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School of Mines students are floating (and capsizing) cardboard boats on Clear Creek

The Colorado School of Mines is holding its annual E-Day race on Saturday, where students use cardboard to build a boat.

GOLDEN, Colo — With light snow falling in Golden and a 32 degree temperature, the cardboard boat race went forward for Colorado School of Mines engineering students.

The annual event is a part of Engineering Days (E-Days), which started in 1927. Participating students build a boat from cardboard that floats the entire team 300 yards down a water obstacle course on Clear Creek in Golden.

>> Watch the race live

This year's race started at 9 a.m. Saturday and is expected to go until noon. Colorado School of Mines said the event will maintain social distancing to keep the participants safe. Teams were given race times so they would not show up at the same time, to allow space for social distancing, the school said.

To comply with COVID-19 guidelines, the school implemented a few more rules for paddlers: Face coverings were required at all times and paddlers that felt sick should not attend. 

Along with those are their regular guidelines:

  • Cardboard only for all components 
  • Cloth can be used for decoration such as flags 
  • Paddles or oars must be made from cardboard (shaft can be dowel or broomstick) 
  • No flotation devices can be used for construction 
  • Adhesives (glue, liquid nails, duct tape) can be used only as fasteners 
  • Rope but not wire can be used as a fastener 
  • Paints or varnish can be used as decoration, but not as waterproofing 
  • No asphalt or asphalt products (it pollutes Clear Creek)
  • No duct tape or other tape products used as coatings 
  • Team members must wear life jackets and helmets in the boat 
  • A minimum of 3 team members must be in the boat during the race. 
  • All team members must finish inside the boat to qualify for the time trial 

>> See a full list of the limitations and rules here

Participants are competing to win the fastest boat, best engineering design and/or best demonstration of theme.

>> Video below is from Colorado's School of Mines virtual E-day in 2020

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