Float to victory or swim to shore!
Francis Marion University is hosting its annual Cardboard Boat Regatta,
where groups of students will set sail across Durant Pond
in boats made of nothing but cardboard and tape!


When and Where

FMU’s Cardboard Regatta will be held at Durant Pond on the university’s campus in Durant Park, directly behind the Lee Nursing Building on Friday, April 21, 2023.

Teams should report to the judging area near the starting line by 3:30 PM on Race Day.

Races start promptly at 4 PM.

Building Sessions

Boat building sessions will be held in the UC 218 from Monday, April 17th – Thursday, April 20th from 8:30 AM – 10 PM. Boat building can continue on Race Day, Friday, April 21st from 8:30 AM – 3 PM. Free cardboard, tape, and storage until Race Day will be provided.


All FMU students in academic and disciplinary good standing are eligible. Applicants will be asked to supply their FMU email address (@g.fmarion.edu) as part of the registration process.

Teams are free to select their own team names and create team apparel, subject to approval by the organizing committee.

Registration will close on April 14th.



Boat design and construction Requirements

  1. Only corrugated cardboard may be used. It can be of any thickness. No tubes are allowed.
  2. Groups may use cardboard and duct tape purchased by Student Life for their boat building sessions.
  3. Groups can build and store their vessels in UC 218 starting Monday 4/3. UC 218 will be available to all groups from Monday 4/3 until Race Day, Friday, April 21st at 3:30 PM when the boats need to be placed for judging.
  4. Free cardboard, tape, and storage until Race Day will be provided in UC 218.
  5. No material such as styrofoam or rubber inflation devices may be used to provide “buoyancy” or maintain flotation. Violators will be branded “Pirates” and stripped of any trophies.
  6. The Boats may be painted. (This is encouraged to be more creative!)
  7. For environmental reasons, hulls may not be coated in tar, oil-based paints, vinyl, plastic coating, shrink wrap, or fiberglass resin.
  8. Joints and seams may be glued and/or taped. Duct tape, contact cement, rubber cement, or construction adhesive may be used.
  9. No nails, metal or wood fasteners, or staples may be used in the construction of the boat. NO FLEX SEAL! (Above the water line, small amounts may be used for decoration only.)
  10. Boats may be of any width, length, or height. (Be creative!)
  11. Decorations may be made from any material, but may not be used to reinforce the actual structure of the boat. Decorations must not aid in the flotation or propulsion of the boat, and must not create a fire or safety hazard.
  12. All boats need to be able to be carried in the Parade of Boats prior to the race, and from the judging area to the designated starting bank on Durant Pond. (Keep it light, or have enough teammates to assist!)
  13. Boat design is left up to the builders. Let your imagination take over, and make your boat look like a race car, flying saucer, dragon, etc. Crew costumes are encouraged!
  14. Paddles must meet the same construction requirements as the boats (cardboard, glue, and duct tape only). Boats must be propelled by the use of a paddle and/or hands. No artificial paddles are allowed.

**Note** Boats are subject to inspection and disqualification by Race Officials.

Crew Requirements

  1. Teams may be of any number (The more the merrier!). All teams must be officially registered by April 14, 2023. (Race day is on April 21st.)
  2. Only one (1) chosen “Captain” can sail in the race. If the boat entry is large enough to hold two (2) seafarers, two (2) are permissible.
  3. Teams are encouraged to vie for the Team Spirit Award, coming out in regalia to go along with the theme of their boat entry. (Think T-shirts, pirate costumes, etc.)
  4. No boat will be allowed to leave the starting gate unless all persons on board are wearing a personal flotation device (PFD), as well as hard-soled, close-toed shoes.
  5. Up to two (2) teammates who are not in the boat may help push the boat away from the starting line.
  6. All teams must ensure that their area has been cleaned prior to departure on Regatta day. All boats and materials must be removed from the site or cut apart and placed in available trash containers.

The Race Course

  1. The course will entail an “out and back” circuit from the marked starting bank, around the designated Buoy in Durant Pond, near LNB, and back to the starting bank.
  2. Contestants may choose the path they wish to travel in their out-and-back heat.
  3. Dependent upon the number of entries, there will be heats of two (2) boats completing the course circuit at any one time.
  4. Boat Captains may not intentionally ram another boat, or cause harm or sinkage due to intentionally splashing another boat, throwing water balloons, etc.
  5. All remaining boats (still capable after their heats) are invited to compete in the final race of the day: The Pirate’s Race! There are no rules to that race. May the best ship win!


  1. The Clipper Ship Award: Fastest Boat to run the course, based on your time from your heats
  2. The Most Creative Award: Judges’ choice on design and artistic elements
  3. The Most Team Spirit Award: Judges’ choice based on teams’ support of their entry’s theme
  4. The Titanic Award: Judges’ choice given to the most spectacular sinking

**NOTE** All boats need to be in the judging area near the starting line by 3:00 PM on Race Day.

Any rule not specifically covered above will be left to the discretion of the judges.