Auxiliary participates in Cardboard Boat Race

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Participants take part in the Cardboard Boat Race with Coastie the Safety Boat in attendance.  Photo by Auxiliarist Brad Simpson

Captain, find your first mate and race to the finish line in our Pirate Party Cardboard Boat Race! Awards were given for both spirit and success. A cardboard boat race, sometimes known as a boat regatta, is a common school-spirit competition for students of high school and college age. The earliest documented cardboard boat regatta was the result of a design problem created by Davis Pratt at Southern Illinois University in 1962. Now Regattas are enjoyed by more than 1,500 participants and more than 100,000 spectators across the USA each summer, and more communities join the Circuit each year. Family fun, community spirit, and creativity are the key words.

Article by Auxiliarist Brad Simpson, New London, NC

Eight teams competed for prizes at the recent Durham Parks and Recreation Cardboard Boat Race. A typical competition format allows competitors a fixed build time, using predetermined number of corrugated fiberboard sheets, glue, adding machine tape, and paint. Duct tape is also often a key ingredient. Once completed, teams must race their boats across a shallow pond, river, or swimming pool using similarly constructed oars. The boats will almost always flood, sink, or shred under the weight, mostly owing to the difficulties of waterproofing cardboard. Awards are often given out for effort and spirit, instead of victory.

This is a great event that teaches the participants boat construction, how to properly board a boat and how a boat is maneuvered in the water. Each participant is required to wear a life jacket.

The local Coast Guard Auxiliary was asked to participate in this year’s event. Coastie the Safety Boat entertained the crowd and also taught the audience about boating safety. There was a demonstration on the proper use and selection of life jackets. There was also a demonstration on how difficult it is to put on a life jacket after you have already entered the water. The demonstration stressed the importance of always wearing a life jacket regardless of your age.

There were boating safety activity books provided for the children as well as safe boating brochures and information for the adults.  A safe boater is an educated and sober boater.

Participants receive awards for their entries. Typical awards include Vogue Award -most spectacular or prettiest-looking boat; Pride of the Regatta – most creative design and best use of corrugated cardboard; Best- Dressed Team – costumes may be funny, spiffy, or elegant; Team Spirit Award – most-spirited and best-organized team;  Titanic Award most spectacular sinking. To qualify, you must salvage the remains completely.

The Parks and Recreation hopes to make this an annual event.

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