MATE Underwater Robot Competition Winners

California and Canadian Teams Snare Top Honors at International Student Competition

Buzzards Bay, Mass. At the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center’s International Student ROV Competition, teams of students from five countries gathered around poolside workstations, working together to guide remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) that they designed and built to function as submarine rescue systems.

Fifty-four student teams from five countries, including the U.S., Canada, China (Hong Kong), Scotland, and Russia, participated in MATE’s International Student ROV Competition, held June 24-26 at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, Mass.

Competitors include student teams representing middle schools, high schools, home schools, community colleges, universities, after-school clubs, outreach programs, and 4-H and Scout clubs. Teams compete in either the “Ranger” or “Explorer” class, depending on the sophistication of their ROVs and the mission requirements. At the end of the competition, three teams in each of two classes rose above the rest.

Explorer Class Winners

Veteran competitors Long Beach City College of Long Beach, Calif. won overall first place in the Explorer class. The team swept all of the Explorer class categories, earning the top awards for their engineering evaluation, poster presentation, and technical report.  They were the only team that completed all of the pool missions under the allotted time.

Second place went to Flower Mound Robotics of Flower Mound, Tex. Team member Luke Cragin earned one of three Explorer class “Engineering MVP” awards.

Sea-Tech 4-H Club of Skagit County, Wash. won overall third place. The team also won the “Sharkpedo” award for innovation and originality, and was recognized for being the most safety-conscious team.

Ranger Class Winners

In the Ranger class, Dalbrae Academy of Mabou, Nova Scotia took overall first place and had the highest mission score. Heritage Collegiate of Lethbridge, Newfoundland won overall second place honors and had the top technical report.

Monterey Academy of Oceanographic Sciences of Monterey, Calif. earned overall third place. Team member James Caress received one of three Ranger class “Engineering MVP” awards.

Submarine Rescue and Recovery Missions

MATE worked with OceanWorks International and the Deep Submergence Systems Office at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to develop the mission scenarios, which focused on a submarine rescue training exercise. Student teams piloted their ROVs to inspect a simulated submarine for damage, deliver emergency supplies, and replenish the onboard air supply, among other tasks.

In addition to the pool missions, the teams were required to submit and present an engineering report and prepare a poster presentation for volunteer judges that are professional technologists and engineers in marine-related industries.

First held in 2002, the MATE ROV competition program has grown to include 16 regional contests that feed into the international event. The competition teaches science, technical, engineering, math, and critical thinking skills, in great demand in today’s workplace. ROVs help students become aware of marine technology careers in which they can apply these skills, a critical step in addressing the shortage of qualified engineers and technical professionals. The competition also featured the Ocean Career Expo, which provides a forum for students to speak with representatives of sponsoring organizations to learn more about career opportunities.

Sponsors of the MATE ROV competition include the Marine Technology Society (MTS) ROV Committee, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Science Foundation (NSF), Oceaneering International, and many other businesses and organizations.

About the MATE Center

Funded by the NSF and headquartered at Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, Calif., MATE is a national program that works with educators and industry to improve marine technology education and expose students to marine-related careers.  More information about MATE

Complete list of ROV competition winners and award prizes

Marine Specimen Collecting Trip for High School and College Students

Immerse your class in science!
Take a two-hour marine specimen collecting trip*

aboard the MBL’s vessel, R/V Gemma

  • Learn why the Woods Hole area is world-renowned for its rich diversity of marine species.
  • Take a first-hand look at how local organisms are collected for scientific study worldwide.
  • Hear the history of how marine biology developed in Woods Hole.

Board the Gemma at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) dock in Eel Pond, Woods Hole, and head out to Vineyard Sound, passing historic Nobska lighthouse commissioned in 1876. The Gemma will travel approximately two miles offshore. Deploying a scallop dredge and plankton net, MBL marine educators will collect a variety of marine specimens for students to examine.

Excursion leaders will also:

  • Identify the organisms and discuss the biology of each animal and how they are used for research at the MBL
  • Provide a history of the local area
  • Point out local landmarks along the shore
  • Discuss commercial fishing and research equipment, biological collecting methods, the history of the Woods Hole community, and the Gemma’s state-of-the-art navigation system.

Round out your trip with a more in-depth look at MBL marine specimens with a behind-the-scenes tour of the MBL’s Marine Resources Center specimen tank room. For an additional fee, a lecture and microscope lab activities are available.

For booking information and a complete fee schedule, contact Rob Reynolds at

*Tours are geared toward high school and college aged students.