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July 4, 2017 > Can cardboard boats float?

Can cardboard boats float?

Submitted By Peter Beireis

Start gathering your cardboard and grab lots of duct tape. ItÕs time to prepare for the popular Cardboard Boat Regatta in Newark.

The festive event, held each summer in the swimming pool at Silliman Center, attracts throngs of young and young-at-heart sailors. Using just cardboard and duct tape, participants build a boat that they can race across the pool while not sinking.

Boats should not just be Òsea-worthyÓ they must be worthy of being seen. That means they should be colorful with creative features, fun shapes and adorned with festive decorations. The cardinal boat-builderÕs rule applies, though: only cardboard and duct tape can be used for the basic boat. All boats must be built in advance at home and be brought to Silliman Center on the day of the event.

Other rules: Each boat must carry at least one captain and be propelled by hand or paddle (cardboard and duct tape) the entire length of the pool. Participants are responsible for the disposal of their boat at the end of the event.

The race is open to participants from age 6 to adult. Sailors will be divided into age categories and will compete for prizes. Every participant will receive a certificate of participation and will have free access to the aquatic center for the rest of the day.

ÒWe began the cardboard boat races as a free fun annual community event in 2004 when we opened the center,Ó said Peter Beireis, senior recreation supervisor. He added that the number of people competing in the event varies each year with the number peaking in the high 20s one year. ÒBut most typically around 10 brave captains pilot their boats each year,Ó Beireis said.

This yearÕs Cardboard Boat Regatta is set for Friday, July 14 from 10:30 a.m. until noon at Silliman Center, 6800 Mowry Avenue, Newark. The event is free to participants and spectators. But participants should register in advance online by visiting the Activity Reg website at and following the directions.

More information about the event or Silliman Center is available by calling Aquatic Coordinator Nick Cuevas at (510) 578-4631 or by sending an email to

Beireis sums up the Cardboard Boat Regatta as a family-friendly community gathering. ÒWe do not solicit sponsors for the event. Everyone who comes out enjoys and cheers on the captains; it is great to see families really get into it.Ó

Cardboard Boat Regatta
Friday, July 14
10:30 a.m. Ð Noon
Silliman Center, 6800 Mowry Ave., Newark
(510) 578-4631

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