It’s time once again for you to challenge your friends, your family, and your colleagues to build boats out of stuff that any normal person would take to the dump and enter them in the Whatever Floats Your Boat Regatta at the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory. Boats can be as artistic or as whacky as you want to make them. Just build ‘em and they will float . . . more or less.

You landlubbers will be busy ashore cheering on the captains and crews of these outrageously constructed vessels as they sail, row, or scull around the course, topple over, or slowly sink into Apalachee Bay. Watch the Regatta from various shoreline vantage points around the lab on either side of the boat basin. Enjoy good food, have loads of fun, all while learning about recycling and how to reduce the impact of plastics in our marine environments.

Rules for Boat Construction

The rules are simple and apply to all entries:

  • All boats must be constructed of materials that have been previously used (that is, nothing new except duct tape) for anything except for a boat
  • All boats must be propelled either by poles, self-made oars, self-made paddle wheels, or sails made out of material not intended for sails --or any combination thereof
  • All boats should be less than 20 feet long
  • All boats must have a readily visible name that appears either on both sides of the bow or on the stern

Acceptable Previously Used Materials:

  • Cardboard and Wood
  • Plastic bottles and Metal Cans
  • Duct tape, twine, and rope
  • Cloth, including burlap bags
  • Chairs, dolls, feather boas, mannequins – no kidding

Unacceptable Materials:

  • Parts from "real" boats, including old boat hulls – commercial or recreational, boogie or surf boards, real  rudders, engines, sails, oars or anything else actually used on a boat.
  • Material that could easily break off your boat and float away (e.g., styrofoam packing peanuts)
  • Containers that held  pollutants, harsh chemicals, or other potentially hazardous powders or liquids
  • Potentially dangerous objects (e.g., sharp edges, rusty metal, or anything made of glass)
People's Choice - The Vicarious Viking Villain

NOTE: All materials on the boat must be securely fastened so that no loose objects fall off into Apalachee Bay during the regatta. If any piece of your boat falls into the water, it is your responsibility to retrieve it.

It is the racing crew's responsibility to "leave behind no trace" of your boat. Whatever you carry in, you carry out.

Rules for Safety

  • All captains must be at least 18 years of age.
  • All crewmembers must be at least 12 years of age.
  • All captains and their crew members MUST wear U.S. Coast Guard Approved life vests (not that we don't trust your shipbuilding abilities) and closed toed shoes. No flip flops
  • No swimming, pushing, or towing and no attaching any parachutes to the stern of someone else’s boat.  Not that anyone would actually try that. 

We expect all boats to be at the FSUCML waterfront by 10:30 a.m. on the day of the regatta. The judges will inspect the boats before the race begins to ensure compliance with the construction and safety rules. After all inspections are complete, the Master of Ceremonies will explain the race course.

Prize Categories:

  1. First boat to cross the finish line in the regatta
  2. Most creative use of materials
  3. Titanic Award for the most spectacular failure
  4. People's Choice

Register Online or Download the Registration Form

Download the Waiver of Liability Form Here

Download the photo releases:
Adult Photo Release
Minor Photo Release

Questions? Contact

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