It's sink or swim on Grass Lake, but that's what happens when the boats are made out of paper.
"You have to make it out of cardboard and then you use masking tape or duct tape to hold it together, and you can put latex paint on it," said Paul Lammers, who helps organize the annual race.
That's the challenge of the cardboard boat race. Here speed alone won't get you very far. It's creativity and plenty of waterproofing that give you the real competitive edge.
"Just try to seal all the cracks up, lots of tape and hopefully it's not a cardboard strainer it's a boat," said Dan Curylo who helped his daughter build her boat for the race.
There are only a few rules no motors or plastic, just lots of cardboard and a paddle.
"People get very creative with the cardboard and so it's kind of interesting to see what they bring," said Jennifer Keener, who helped start the race six years ago.
As first time competitors are finding out, making the perfect boat isn't always easy.
"This is draft four. We had first second and third drafts, this happens to be number four," shared Heidi Cannon, who hopes her latest draft will hold up.
Once the boats hit the water you have to make it across the finish line to win. But staying afloat that long is the challenge.
Makana Curlyo hopes her strategy will work, "paddling fast."
"I'm hoping I can make it all the way," said Sarah Keener, another racer.
As race organizers know, taking on water is half the fun.
"Some of them you get into and it just falls right apart," Lammers said. "It just depends on the design and how well they hold against the water."
Whether you're sailing into first place or dragging your boat across the finish line, it's just one way to celebrate the Fourth
The race is also a fundraiser for the Grass Lake Leo's Club. Money collected from registration fees goes into the group's scholarship fund.