Team Building Activity: The Boat is Sinking

The Boat is Sinking is one of the most common group-based activities that is easy to remember and execute. It’s also what I’d like to call a transition activity in a way that it helps facilitate the formation of groupings. The whole point of the "Boat is Sinking" activity is simple enough. You can make many variations from it. In this post, the basics of the "Boat is Sinking" activity is explained without its many variations.


One of the best things about the "Boat is Sinking" activity is that you don’t need any!

Number of participants:

30 to100+ participants


To form a cluster or group of a given number of people.


  1. The participants are given the premise that the imaginary boat they are on is sinking and therefore have to form groups to make it to safety.
  2. The facilitator starts by saying “The boat is sinking…group yourselves into…” he/she also assigns the number of people the group has to form.
  3. Once everyone has formed their group the facilitators make sure to count if no one is out of place. If there was then that participant would be the “IT” and thereby subjected to the consequences set by the facilitator or as agreed by the group (e.g. They get to answer a question related to a topic they have just discussed).
  4. The activity ends when the facilitator says so.

The activity can productive with or without debriefing questions. To stimulate team learning, you may ask these sample questions after the activity:

  1. How did you feel when you were able to find a group?
  2. How did you feel when you weren’t able to find a group?

I hope this short guide has helped you bring out the best in your teambuilding activities.

  • The instructions for this activity was recreated by the Learning and Development Division of the Cebu Teambuilding Facilitators Network. Led by Philipp Chen Tan, other members of the division are Kevin Johnrey Sosas, Paulo Frangelyco Magallon, and Marc Julius Rizada.
  • CTFN does not claim ownership of this activity. For a list of references used to recreate activity instructions, please visit our Directory of Activities page.

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