2024 Cardboard Boat Regatta

The 15th Cardboard Boat Regatta will be held on Friday, May 10, 2024 at Bettendorf Middle Park Lagoon.  The public is welcome to attend the event. 

Link to pre-register high school teams and STEM Educators, Administrators and STEM Professionals (separate race from students around Noon) 

Link to apply as an event volunteer (no prior experience is required)   

Information About the Cardboard Boat Regatta

This competition is the 3rd event in the QC Tech Challenge.  High school teams and individuals receive points from each of the 3 QC Tech Challenge events (Battle of Bridges Contest, Trebuchet Egg Throw Contest, and Cardboard Boat Regatta Race).  For high schools, a traveling trophy is provided to the top scoring high school and an award to the top scoring individual along with a $1,000 scholarship.   

Bettendorf Middle Park Lagoon
2014-2016 Parkway Drive
Bettendorf, Iowa

Event Challenge:  Teams from area high school will design and construct a one to three person vessel made from cardboard.  It must be maneuverable and stay afloat for approximately 600 yards.  The boats will compete at the Bettendorf Middle Park Lagoon.  The boats will be timed from the moment they leave the lagoon dock to the time they return, with the fastest time winning the race competition with two other judged awards given out. 

High School Awards:

  • Top 3 teams based on fastest time will receive one picture trophy per team and individual medals for each team member.
  • A panel of QCESC judges will select two awards supporting the best design & innovation:
    • Most Innovative Design with a trophy provided
    • Best Theme Design with TUTnam Trophy 

Teams:  Teams will consist of one or more students and one adviser. An advisor may be a teacher, principal, parent, or guardian or anyone designated by the school that is an adult and willing to take on the challenge and responsibility.

Requirements for teams and/or volunteers to participate:

  • Certificate of Insurance:  Each school or organization with teams participating must provide a copy of certificate of insurance naming the City of Bettendorf as an additional insured on your policy. You can either bring a copy to the event at check-in with your first team or e-mail to the [email protected]  This is required for your teams to participate.
  • Consent Forms:   All participating students & volunteers must provide signed consent forms at check-in to participate.  Students under 18 years of age must have the form signed by one of their parents or guardians.  Link to QCESC consent form
  • Life Vest:  Anyone that participates in the race must be wearing a coast guard approved life vest.  We will have 5-6 life vests of various sizes available to use.  If are welcome to bring your own if they are coast guard approved and you want to insure a “dry” vest and the best fit.

Link to Cardboard Boat Race Competition Guidelines & Rules

Link to Cardboard Boat Design Steps

Team Schedule and Sequence:

  • Teams need to show up a minimum of 20 minutes early and be ready to go when their team is called which may be slightly different than the schedule.  Make sure and factor in travel time.
  • Team Sequence at the event:
    • Check in & get team picture
    • Boat will be inspected to insure meets event rules/requirements 
      Note:  judges reserve the right to re-check boats after the race to insure all materials are in compliance with the published rules.
    • Brief review with judges to explain their design and the design process they used and answer questions.  The judges will provide verbal feedback on their boat design & design process.
    • With life vests on, when instructed the team will put their boat in the water by the dock after the previous team leaves the dock.  For this year, once the team ahead of them reaches the island, they will then be given the OK to start. 
      Students may want to consider wearing old shoes rather than going barefoot when competing in case their boat sinks or overturns and they have to walk to shore (shallow water).  
    • When complete, the team will remove their boat and all associated debris from the water and put their boat in the location for pickup by the City of Bettendorf

Event All Time Course Records:

  • Student Course Record
    2:03 – Brayden Weinschenk & Levi Moser, Pleasant Valley High School – 28May12
  • Teacher/Adult Course Record
    2:24 – Dan Drexler, Bettendorf High School – 20May13
  • Number of Participates
    57 teams, 139 students from 7 high schools (Alleman, Bettendorf, Durant, Maquoketa, Moline, Pleasant Valley, and Rivermont Collegiate) – 13May16

For further information or questions, please email [email protected] 

Link to past event photos: