Our Submarine Story
April 2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) hosted a conference for this landmark occasion. This conference was local to us and featured a student day. The last speaker in a line of wonderful speakers and hands-on workshops was one introducing the International Submarine Races sponsored by the Foundation for Underwater Research and Education and held every second year at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Bethesda, Maryland. A 15 year-old boy was in the audience and he was hooked. His passion in life was bicycle riding, and he had just been scuba certified for Boy Scouts. Both skills would be necessary for the human-powered submarine.
He came home to southern Maryland determined to enter the event. Slowly a team was formed and the adventure began in earnest. The team learned about project planning, naval architecture, many mechanical concepts, fiberglass lay up techniques, tool usage, materials selection, the usefulness of CAD software, and much more. They went on many field trips and spoke to dozens of manufacturing and engineering professionals. And in June 2013, Il Calamaro, the one-person, non-propeller submarine they entered, crossed the finish line!
The team evaluated all the learning that was done during the design, construction and racing of the submarine. It was too good not to share. Thus, KIDS was born.
KIDS first submarine, The Nautilus, was a success at the 2015 races! We again won the spirit of the races award, and even the honorable mention for the innovation award!
At the beginning of the preparation for the 2017 ISR races, KIDS split into two ISR teams, new sub and mod sub. New sub is a group for high school students who are mainly focused on doing new things and working at a much faster pace. The mod sub are for students who want to develop their skills, and will be making modifications to the Nautilus hull in order to race it at the next submarine races.