Alpena, MichiganLocal Weather Alerts
There are currently no active weather alerts.

The National Marine Sanctuary once again hosted their annual MATE Great Lakes Regional ROV competition. The ROV competition is designed to encourage students from Alpena and other areas and towns to learn and apply science, technology, engineering and math skills as they develop underwater robots. This will help teach students about public safely, help uphold healthy waterways and help preserve historical artifacts.

Daniel Moffatt the Stewardship & Education Specialist said, “So, the MATE ROV competition, it started 21 years ago in California. It was designed to give students an opportunity to test their skills at marine technology and building and maybe a little bit of a career exploration in marine sciences and marine technology.”

But the competition didn’t originally start in Alpena, as previously stated by Daniel. So, how did the ROV competition make it’s was into Thunder Bay? Daniel explains, “It was 2007, I believe, when the first MATE ROV competition came to Alpena and we thought since we were a growing sanctuary that we could participate in this national underwater robotics competition and engage some of our regional and local students, given our relationship with the Great Lakes and the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.”

Through this competition, students are also being exposed to business practices because one of the tasks is to create a mock company. Team’s must work together to manufacture, market and sell their products, or in this case, their ROV’s. Daniel adds, “The MATE center really focuses on entrepreneurship. So, what the students have to do is create a company so they designate a CEO, a marketing person, a technician and a pilot of the ROV.” He continues, “These teams are really coming as companies and they’re doing a presentation of what they built for the judges. They show how the ROV is demonstrated in the water and the reason why they built it that way in front of the judges in the presentation room. They really market it as if they were selling the product to someone.”

About 13 student teams competed this year. The top team and winners of the competition was Alpena High’s Underwater Research Robotics. As winners of the Ranger Class, they will be heading to Longmont, Colorado to compete in the ROV World Championships on June 22–24th.