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NEWS | July 1, 2015

Tomorrow's Engineers Test Their Skills at Carderock's International Submarine Races

By Katie Ellis-Warfield, NSWC Carderock Division Public Affairs

High school and college students put their science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) skills to the test at the International Human-Powered Submarine Races (ISR) held at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD) in West Bethesda, Maryland June 26.

"I am amazed by the innovation and engineering rigor that went into each of the submarine designs," said Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Commander Rear Adm. Lorin Selby. "This is a STEM capstone event that provides students from around the world the opportunity to think outside of the box and test their designs in the spirit of friendly competition. It truly is a great forum to get our future engineers excited about the possibility of a career in the STEM disciplines."

Twenty-four teams from around the world raced their human-powered submarines in NSWCCD's historic David Taylor Model Basin (DTMB). Students designed and built one- or two-person submarines that were either propeller or non-propeller driven.

"We were honored to be a part of such an inspiring event that brings science, math and naval architecture skills learned in the classroom and lab to real-life application," said NSWCCD Commanding Officer Capt. Rich Blank. "Participants worked hard on their new submarine designs, and it was great to see their innovative approaches in action at this year's ISR."

Since the inaugural race in 1989, ISR has been sponsored by Foundation for Underwater Research and Education, a non-profit organization that operates with the support from corporate sponsors, government and academic officials and a host of private individuals.
The race is hosted by NSWCCD, along with the Office of Naval Research and Program Executive Office Submarines. U.S. Navy divers from NSWC Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division provided water safety and underwater support. This was the 13th biennial ISR.

Delft University of Technology from the Netherlands set a world record at this year's ISR with a speed of 7.42 knots in their one-person submarine, WASUB 5.

"This year's competition saw many great advances in design and technology - one team set a record, but all teams showed teamwork and ingenuity," said Charlotte George, a naval architect at NSWCCD in the Naval Architecture and Engineering Department and head Carderock chief liaison for the ISR.

George interned for the Center of Innovation in Ship Design at NSWCCD in 2010 and was awarded the Department of Defense Science, Mathematic and Research for Transformation scholarship in her senior year at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). George was hired as a full-time Carderock employee in 2012.

"I am tremendously proud to have contributed to an event that has done so much to promote the value of careers in STEM, in particular to the U.S. Navy and the maritime industry," George said.

The first race was held at Riviera Beach, Florida, and consisted of 19 teams. The concept was the vision of the H.A. Perry Foundation and the Department of Ocean Engineering at FAU. The ISR has called Carderock its home since 1995.

Awards were given for best overall performance, innovation, absolute and fastest speed, best design outline, smooth operator and best spirit of the races.

Photos can be found on the NSWCCD Flickr page at: and video footage can be found on the NSWCCD YouTube channel at: