Sink or Swim: students build boats with duct tape and cardboard

Manitoba students had to put their creativity and skills to good use if they wanted to stay afloat in the 12th annual Cardboard Boat Race.

On Wednesday afternoon at the 17th Wing Fitness and Recreation Centre, sixteen teams of high school students from across the province competed in the annual challenge.

The teams of four students had two hours to build a vessel that would carry their weight across the pool. The catch – they only had card board, duct tape, and a few other odds and ends to do it.

“It’s just the team building exercise behind everything, it’s just really fun,” said Ethan Sinclair, a student competing in the challenge. “Sometimes it doesn’t go as planned, but you improvise on the go and you try your best.”

While the boat building event is supposed to be a fun day for the students – that’s not the only purpose of the day.

The event, which is hosted by Skills Canada Manitoba, is meant to introduce students to career opportunities in skilled labour.

“Occupations in skilled trades and technology are in high demand, pay well and add to Manitoba’s economic success,” Maria Pacella, Executive Director of Skills Canada Manitoba said in news releases. “We need to encourage young Manitobans to pursue these career opportunities.”

Brad Peters has been judging the competition for four years. He said he’s seen some students show creativity and resourcefulness.

“Some of the designs are just really just cutting-edge, and even some of the technologies that the students use to develop their plans – using CAD drawings as opposed to a napkin sketch,” Peters said. “Really it’s great to see the potential in the youth today.”