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Due to COVID-19, 2021 Thunder Bay Maritime Festival and Cardboard Boat Regatta Canceled

Due to the lead time needed for fundraising and planning, the Thunder Bay Maritime Festival and Cardboard Boat Regatta will not be held on July 4, 2021.

“We hope everyone still gets out and safely enjoys our sanctuary this summer –and count on an incredible Thunder Bay Maritime Festival in 2022,” said Sanctuary Superintendent Jeff Gray.

“Explore the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Trail and paddle, snorkel, dive, or take a cruise on the LADY MICHIGAN,” emphasized Gray.

PLEASE NOTE: The LADY MICHIGAN will still offer cruises all day (10 am, 1 pm, and 4 pm) on July 4th and offer a special fireworks cruise.  

Lady Michigan tickets are available for purchase now with daily cruises starting on May 22 and continuing through early October, as weather allows. Please note that the fireworks cruise tends to sell out quickly. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit alpenashipwrecktours.com or call 989-884-6200.


Construct a “human-powered” boat made of corrugated cardboard that will hold at least one crew member and be “seaworthy” to race (for a short while at least) on the Thunder Bay River in Alpena.

Fun for everyone in the family!
Anyone age 10 or older may enter the race.|
Individuals, Groups, Non-Profits, Businesses, Corporate, and School Teams come join us!

Boat Classes

Class 1: Kids’ Paddle (10 – 14 year old sailors)
Class 2: Single Sailor
Class 3: Crew of Two
Class 4: The Whole Crew-Group (minimum of 3 sailors to compete)


Class Awards:
1st place awards for speed in each class

Single Awards:
Pride of the Fleet Award: Most well engineered (design and floatability)
Admiral’s Award: Most innovative and unique design
Captain’s Award: Based on team dress (costumes), team involvement with spectators and crowd response, and team spirit.
Titanic Award: The most dramatic sinking. Boat must float and clear (50 feet) beyond the starting line. Best effort NOT to sink.
Most Sailors Afloat Award: Most sailors in a boat and it has to float.
Judges Bribe Award: Let it not be said that we are above bribing the judges! Anyone and everyone may bribe a judge. Contributions (aka bribes) are considered a donation to the Friends of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The current “highest bribe” will be posted all day.
Thunder Bay Cup: Overall race winner based on time.
Battle Royale: Open to all participants, an all-out race to the finish after the Thunder Bay Cup. Racers are encouraged to bring squirt guns to intimidate their opponents! 


10:00 – 1:00pm: Set up and fine tune your boat
1:00pm: Check-In Deadline, review by judges
2:30pm: Races begin starting with Class 1
4:00pm: Awards Ceremony at Rotary Island by Registration Tent 


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