College engineers keep concrete canoes afloat in Suttons Bay

Concrete canoe clubs get ready to race at South Shore Beach in Suttons Bay

Engineering students in concrete canoe clubs from nine different schools around Michigan and northern Ohio competed in boat races today in Suttons Bay. Many of the teams have been preparing their boats and practicing their paddling since school started or before.

It takes several semesters to get the canoe designs researched and created and sometimes they don't even touch water until competition. Club members say it's exciting when the boats don't sink right away. The competitions are run by the American Society of Engineers but that isn't the only major welcome to join the concrete canoe club.

And exactly how does a canoe made of concrete float?

The engineers can explain that it is more of the combination of carbon, and lightweight fibers and other elements that create a concrete canoe, but no rocks are involved. The competition today consists of 5 races including sprints, co-ed races, and an endurance race over 600 meters long.

Teams that do well will advance to the national competitions in June at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.


1. Michigan Tech

2. Ohio Northern

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