Boat Race Rules

  1. Only corrugated cardboard may be used. It can be of any thickness but must not be bonded to any other material such as vinyl. Non-corrugated material may not be used, especially the kind of resin or wax-type coating found in packing cases.
  2. Wood, metal, Styrofoam, or other materials to aid in flotation or to make parts of the boat rigid are prohibited.
  3. No material such as Styrofoam or rubber inflation devices may be used to provide buoyancy or maintain flotation. No sandbags or similar materials may be used for ballast.
  4. Boats may be painted with any one-part paint. No epoxy glues, fiberglass resins or “multi-part” varnishes or paints may be used. Boats may not be “wrapped” in plastic, duct tape or anything else. Tar-based substances like roof coatings are not permitted.
  5. Joints and seams may be glued and/or taped. Duct tape, contact cement, rubber cement, liquid nails, and a water sealer (such as Thompson’s) may be used. No nails, metal or wood fasteners or staples may be used in the construction of the boat.
  6. A representative from each team must report to the registration table between 4:30-4:50 p.m. on the day of the event.
  7. All boats must float to be eligible for prizes. “Walking” is not permitted.
  8. Oars and personal floatation devices will be provided.
  9. Decorations may be made from any material but may not be used to reinforce the structure of the boat and must be retrieved immediately in the event they fall off. Teams that leave decorations or debris in the lake or on the lakeshore risk disqualification.
  10. Boat crews are allowed to use water guns against their opponents while racing their boat.
  11. Boat designs must be appropriate. Costumes are encouraged!
  12. All persons on board a boat must wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and shoes or sandals.
  13. All boaters must be alcohol-free. Any boaters sailing under the influence, or having the odor of alcohol, will be immediately disqualified.
  14. Boats must be removed or cut apart and placed in trash containers following each race. Teams that don’t dispose of or remove their boat risk disqualification.
  15. Boats are subject to inspection and disqualification for any violation of the above General Rules.


All boats must be built of corrugated cardboard. No motors. Boats must be made from only cardboard—no wood, Styrofoam, metal or other material that isn’t cardboard. Boats may be waterproofed with a one-part substance paint. (A two-part substance includes those requiring the addition of a catalyst or hardener. This eliminates epoxy glue, fiberglass, and certain varnishes. One-part waterproofing substances are easily obtained at a paint or hardware store.) Boats cannot be wrapped with plastic, duct tape or any similar tape or wrap. Duct tape can be used at the seams and stress points. Do not use substances or materials harmful to the environment. Do not include pointed projections and sharp edges that might cause personal injury.

Allowed materials

- Corrugated cardboard
- Elmer’s wood glue
- Duct tape
- Quick dry caulking (latex or Liquid Nails)

Forbidden materials

- Two-part glues
- Fiberglass resins and plastic epoxies
- Metal/plastic
- Foam core boards or Styrofoam
- Pasteboard or chipboard types of cardboard
- Wood
- Cardboard that has been factory-coated with wax
- Metal foils and paints

Helpful construction tools

- Long straight edge (rule, yardstick, measuring tape)
- Cutting implement (utility knife, box cutter, tin snips)
- Paint and brush/roller
- Weights (bricks or heavy stones)
- Binder clips or clamps