |  Chief Naturalist  |  Phone: (434) 455-5878  |  Email: