In The Spotlight

Dates announced for eISR 2018, human-powered submarine races!

Announcements, Press Release

17 Apr 2017

The IMarEST has announced that the fourth European International Submarine Races will take place over a fortnight from 2-13 July 2018, with QinetiQ, a defence technology company, as the principal sponsor for the event.

The races are a unique sporting and engineering challenge which involve teams from universities across the world designing, building and racing human-powered submarines around a slalom course at QinetiQ’s Ocean Basin, one of the world’s largest indoor freshwater tanks in Gosport, UK.

The team from the University of Auckland, New Zealand won the 2016 races with their Taniwha 2 submarine. Professor William Megill, who is the race director and also a professor of bionics at Rhine Waal University, highlighted the strengths of the winning team and their submarine: “They proved that the combination of innovation and attention to detail make all the difference. Their craft was driven to impressive, near record-breaking speeds, by a robust biomimetic propulsion system and a novel fish-inspired hydrodynamically efficient tail which replaced the rudder usually found on submarines.”

Some of the university teams that have already expressed an interest in taking part in eISR 2018 include:

  • University of Victoria (Canada)
  • Rhine Waal University (Germany)
  • University of Tehran (Iran)
  • TU Delft (Netherlands)
  • University of Auckland (New Zealand)
  • University of Bath (UK)

If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, please email samantha.carter@imarest.org. You can find out more about the races at www.subrace.eu.

About the European International Submarine Races

The IMarEST’s European International Submarine Races challenge teams of university students to design, build and race human-powered submarines against the clock on an out-and-back course. The concept combines engineering design challenge with technical skill development and sets them in a unique and exciting sporting competition.

The basic rules of the sport are straightforward – teams must design, build and race flooded submarines piloted by a single scuba diver, who must be fully enclosed within the hull of the machine. All propulsion power must be provided by the diver during the race (i.e. no energy storage devices such as flywheels or batteries are allowed), but otherwise the design rules are open to whatever innovation teams decide to use.

The eISR is also about developing real, practical engineering skills. In the funding-constrained university environment, the practical elements of curricula have been replaced with theoretical calculation and computer modelling. A submarine big enough to contain a diver is a real, tangible machine, and the mechanisms have to produce and take real forces. At the same time, the challenge isn’t so great that the students can’t make the parts themselves - this provides an invaluable learning experience as they see their CAD drawings come to real life.

Finally, the competition is about working as a team in a time-critical, adrenaline-charged atmosphere. During the build-up to the race, the students learn to exploit each other’s’ strengths, and design into their machines what they think they will need to succeed at the races. In initial testing, they learn where the weaknesses are, and make considered adjustments to their designs. Then, once they arrive on the racecourse, and really put their machines to the test, they invariably find new challenges, and have to bring out their engineering knowledge to find solutions on-the-fly with limited facilities. Such experience is invaluable to them later in their careers, regardless of the direction they take.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact samantha.carter@imarest.org.


About IMarEST

The IMarEST is an international membership body and learned society that brings marine engineers, scientists and technologists together into one professional body. The largest marine organisation of its kind, it spans 128 countries and works to promote the scientific development of marine disciplines, providing opportunities for the exchange of ideas and practices and upholding the status, standards and expertise of marine professionals worldwide.

Members are able to gain professional registration (such as Technician, Incorporated, Registered or Chartered status). Education is supported through the MLA, a subsidiary of the IMarEST Group that delivers distance e-learning.

The IMarEST is an NGO with consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), observer status at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, International Hydrographic Organization, the London Convention/London Protocol (LC/LP) and the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) and it has special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).