Get ready to ROCK THE BOAT 2019!

Whirlpool Corporation “Rock the Boat” cardboard boat races return to the St. Joseph River on July 18.

A record 75 boats are set to compete in the fourth annual "Rock the Boat" cardboard boat races, hosted by Whirlpool Corporation on Thursday, July 18, 2019 at The Inn at Harbor Shores (800 Whitwam Drive), with proceeds benefiting United Way of Southwest Michigan. The race begins at 5 p.m.


The life-size boats are made of cardboard, duct tape, and polyurethane, and powered entirely by human paddling. The family-friendly event is free and open to the public. Kids activities will include build-your-own pool-noodle boats. The first 200 kids to come will get free Rock the Boat sunglasses.


“This event has continued to grow every year, and that means more money to the community,” said Dave Cichocki, Vice President of U.S. Sales for Whirlpool Corporation and Chair of Whirlpool’s United Way campaign. “We started with five boats in 2016, then 30 in 2017 and last year we had 64. This year, we capped it at 75 boats, and registration was full by early June.”


Rock the Boat is now one of the biggest cardboard boat competitions in the Midwest. The number of spectators has grown exponentially as well, with more than 3,000 people making their way down to the marina last summer to join in on the fun.


Learn more at


The People’s Choice Award


VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE BOAT! At this summer’s event, the People’s Choice Award will be presented to the team that raises the most money for United Way leading up to the race. The winner takes home the Traveling Trophy AND will present $2,500 to a UWSM-funded partner of their choice! Go to to vote with your donation to the team you want to win.


PAR-TE-TYME boat viewing party


Watch the race from the river on the Par-Te-Tyme boat! We are selling tickets to the viewing party aboard the Par-Te-Tyme, a 60-foot, double-deck cruise vessel that will be anchored in the St. Joe River. Tickets are $35 per person, and that includes pizza and Rock the Boat sunglasses. There will be a cash bar and a radio remote on the boat covering the race with Matt Malone on Y-Country! After the race is over, the boat will take a Lake Michigan cruise. Tickets can be purchased at


ROCK THE DOCK with Hey Girl Hey


The public is invited to stay after the race to ROCK THE DOCK. Hey Girl Hey will be performing at Plank’s Tavern (at The Inn at Harbor Shores) from 8-10 p.m. Hey Girl Hey is a Top 40s Michiana party band. With an array of cover songs spanning the last four decades, there’s no audience that won’t love Hey Girl Hey!


The teams are:


United Way of Southwest Michigan

Children’s Music Workshop

Whirlpool - Wipro Limited

Southwestern Michigan College #1

Southwestern Michigan College #2

Whirlpool - Law Department

Whirlpool - Global Materials Group

Whirlpool - Sales

Spectrum Health Lakeland



Well of Grace Club H2O

Pier 1000 Marina

Holt Bosse

St. Joe Today

The Inn at Harbor Shores

Union Home Mortgage

Palisades Nuclear NAYGN

RMB Capital

Wells Fargo


AEP, D.C. Cook Plant

United Federal Credit Union

1st Source Bank

Honor Credit Union

Starks Family Funeral Homes

Gast Manufacturing Boat #1

Gast Manufacturing Boat #3

Gast Manufacturing Boat #4

Gast Manufacturing Boat #

Gast Manufacturing - Gast Leadership

Gast Manufacturing - Gast Interns

Gast Manufacturing - Just Add Water

Four Winds Casinos

YMCA of Southwest Michigan

Blossomtime Festival

Whirlpool - Noel’s Ark II

Alex’s Veggies - Maized and Cornfused

The Livery

Chemical Bank

Whirlpool (GPO Finance) - Unsinkable III

Edgewater Bank

Lake Michigan College


Whirlpool - TCS

Whirlpool - The Planning Pontoon

Whirlpool - SeaPG

Whirlpool - International Logistics Team

Anytime Fitness - Stevensville

Nahin/Dunstan Family - Sea Dog


Van’s Medical Equipment of Lakeland - Vantastic

PhycoTech, Inc.

Whirlpool (Dryer Subsystems) - Lodz you believe they left the Hangout

Whirlpool Women’s Network

Whirlpool Dryer Platform - Floaty BoaTRS

Whirlpool St. Joseph Tech Center - Whirlpool SJTC

Whirlpool Women’s Network

North Pier Brewing Company

Whirlpool - Edgewater Tech Center / Cooking Organization

Whirlpool Creative Services - Put a Cork in it

Whirlpool Corporation Sales Training - Margaritaville

Whirlpool Laundry Product Marketing - Record Breaking

Whirlpool GIS - Gone Phishing

Whirlpool CXC


ZIM American Integrated Shipping Services Co. LLC

Whirlpool R & B Channel 1

Whirlpool R & B Channel 2

Martin’s Supermarket Store 23


Whirlpool / NAR Quality - Relentless

The Alex Mandarino Foundation

Whirlpool NAR Finance

Whirlpool BHTC - Boaty McBoard Face

Whirlpool BHTC - Soggy Bottom Persons


United Way and Whirlpool extend their heartfelt thanks to the event sponsors: DPM Events, The Inn at Harbor Shores, Overture, Accenture, Union Home Mortgage, Wells Fargo Advisors, Pepsico, and Capgemini.


For more information, visit





United Way of Southwest Michigan fights for the Health, Education, and Financial Stability of every person in every community. We have the influence and relationships to make sustainable change a reality. By harnessing resources from corporate, nonprofit and public partners, we provide immediate assistance to our most vulnerable populations while addressing the root causes of our community's longstanding challenges and changing lives for the better. To join the fight—through giving, advocacy, and volunteering—visit

Ryan CheeversComment