How Do You Make a Cardboard Boat Go Faster?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed to make a cardboard boat go faster? Whether it’s for a competition or just for fun, there are a few things you can do to improve your cardboard boat’s speed. In this article, we will discuss some tips and tricks to make your cardboard boat go faster.

1. Reduce the weight of the boat

One of the most effective ways to make your cardboard boat go faster is to reduce its weight. The less weight your boat has, the easier it will be for it to move through the water. You can reduce the weight of your boat by removing any unnecessary parts or materials that are not essential for its structure.

Here are some ways to reduce the weight of your cardboard boat:

  • Use thinner cardboard
  • Remove any excess tape or glue
  • Cut out any unnecessary parts
  • Avoid adding too many decorations or accessories

2. Improve the shape of the boat

Another way to make your cardboard boat go faster is to improve its shape. The shape of your boat can have a significant impact on how easily it moves through the water and how much resistance it encounters.

Here are some tips for improving the shape of your cardboard boat:

  • Create a streamlined design with a pointed bow and stern
  • Avoid sharp edges or corners that can slow down the boat
  • Add a keel or rudder to help stabilize and steer the boat
  • Create a smooth surface by sanding down any rough edges or bumps

3. Choose the right propulsion method

The propulsion method you use can also have a significant impact on how fast your cardboard boat can go. There are several different methods you can use to propel your boat, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Here are some propulsion methods to consider:

  • Rowing: This method involves using oars or paddles to move the boat through the water. It can be an effective way to generate speed, but it requires a lot of physical effort.
  • Sailing: If you have access to a sail, this can be a great way to generate speed without using as much energy.

    However, it requires some knowledge of wind direction and navigation.

  • Motors: If you’re allowed to use motors in your competition, this can be one of the fastest ways to move your cardboard boat through the water. However, it may not be allowed in all competitions.

4. Use proper paddling technique

If you’re using rowing or paddling as your propulsion method, it’s important to use proper technique to generate maximum speed.

Here are some tips for efficient paddling technique:

  • Sit up straight and keep your core engaged
  • Use a fluid motion and avoid jerky movements
  • Keep your arms and shoulders relaxed
  • Dip the paddle fully into the water and pull it back smoothly


Making a cardboard boat go faster requires some careful planning and attention to detail. By reducing weight, improving shape, choosing the right propulsion method, and using proper technique, you can increase your chances of winning any competition or just enjoying a fun day out on the water with friends.

Photo of author

Michael Allen