Cardboard Boat Race Rules

Official Cardboard Boat Race Rules

How are your boat building skills?  Try them out here at our Cardboard & Duct Tape Boat Race at this fun, family event!

Race Rules Material Requirements:

  • Build boats using only brown corrugated cardboard and duct tape for the Race boat. 

  • No glue, fasteners of any kind, paints, or coatings of any kind.

  • Use ONLY BROWN corrugated cardboard for the Race. No plastic, plastic coated, paper coated, labeled or waxed cardboard allowed.  No cardboard tubes allowed!

  • The maximum allowable thickness of corrugated cardboard is one-half inch.

  • You may NOT use any other objects to give to the structural rigidity or the craft’s flotation ability.

  • We encourage decorations to create a theme (must be family campground appropriate in nature).  Themes can include hats and clothing.  Cardboard boats may be decorated with markers or paint Markers (as in the boat’s name), but decorations may not help keep the boat together, or aloft.  Cardboard must be BROWN.  Do not paint the whole boat.

Race Rules Design Parameters:

  • We build the boats in the sports field the day of the Race!

  • We inspect the boats the day of the Race during building and prior to the race and must follow these guidelines. Any boat not following these guidelines will result in disqualification.

  • Boats require untreated, non-coated corrugated cardboard. The entire hull, superstructure, and seating must also be made from corrugated cardboard. The maximum total thickness of cardboard is one inch. The “seats” may be made of boxes or cardboard.

  • Only the seams and joints may be overlapped. Therefore, you may only overlap tape where you put two pieces of cardboard together.

  • When taping seams, only 1.5 inches of tape can overlap the seam. When taping seams, a minimum of twelve inches of cardboard must separate seams. 

  • To score the cardboard, use the dull side of a knife — it makes the cardboard easier to bend.  You may have a maximum of 24” of duct tape that is adjacent but NOT overlapping. Adjacent Duct tape must be separated by no more the 6” of cardboard or a seam.   

  • Both people must be clearly visible while the boat is in the water during the Race.  All occupants of a boat must be able to swim.  All occupants must wear a life preserver (provided), water shoes, sneakers, or sandals (no flip flops allowed!).  Single occupants must be age 18 or older.

  • Each team must remove their entire boat (including any and all decorations) or boat remains from the water when the Race is finished.  All boats and remains must be placed in the designated area.

Boat Propulsion

All boats may be propelled through the water by:

  • utilizing a paddle or oars made of cardboard and duct tape (cardboard tubes are not allowed.)

  • a sail of some sort

  • arms may be in the water to aid with stability and/or propulsion.

  • boats may not be towed, pulled, or ride on top of participants (immediate disqualification).

Race Rules Entries:

The three (3) Race race categories are as follows:

  1. Family boat (one adult 21 or over & one child age 12 & under) 

  2. Teen Boat (2 people 13-17)

  3. Adult’s Only Race (ages 18 & over).

  • Family Boats require at least two people in them, and at least one of whom must be an adult (age 21 or over) and a child age 12 & under.

  • Teen Boat must have two teens (both entrants must be age 13 – 17).

  • Adult Category is for one person (ages 18 and over).

Race Awards: 

  • Fastest

  • Most patriotic

  • Best Decorated

  • Sunk like the Titanic!