ASCE to Host Virtual Concrete Canoe Competition


For the first year ever, the American Society of Civil Engineers has announced it will be hosting the 2021 Concrete Canoe Competition virtually, as part of the 2021 Virtual Concrete Canoe Competition+.

Last year, the competition was canceled in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Decades of Concrete Canoes

Concrete canoe competitions, according to ASCE, informally began in the early 1970s, when student chapters of the society constructed and competed their engineered floating devices to see which could design the most viable canoes made with the ubiquitous building material.

In 1988, ASCE introduced the first national championship, giving concrete canoe-builders nationwide something to aspire to. That year, Master Builders Inc. was the competition’s sole corporate sponsor.

In 2019, UW–Madison placed seventh in the national competition at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida. However, years prior, the university won five consecutive national titles from 2003-07.

Competition Postponement

Prior to its cancellation, the 2020 spring and summer canoe competitions were slated to be hosted at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The ASCE Great Lakes Student Conference regional competition was slated to take place April 2-4, and the ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition would happen June 13-15 by UW–Madison’s student chapter.

The competition would have been sponsored by the ASCE Foundation, American Concrete Institute, Geico, Pearl Insurance, NPCA Foundation and Morley Construction Company, among potential others.

At the time, students were able to raise about half of their $50,000 goal for the competitions and was hoping to secure about 40 nonstudent volunteers each day to help with the two-day regional competition and 30 per day for the national competition. For the event, the competition expected 19 teams to compete in the regional competition and as many as 25 teams were slated to participate in the national competition. The races were slated to take place on Lake Wingra in Madison, Wisconsin.

2021 Virtual Concrete Canoe Competition+

According to the competition’s event page, the annual ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition will be hosted online for the first time ever. Although, in addition to the popular concrete canoes, the ASCE Sustainable Solutions and ASCE UESI Surveying Competitions will also be held in conjunction with the event.

In moving to the virtual realm, while the canoes won’t actually be racing this year, competing teams will instead be judged on their verbal presentations, technical proposals and enhanced focus area reports that allow them to add an inventive element that adds value to the overall project. Thus far, 18 schools have automatically qualified this spring by winning the concrete canoe competitions at their respective student conferences.

Five wildcard teams were also selected randomly from schools that met certain benchmarks for student chapter excellence. The teams competing are as follows:

  • Clemson University (Carolinas Conference);
  • Arkansas State University (Deep South Conference);
  • Rashtreeya Vidyalaya College of Engineering (India Conference);
  • New York University Tandon School of Engineering (Metropolitan Conference);
  • Drexel University (Mid-Atlantic Conference);
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Mid-Continent Conference);
  • Tongji University (Mid-Pacific Conference);
  • University of Iowa (Midwest Conference);
  • University of Connecticut (New England Conference);
  • University of Michigan (North Central Conference);
  • Youngstown State University (Ohio Valley Conference);
  • University of Washington (Pacific Northwest Conference);
  • University of California, Los Angeles (Pacific Southwest Conference);
  • Colorado School of Mines (Rocky Mountain Conference);
  • University of Florida (Southeast Conference);
  • Tecnológico de Monterrey (Texas-Mexico Conference);
  • University at Buffalo, SUNY (Upstate New York Conference);
  • Virginia Tech (Virginias Conference);
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Wildcard, Carolinas Conference);
  • Western Kentucky University (Wildcard, Ohio Valley Conference);
  • University of Hawai?i at M?noa (Wildcard, Pacific Southwest Conference);
  • University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez (Wildcard, Southeast Conference); and
  • Texas A&M University (Wildcard, Texas-Mexico Conference).

Teams slated to compete in the ASCE Sustainable Solutions Competition are:

  • Louisiana Tech University (Deep South Conference);
  • Bradley University (Great Lakes Conference);
  • Bannari Amman Institute of Technology (India Conference);
  • Hohai University (Mid-Pacific Conference);
  • University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez (Southeast Conference); and
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (Texas-Mexico Conference).

The qualifying teams for the UESI Surveying Competition are:

  • University of Georgia (Carolinas Conference);
  • Christian Brothers University (Deep South Conference);
  • Bradley University (Great Lakes Conference);
  • Rashtreeya Vidyalaya College of Engineering (India Conference);
  • Cincinnati State Technical and Community College (Ohio Valley Conference);
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Pacific Southwest Conference);
  • Colorado School of Mines (Rocky Mountain Conference);
  • University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez (Southeast Conference);
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (Texas-Mexico Conference); and
  • Fairmont State University (Virginias Conference).

The events, although hosted online, will be conducted through officials from the University of Wisconsin– Platteville.

“UW-Platteville’s students and faculty congratulate every one of you for putting in the work and earning an invitation to the 2021 ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition,” they noted on the competition page. “You inspire us as we strive to uphold the traditions, core values, and spirit of competition through our computers virtually. We also congratulate the ASCE Sustainable Solutions and ASCE UESI Surveying teams for your hard work and efforts and look forward to supporting these competitions and helping them grow.”

The competitions are slated to take place on June 25.


Tagged categories: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); Colleges and Universities; Competitions; concrete; Conferences; Contests; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Research; Research and development; Ships and vessels

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.