Bathtub racing

Bathtub racing is a competition that involves the use of bathtub boats, small powered watercraft designed around bathtubs or close facsimiles.

Bathtub racing in Nanaimo

Boat designEdit

Early boats were whimsical and crafted from a variety of materials. Today, most racing bathtub boats are monohull planer types with outboard motors. A form resembling a roll-top tub must be an integral part of the structure. Most tubbers make their "tub" by using a bathtub as the model to lay down a fiberglass mold.

The rules restrict the engine to 9.9 hp (7.28144  kW), and the weight to a minimum of 350 lb (159 kg) including driver. There are three classes of bathtub boats: Stock, Modified, and Super-Modified. Stock motors must be an unmodified stock engine, but can be tuned by adjusting the timing. Modified motors can only modify the lower leg and propeller. Super Modified can modify the entire engine as long as factory parts are used.


Bathtub racing started in Nanaimo, British Columbia. The idea was conceived to showcase Nanaimo to the world, with the first races beginning with the "Nanaimo to Vancouver Great International World Championship Bathtub Race" in 1967.[1]

Frank Ney, Nanaimo's mayor at the time, was one of the largest supporters and promoters of the annual race from its establishment until his death in 1992, and was an avid participant.[2] He would regularly dress as a pirate and tour the town and surrounding communities.

Until the 1990s, the race was held as a part of Vancouver's annual Sea Festival, aka Sea Fest, when tubbers raced from Nanaimo to Vancouver's Kitsilano Beach. With the demise of the Vancouver Marine Festival in the mid-1990s, the race now involves a course beginning and ending in Nanaimo Harbour.

The current course takes the tubbers into the open waters of Georgia Strait and is currently 58 kilometres in length.[3] The race is held the last weekend of July every year.[4]

Other cities, like Auckland's North Shore with its Englefield Bathtub Derby, and Bremerton, Washington with the US-Canadian Friendship race now hold bathtub races, but the Nanaimo event continues to be the most widely known.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "History - Bathtub Racing and the Sea Festival, (aka Sea fest),". Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society. 2003. Archived from the original on August 27, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
  2. ^ "Admiral of the Fleet". Retrieved 2022-11-22.
  3. ^ "Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society :: Course Maps". Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  4. ^ Izon, Lucy. "Nanaimo British Columbia is the official Bathtub Racing Capital of the World". What Makes Canada Cool?. Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-11.

External linksEdit