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Boat Race Rules


Build Rules


The entire boat must be built out of corrugated or standard cardboard, this cardboard may be as thick or have as many layers as you want. You may not use Paper-mâché to ‘cover’ the hull although it may be used to join cardboard panels or strengthen joints 

The following materials are also permitted in the construction:

Brown wrapping paper, Newspaper, Tissue paper, Cardboard tubes


Duct tape, masking tape, gaffer tape and packing tape along with adhesives such as PVA Glue, “liquid nails” or silicone may be used to connect cardboard-to-cardboard or reinforce seams, stress points & joints. Tapes may not be used to waterproof hulls and may not be 'Wrapped' around the hull


The following paint types are permitted to help water-seal the hull joints & edges:

Rubber ('Caucho'), Standard interior/exterior emulsion paint, one-part polyurethane varnish, Water-

based sealant


Applied paint, glue & silicone must be dry for at least 24 hours prior to launching, boats that have wet paint or other materials may be disqualified


Oars & Paddles must be ‘Homemade’ and are under the same build-restrictions as hulls. Although wooden broom-handles may be used for shafts or handles, the blades themselves must be made from cardboard, however edges can be taped & siliconed if required, but not 'wrapped' in tape or film. Tie-wraps may be used to join the blades to the handles & the same paint rules apply as with boat construction


Decorations and props that are not part of the boat's hull or structure can be made of anything as long as they do not add to the strength, integrity or buoyancy of the boat or are going to be removed from the hull prior to entering the water


If there is any doubt about the construction, race judges reserve the right to use a probe, to test and verify that only permitted materials have been used & no other prohibited matter is present and if necessary they may decide to cut into the boat in order to confirm although if this compromises the structural of waterproofing integrity of the hull, the judge may require the boat to be made available after the race so that the inspection can then be performed by cutting if necessary - any contravention of the rules will result in the offending boat being disqualified and any winning race position would be withdrawn


Design is the builder’s choice. Let your imagination run wild, and remember one thing - good taste counts, designs, images or any other display deemed to be inappropriate may result in withdrawal of the offending vessel from the race


Strict 'Dont’s'

“Sono-tubes”, (used in the construction world to pour concrete columns) or any other type of pre- treated or coated cardboard that has been processed in such a way as to make the cardboard waterproof must not be used


The hull of the boat must not contain wood, plastic, fiberglass, Styrofoam or any other foam or flotation device, including empty bottles, polystyrene or expanding foam

Tar-based substances, epoxy glue, fiberglass resins or waterproofing compounds such as wax are not permitted to be used anywhere in the hull structure


Hulls must not be “wrapped” in plastic, duct tape, Cling-film or anything else of this type and exposed areas of hull may only be painted as per the rules set out above


Metal or plastic staples, clamps, nails, screws, etc must not be used. These are potentially dangerous to the crews, rescue teams, the public and the environment


No batteries or motors may be used in construction of the boat. These may be used for decoration and display purpose during judging only and any battery or motor must be removed prior to the boat entering the water


Where the crew sits must not be enclosed. The boat crew must be able to get into and out of the boat easily & without let or hindrance in case of emergency




In all cases, Judges rulings are final and there are no appeals

Race Rules


All boats must either pre-register or register in Casemates. Once the procession leaves Casemates no more registrations will be accepted. On arrival at Casemates a representative must register with Race Officials


Boats must be in position in Casemates Square for judging by 10am on Race Day, teams may deliver their vessels by car or van but no vehicles are permitted to remain in Casemates and must withdraw immediately once the boat is dropped off


Boats may be re-used for both kids & adults races but any team wishing to enter in this manner must pre-register the boat at the RAOB muster-point in Casemates Square before teams move off to Ocean Village; strictly NO registrations will be accepted once the Juniors race has begun or between the two races. Any boat that fails to survive the Juniors Race is not eligible for a refund if it is unavailable for the Seniors Race


Teams must carry their boats from Casemates to Ocean Village in procession, but trollies or wheels are permitted


ALL crew entering the Junior Race must be under 18 years of age on Race Day. All participants in this race MUST wear a life-jacket


There are to be a minimum of two (2) persons in every boat, there is no restriction on maximum number of crew. In the Senior Race this means 2 crew members over 18. Persons under 18 may be carried as passengers but they may not paddle, and must wear a life-jacket


Winning  boats must  be  'Afloat' when they get to the  finish point, with a minimum of 2 crew members still aboard, with or without paddles but must still be making way under the power of their own on-board crew. Boats that are being pushed or towed by crew members who are not inside the boat will not be eligible for race position status and will be deemed not to have finished the race

Any boat that fails to round any one of the buoys designated as race boundaries will be disqualified and  will  not  be  eligible  for  any  race  prize  position.  Safety  boat  crew  and  RAOB  spotters  will determine if any boat has failed to complete the course correctly and will report to the pontoon master


Boats may be required to participate in a Qualifying Heat before the Final


REMEMBER: To finish first, first you must finish

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