Sponsored by:

Front Street Shipyard

Challenge your family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, competitors, and other businesses or organizations to design and enter a cardboard boat in the Belfast Harbor Fest Cardboard Boat Challenge! Get your team spirit going and just have fun!

Location: Boathouse, Steamboat Landing

Date/Time: August 18, 2024, at 10:00 am

NOTICE:  Participants must sign a waiver prior to competing.  Please report to the registration table to obtain and sign a waiver.


August 18, 2024, at the Boat House, Steamboat Landing

10:00 am  Boats Arrive, register, and sign a liability waiver.

10:30 – 10:45 am  Public display and voting for People’s Choice Award.  Boat Judging.

10:45 – 11:00 am  Boaters and crew meet with officials to go over the rules and race procedures (see below).

11:00 am Races begin by category.  Awards Ceremony follows the final heat of the races.



  1. FUN is the number one goal. All participants are to keep that in mind when entering this event!
  2. The entire hull, superstructure, and seating of all boats must be made of normal, ordinary, everyday, corrugated cardboard. Any thickness is permitted. If it’s not corrugated, don’t use it! This includes carpet tubes, barrels, or waxed cardboard.
  3. Single part, water-soluble glue may be used between layers of cardboard. Absolutely NO use of two-part glues, tar-based substances, two-part varnishes, fiberglass resin, epoxy glue, or any other two-part substances or corrugated cardboard that’s been bonded to any material.
  4. The boat may be painted with latex paint. No two-part paints are allowed. The paint must have dried for at least 24 hours before the race.
  5. Duct tape may be used over seams or joints only and for making gunnels, ribs, and keels.  Covering your boat with duct tape, shrink wrap, or anything else is NOT allowed. There must be at least 12 inches between seams.
  6. Items used as fasteners (nuts, bolts, washers, staples, glues) as well as the paddles may be of a material other than cardboard.
  7. The boat must be free of sharp edges, pointy objects, or anything else that could cause injuries.
  8. All participants must wear a fastened, Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (life jacket) and shoes with a substantial sole (no flip-flops).
  9. Participants must provide their own paddle.
  10. The sides of the cardboard boat must not be above the shoulders of the participants. All participants in the boats must be visible.
  11. Anyone appearing impaired by alcohol or other substances will be banned from racing. The decision of the judges is final. There is no appeal process.
  12. The boat captain must pre-register the team then turn in a team safety waiver on race day.

Like A Rock 2
Heat2BeginsSMOn Race Day:

  1. To qualify as a finisher in any heat, you must be IN your boat, not towing it in your teeth or between your legs and your boat must be floating on the water, not under the water.
  2. Children under the age of 8 must have an adult with them in the boat.
  3. If your boat sinks, you are disqualified from the race and must exit the water as soon as possible taking your boat with you.
  4. Boats with the fastest times in the preliminary heats will advance to the semi-finals. The fastest semi-finalists will advance to the finals.
  5. Poor sportsmanship is cause for disqualification, including intentionally interfering with other participants. This is a FUN race.


After the Race

  1. All boats and boat remains MUST be removed from the water and Steamboat Park. Dumpsters will be provided on site.
  2. Start planning for next year!




Begins May 1, 2024. You may register on-site as well. Click for Registration Form.

The registration fee is $20 per team for boaters age 14 and over. The registration fee for those aged 13 and younger is $10 per team.

Scholarships are available. Send request to Scholarships, Cardboard Boat Challenge, P.O. Box 74, Belfast, ME 04915.

Quebec blue NoseEntry Categories:

  1. Children – Ages 8 to 13 with single-occupant boats
  2. Adult – Ages 14+ with single-occupant boats
  3. Organization  Businesses, fraternities, sororities, adult community organizations, sports teams, etc. predominantly age 14 and older
  4. Family – At least one adult plus child or children under the age of 12

Register Now!

There are two different registration forms depending on the age of the participants. For those aged 18 years or younger, there must be a parental signature on the liability form.

Colcord Captain Valhalla   OR

Entry fee: $20 per team for ages 14 and older and $10 per team for ages 13 and younger. Scholarships are available.

Norsemen Nightmare w 3 year old crew

Registration forms are attached at the bottom of this page.


  1. First Place Finish winners of each heat, semi-finals, and finals.
  2. People’s Choice Award (voted on by participants and Harbor Fest attendees)



Things to bring with you to build a cardboard boat:

  1. Your ideas! Draw a picture. Make a model. Name it.
  2. Cardboard (mattress boxes, refrigerator or stove boxes, large packing boxes, and smaller boxes, the thicker the better)
  3. Utility knife
  4. Paintbrush (old or cheap one for glue application)
  5. Caulking gun
  6. Measuring device (yardstick, measuring tape, etc.) and square
  7. Rope or bungee cords to hold things together while they dry
  8. Duct tape

We will have these items on hand but it’s best to bring your own.

Numb Enough

“How to” instructions: