Get ready, on your mark, get set… go! For over 20 years now the Skills Canada program has been hosting the annual Cardboard Boat Races. All shapes and sizes of different corrugated cardboard boats will hit the water to compete for the title of fastest and strongest vessel. The Cardboard Boat Race event helps teach students the engineering behind the structural design of boats. Students come together for a few months to learn how to properly construct a boat using only corrugated cardboard and duct tape. This event’s main purpose is to test the student’s ability to build floating structures. Students from elementary and secondary schools will join together to compete and test their wits while of course remembering to have fun. This year’s event will be held in Belleville Ontario, given the tremendous support provided by Loyalist College.
Mitch Waters, Program Coordinator with Skills Ontario spoke about the importance of having an event like this and how much the students really love it. “The event is so much fun and educational; teachers are actually beginning to build part of their curriculum around it.” Waters described the event as “surreal”. “Students only have a few hours to take two pieces of 4’ by 8’ Corrugated Cardboard and 2 rolls of 55 metre duct tape to build their boats.” Although the students have been studying how to construct the boats like this and how to best keep a boat afloat water; it is still mesmerizing to see them work. The race is a two part feat: The first goal is to create a boat and race it against other students in a straight line. The second part of the race is to create a boat that can hold the most weight.
Most of the boats are actually pretty sound and often only a few of them sink. Waters explained that, “one year, one of the boats created actually held over 1,400 pounds, it was quite impressive to say the least.” Waters described the event in Ontario as magnificent, educational and inspiring. He points out that “this event could not have been done without the help of Loyalist College, Cascades Corrugated Cardboard donations, Allen Kirkpatrick from the Canadian Corrugated Cardboard Association, 3M Duct Tape Suppliers and all of the very generous volunteers who donate their time”.
This event runs all across Canada and brings students together to learn and have fun. The event has been running smoothly for over 20 years now and is anticipated to run for another 20. If you would like to learn more about this event or help get involved please visit the link below for more information.