(April 26, 2021) --

Acorns to Oaks Water Wardens competed in the Scout Challenge Class and placed first. They are from Slidell, Louisiana. (DISL)

This weekend, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Discovery Hall Programs hosted the 8th annual Northern Gulf Coast Regional MATE ROV Competition. More than a dozen teams from four states competed with their custom-built remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).  The competition is a part of the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) network of 30 regional competitions held across the U.S. and around the world. 

Each year, MATE creates a scenario to inspire and challenge the students to apply science, technology, engineering, and math to solve real-world problems. With its focus on education, the competition is less about winning and more about strengthening students’ critical thinking, collaboration, entrepreneurship, and innovation skills.

Pensacola Catholic High School competed in the Navigator Challenge Class and placed first. (DISL)

For the 2021 competition, students designed and tested their ROVs to carry out missions impacting the global community like examining coral reef health, cleaning trash from the waterways, and testing the health of our waters.  Students also developed a poster or a presentation outlining how they designed and built their ROV to complete each mission.  

There are four challenge classes in the MATE competition and in each class the missions and ROVs increase in complexity. This year, teams competed in the Scout and Navigator challenge classes. 

Scout Challenge Class: 
3rd Place: Tyndall Turtles, Tyndall Academy
2nd Place: S.E.A. Panthers, Jemison Intermediate School
1st Place: Water Wardens, Acorns to Oaks    

Navigator Challenge Class:
2nd Place: Los Tiburones, Baton Rouge International
1st Place: Crubotics, Pensacola Catholic High School

Each year, specialty awards are presented by the judges and volunteers. Summerdale School’s Aquabot Co. received the Buoyancy Award for rising to the challenge when things appear to be sinking.  Baton Rouge International School’s (BRIS) Deep Sea Falcons earned the Tethered Together Award for their exceptional teamwork.

The dates for the 2022 competition are set for April 29 through May 1. 

The MATE Regional ROV Competition is a part of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Discovery Hall Programs' K-12 STEM Programs. More information on the competition can be found here