Cardboard Boat Races

End of an Era

Skills Ontario is sad to announce it will no longer offer the Cardboard Boat Races as part of its competitions. The difficult decision to end the Cardboard Boat Races was made based on a multitude of compounding elements, including location availability and other factors that impact our organization’s ability to host these events across the province.

The Cardboard Boat Races was one of the most celebrated events at Skills Ontario and we want to recognize it as such. Therefore, we will be hosting a virtual send-off ceremony on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, at 10:30am [EST].

A link to the ceremony!

During the ceremony, we will be highlighting some of the best performances from over the competition’s 27 year history! Medals will be awarded to the schools who had the top three fastest times and the top three weights held over the course of the program's history, for both the secondary and elementary levels.

We thank all students, teachers, volunteers, and Skills Ontario staff who have helped make this program so successful over the years. We invite everyone who has participated in the Carboard Boat Races to join us in this final celebration of skill, teamwork, and camaraderie.

Please email if you have any questions!


 The Top 10 for each category (fastest and strongest boats of all time)

Fastest Boats - Elementary

Fastest Boats - Secondary 

Strongest Boats - Elementary

Strongest Boats - Secondary




Since 1992, Skills Ontario had proudly hosted the Cardboard Boat Race program, a program where students combined teamwork with design and construction skills to challenge their peers in a competition to determine the fastest and strongest boat. The team at Skills Ontario truly enjoyed hosting these races over the years.


Program Overview

The whistle blows, and they’re off: cardboard boats of varying descriptions and sizes gliding to the other side of the pool, their builders madly paddling for all they’re worth. For those with good designs and a bit of luck, the cardboard vessels not only make it across the length of the pool, but they also hold the weight of team members as they pile in, one by one.

For over 20 years, Skills Ontario has been hosting Cardboard Boat Races across Ontario, testing the student’s ability to build a floating structure that will outperform all others in speed and weight challenges.

Both elementary and secondary schools participate - on separate days. Teams of four are provided all the necessary materials to build a boat in just two hours. Students must bring their problem-solving, teamwork and design skills as they create a seaworthy structure out of two sheets of 4' by 8' corrugated cardboard and some duct tape.


Video Challenges

Meanwhile, teams of two record their boat building peer’s progress from the construction stage to the races in the pool, as they work to capture the best video of the action. The student videographers then edit and produce a promotional video at their schools. Once submitted, each production is judged, the winners are selected, and teams are provided with a scoring breakdown.