The College of New Jersey

Apply     Visit     Give     |     Alumni     Parents     Offices     TCNJ Today     

Cardboard Boat Regatta

Saturday, April 25, 2020 from 11:30 AM until 1:30 PM

The Cardboard Boat Regatta is an exciting, annual TCNJ tradition! Contestants compete building boats out of cardboard and competing in a timed race in Lake Sylva. Boats are judged based design, speed, and effort. Additional awards are given for teams that demonstrate high levels of spirit and are representing organizations.

Register your boat and team here!

Check back for updates on prizes, boat building information and other events leading up to the Regatta!


We will have more awards updated soon.

  • First Place Overall: $100 and trophy per team member
  • Second Place Overall: $75 and trophy per team member
  • Third Place Overall: $50 and trophy per team member

Rules of the Regatta

  • A crew may only consist of TCNJ students, faculty, staff, or alumni.
  • Crews can only consist of two to four people. Two crew members MUST be in the boat during the race.
  • The only materials allowed for construction of the boat are cardboard, duct tape, and/or reinforced paper tape. Any weight/thickness of cardboard may be used. No more than 50% of the boat can be covered in duct tape. Materials other than the above listed can be used to decorate boats provided that they do not positively affect boat performance.
  • Boats can be waterproofed with any one part substance. There are many commercial preparations available – also, several coats of varnish, shellac, polyurethane, and/or some house paints have worked well.
  • All participants must wear life-vests and their feet must be covered when they are in the water (i.e. water shoes or sneakers).
  • Any class of boat may be constructed: catamaran, canoe, raft, etc. However the boat must be propelled by human power (oars will be provided).
  • Decorating of boats and creating a theme with costumes is highly encouraged.
  • Competitors may be disqualified for displaying poor sportsmanship and/or for behaviors that violate College policy (i.e. bringing alcohol to the event).
  • All decisions made at the judge’s discretion at the event are final.
  • Boats will be inspected and scored by the judges prior to the start of the race. All boats must be checked in by 11:30am for judging and to be displayed to the audience. At least one member of the team must be present with the baot to answer any questions from the judges.
  • The two participants who will be getting in the water must be ready by 12:15pm as races will begin promptly at 12:30pm.  Failure to arrive on time for either display or race will disqualify your team and boat.

Scoring Rubric

Boats will be judged in three different categories with an opportunity to win bonus points as well! The following is a rubric describing in VERY general terms the way that scoring will be allocated. All final scores will be subject to the discretion of the judges on the day of the Regatta.

Fastest Boat 10 points
Second Place Boat 9 points
Third Place Boat 8 points
Top 25% Speed (excluding top 3) 6 points
Top 50% Speed (excluding top 3) 4 points
You Finished the Race! 2 points
Wow. Just wow. Your boat has style and function! It may have event incorporated unique structures like pontoons! You are truly an amazing boat builder! 10 points
Your boat is built, it floats and has some nice design elements! You show some real promise as a boat builder, good work! 8 points
Your boat is buit and floats! Though it may have put function over flare, it is definitely something to be proud of! 6 points
You built something and it looks like a boat! It may have had some trouble in the water, but you got it there. 4 points
You built something. Good work! 2 points
It’s a piece of art. Seriously, lets hang it up for all to see! It is something truly to behold. 10 points
Your boat is looking nice! Maybe a spot missed here or there but overall, you did a really nice job putting it together. Great work! 8 points
It has color and a nice design. You know what? Good work! 6 points
Put a sticker on there? Well, A for effort…or a B, but its still a grade! 4 points
It’s cardboard and tape, maybe you can be a new trendsetter and make it a style? Maybe not? Points for you! 2 points
Bonus Points
Incorporate Roscoe into design 4 points
Most TCNJ spirit by team 2 Points
Largest boat 2 points
Smallest boat 2 points

Learn to Build Your Boat Here!

Check out this video on building cardboard boats. This will help you with the fundamentals and increase your chances of winning top prizes!!!!