Second Annual Anything That Floats

Anything That Floats challenges participants to build a device to float a short distance along Buffalo Bayou with discarded building materials provided the day-of by RDA. The competition is open to all!

What: Anything That Floats hosted by rdAGENTS

When: April 28, 2012

7:30-8:00: Teams arrive and unload materials along Preston St. between Smith St. and the bayou.
8:00-11:00: Build
11:30-1:30: Float, followed by Judging and Awards

Breakfast and lunch will be provided by RDA.

Where: Sesquicentennial Park along Buffalo Bayou

RDA Member Ticket Prices:$20

Non-RDA Member Prices: $25

To register, please fill out and fax or email this form to

A special thank you to our sponsors: Gowan, Inc., Chamberlin Roofing and Waterproofing, and JE Dunn Construction.


• Maximum of twelve teams allowed for competition
• Maximum of 5 team members per team.
• No building will be allowed prior to event start time.
• Teams are only allowed to use materials provided by competition.
• Teams may use connection materials and tools in provided list.
• No power will be provided.
• Minimum of 2 people on the float
• Water aids will be in the bayou along course to help
• Team members on float are allowed paddles provided by RDA only.
• Team members may not use banks of bayou for propulsion.
• Team members outside of float may not propel float in any way.
• Water will be provided for teams.
• No alcoholic beverages allowed during competition
• Life preservers provided by RDA must be worn at all times in the water

Team members may bring:

Non-power tools, such as saws, hammers or battery-operated tools (there will no electricity at the site).
Tape (one standard-sized roll only, 180 ft)
Rubber bands
Nails or other connection materials


Teams will be allowed to unload materials at Sesquicentennial Park along Preston Street between 7:30 and 8:00am in between Smith St. and the bayou. Vehicles will be allowed back after 1:00 p.m. to pick up materials.

Parking can be found underground in front of the Wortham Theatre.

More details on rules and judging criteria coming soon!

What makes something float?

Buoyancy, or the force pushing upward on an object in a fluid, is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object. The relationship between buoyancy and the weight of the displaced fluid is called Archimedes’ Principle.

Objects submerged in fluid appear to weigh less than they do out of the fluid. This is caused when the force at the bottom of an object in a fluid is greater than the force at the top of the object. The overall force is in the upward direction and acts against the downward weight of the object. The upward force is called the buoyant force.

So why do some objects float and some objects sink? The answer lies in the object’s density. Density is the relationship between an object’s volume and its mass. An object will float in a fluid if the density of that object is less than the density of the fluid.

Air also plays a role in whether some objects sink or float. A heavy steel ship is built of a steel shell with a hollow inside. So the volume of the ship is made up mostly of air. The ship and air together have a density that is less than that of water. They can displace a weight of water equal to or greater than their weight. As the boat displaces the water, the water pushes upward against the boat. These forces together cause the boat to stay afloat.

The cargo on a boat also becomes a factor. If a boat is loaded with too much cargo, it will have a higher density and will ride lower in the water because it has to displace more water to stay afloat.

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