Saturday, September 12, 2015


Cleveland Metroparks Lakefront Reservation,
Edgewater Park

See Map

This unique event helps raise awareness about the impacts of plastics on the environment, in particular oceans, lakes and streams. Part design competition, part boat race, the Great Lake Erie Boat Float is also lots of fun.

The Boat Float is held in conjunction with The Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s annual Conservation Symposium. This year’s symposium, Science by the People: New Challenges, New Opportunities, will be held on Friday, September 11, 2015.

The judges for The 2014 Great Lake Erie Boat Float were:

2014 Boat Float Awards photos

Most Sea Worthy

Fairview's Fabulous Floating Junk-It

Best Use of Recyclable Materials

OH, Rubbish!

Most Artistic Style

S.S. Restore

How To Participate

Float your boat

Build a boat using post-consumer recyclable materials. Bring it to Edgewater Park. Launch it and discover if it floats. Compete to be the first to paddle out 300 feet and back. Participants will compete for the title of Fastest Boat, Best Use of Recyclable Materials, and Most Artistic Style.

Watch the fun

Every sporting event needs spectators, and the Boat Float is no exception. So even if building a boat doesn’t appeal to you, come down to Edgewater Beach to cheer on the boat teams. And remember — as much fun as it is to watch the boats float, it’s even more fun to see what happens when they don’t.

Clean up the beach

Immediately following the Boat Float trophy ceremony join Drink Local. Drink Tap. for an Adopt-A-Beach™ beach cleanup. Adopt-A-Beach™ is an Alliance of the Great Lakes program.

Just for kids!

The Li’l Sailors category is for children 12 years of age and younger who would like to build a small boat out of post-consumer recyclable materials. All Li’l Sailors boats will be displayed on the beach and judged prior to the start of the Boat Float. The winner of the Li’l Sailors category will be announced at the conclusion of the Boat Float. Li’l Sailors are encouraged to fill out a registration form to be considered for a prize.

Find Out What Floats Your Boat

Boat Ideas

Previous Boat Floats

Take a look at past entries in the Boat Float.

12 Plastic Boats

Use Marcus Eriksen’s boat designs to jumpstart your planning.

Trash Boats

Need more inspiration? Here is a collection of boat ideas from around the world.

Launch Site and Course

See the map and learn more about the launch site and course.


Contact Boat Float Coordinator Cathi Lehn, 216-664-2421.


New for 2015

Join the City of Cleveland Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and Sustainable Cleveland 2019 in celebrating 2015, the Year of Clean Water!

Kick the Bottled Water Habit

Join Sustainable Cleveland, the Cleveland Water Alliance, and other Northeast Ohio organizations and businesses by pledging to eliminate or reduce the use of disposable plastic water bottles at meetings and/or events hosted by your organization or business in 2015. Learn more about how to take the pledge.

Plastic Pollution is Everyone’s Problem

Plastics make up a large part of our disposable society, but that luxury comes with a substantial cost. Plastics cause aesthetic problems in our community and economic problems for city sanitation and tourism, and threaten our environment and human health.

Each year, the average American generates 254 pounds of plastic waste. But the truth is that it never really goes “away.” Plastics are manmade organic polymers derived from natural gas and petroleum. When exposed to UV radiation, the polymers break apart and get smaller, but persist as pollutants.

In research conducted in the Great Lakes over the last few summers, high concentrations of plastic microbeads (<1mm in size) were found in Lake Erie.

How to Help

  • Reducing plastic pollution starts with you!

    • Purchase products containing natural products as an alternative to plastic.
    • Use reusable bags instead of plastic bags.
    • Purchase items with the least amount of packaging.
    • Recycle plastic bags at your local grocery store.
    • Drink tap water from a reusable bottle.
    • Participate in or come out to the beach and watch the Great Lake Erie Boat Float.
  • Join a local beach cleanup. Learn about cleanups happening near you:

Hosted By

Sustainable Cleveland 2019
Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Sponsors and Supporters

The Great Lake Erie Boat Float is made possible with the ongoing support of:

Cleveland Lakefront Parks Conservancy
RES Pollyflow