EOD Divers Support 13th International Human-Powered Submarine Races

Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) divers and support personnel from Technical Support Detachment’s (TSD) Combined Explosive Exploitation Cell (CEXC) supported the 13th International Human-Powered Submarine Races June 22-26, at Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock Division in West Bethesda, Maryland.

The bi-annual sub races – sponsored by the Foundation for Underwater Research and Education – is an international engineering design competition that inspires high school and college-age students of the various engineering disciplines to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Teams design and build a one- or two-person “wet” submarine, relying upon the principles of hydrodynamic design, buoyancy, propulsion, guidance systems, underwater life support and systems engineering. Teams race their submarines using Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) equipment in Carderock’s 3,200-foot-long model basin.

Because the event is underwater and held on Navy facilities, Navy-qualified divers are required throughout the event to ensure underwater safety of the participants. For the past few years, CEXC’s EOD divers have supported the local event.

“Our divers were there to provide general diving support during the event,” said Lt. Mark Hyatt, TSD operations officer. “We inspected the participants’ air tanks to ensure they were DOT [Department of Transportation] compliant. We filled diver’s air tanks. We monitored underwater activity, and we were stationed at the end of the race to slow down the submarines as they crossed the finish line.”

Since 1989, the sub race competition has grown to include entries from universities, colleges, corporations, research centers, high schools and privately sponsored teams from all over the world; and some previous participants have continued on to careers as Navy engineers.

At the end of the week-long competition, the winning teams were recognized for best overall performance, innovation, speed, best use of composite materials, and spirit of the race.

Image: US Navy

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