3rd Annual Beaufort Cardboard Boatbuilding Challenge

The 3rd Annual Cardboard Boatbuilding Challenge will be held Sunday, May 5th in the West Parking Lot (under the competition tent) on Front Street.

Cardboard and duct tape, that’s it. Three hours later a cardboard boat that will go into Taylor’s Creek for a rowing race. Some make it, others will wish they had used more duct tape!!

The rules are simple. Bring your own cardboard and duct tape and build a boat designed by your imagination.  Any décor for the boats can be made ahead of time, just the structural part of the boat must be made the day of the competition.

Teams of two will compete in the Guppie Class while teams of three to five will compete in the Dolphin Class. The rowing race determines the class winners. Plenty of kayacks will be around to rescue any sinkers.

The event will take off at 12 noon and contestants have three hours to build their cardboard creation. At 3pm the boats will enter the water and compete against each other in a rowing race. The Guppie Class will go first, followed by the Dolphin Class.

Winners will receive their awards at 4pm immediately following the rowing race. The Award Ceremony will be held in the West Parking Lot (under the competition tent) on Front Street.

In addition to placing in the rowing race the teams will vie for additional accolades. The Spirit Award will go the team with the most spirit and enthusiasm. The Golden Duct Tape Award will go to the top boat design. And the Titanic Award will go to the team that has the most spectacular sinking!

Register for the Cardboard Boatbuilding Challenge


Sunday May 5, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Boat Build | 12-3pm

Rowing Race | 3pm

Awards & Prizes | 4pm


1st, 2nd, 3rd Place Finish (as applicable)

Spirit Award | Judges choose the most spirited team

The Golden Duct Tape Award | Judges choose the most creative boat design

The Titanic Award | Given to the team of the boat that sinks in the most spectacular fashion

Participation & Boat Classifications


Guppy | 1-2 people per boat
Dolphin | 3-5 people per boat
Whale | 6-10 people per boat

TEEN FLIGHT (12 to 17 years)

Guppy | 1-2 people per boat

Download the Cardboard Boatbuilding Challenge Rules


  • Every crew member must weat a personal floatation device (PFD).
  • You CANNOT race without the proper signatures on the entry form.
  • During the competition, crew must be IN the boat, not towing it, or holding it between their legs, swimming, or allowing the life jackets to provide floatation of the vessel.
  • NO pets can occupy a boat during competition.
  • Throwing water on another boat is reason for disqualification, unless said water comes from the incidental splash of a paddle or other propulsive device.
  • Contestants are expected to maintain the decorum and dignity expected of a yachtsman.
  • Sunken or discarded boats must be disposed of in designated trash receptacles.


  • This year’s theme is CINCO DE MAYO, after all the date is May 5th!
  • The ENTIRE boat must be built from cardboard & duct tape. Duct tape my be used to reinforce seams. Each team will supply their own choice of cardboard, duct tape, and tools.
  • Corrugated Cardboard, Carpet Tubes, Cardboard Blocks can be found at recycling centers, appliance stores, department stores, discount clubs, electronics stores.
  • Pre-treated Cardboard such as waxed cardboard is allowed.  All paint & varnished cardboard must be cured prior to boat launch. Paints and varnish are intended to be used as decorative elements only–NOT waterproofing. NO 2-part epoxy paints.
  • Fastening material is to be duct tape only.
  • Hull wrapping in duct tape is allowed.
  • Decorations are allowed and encouraged (THINK Cinco De Mayo!) provided they are not used as structural or floatation elements.
  • Crew costumes are encouraged.
  • Participants have up to 3 hours to build their boats. Boat building and/or final assembly will be completed on-site under the Challenge Tent at the Beaufort Waterfront. Some off-site pre-assembly is allowed for decorative components only.
  • Contestants should plan ahead and bring sufficient cardboard & duct tape for their boat design. NO card-board or supplies will be made available by the challenge committee.
  • Design is left to the builder(s). Let your imagination take over.
  • NO wood, plastic, rubber, inflatable devices, Styrofoam or fiberglass.
  • NO caulking compounds, two-part/mixed adhesives, glues, epoxy mixtures or coatings are allowed.
  • NO electrical, gasoline, benzene, propane or other chemical or electrical propulsion systems are allowed.
  • NO manufactured paddles. But cardboard paddles may be made ahead of time.
  • NO surfboard or paddle board style boat is allowed.
  • The crew compartment CANNOT be enclosed so as to interfere with escape.
  • Each boat must carry a closed gallon plastic jug (or PFD) with a 15’ rope tether firmly secured to the vessel. Guppy Class (1-2 jugs), Dolphin Class (2-3 jugs), & Whale class (4-5 jugs). Gallon jugs must remain inside the boat while racing, they are not to be used as flotation for the vessel. This is for use in locating and retrieving any sunken remains.