The Marine Studies 2 students of the Marine Science Academy at Brien McMahon high school in Norwalk, Connecticut began our first mini-boat project this year in May thanks to support from our local partners. The students helping to build and launch our mini boat are part of the Marine Science Pathway program that began in the Fall of 2019. This is our academy’s first mini boat project and we are very excited to see the journey our mini boat takes. We decided to name our boat the RV Constriptus because we are the Senators of Brien McMahon (Conscriptus is latin for Senator).
May 2022 - Preparations begin
We are hoping to make this an annual project and integral part of our curriculum as we learn about the many important aspects of Marine Sciences and the Maritime Industry. Our students in Marine Studies 1, Marine Engineering and Marine Biology will also be following our mini-boat while it is on its journey at sea. Our Media team will be updating with pictures along the way.
May 27, 2022 – Ready!
The students completed the boat and delivered it to Greg Henry who made arrangements to transport it to New Jersey and onboard the M/V Bermuda Islander.
May 31, 2022 - Launched off the M/V Bermuda Islander
Here are some pictures of Greg delivering the CONSCRIPTUS to the docks, handing the boat off to the new crew, and the boat stored below deck.
May 31, 2022 – Launched!
We received an email that the CONSCRIPTUS was launched off the M/V Bermuda Islander on May 31, 2022 at 20:00 UTC.
“We successfully launch the boat today at 16:00 in position 36-44.4’N 071-35.6’W. Photos and video we will send from Bermuda. Kind regards, Capt. Dmytro Sefer, m/v Bermuda Islander”
Special thanks to Captain Sefer and Greg Henry for all the support. This is the 16th miniboat launch from the M/V Bermuda Islander!
This project was highlighted in the June 2022 Educational Passages Newsletter:
NEW MARINE SCIENCE MINIBOAT PROGRAM PILOTED AT BRIEN MCMAHON HIGH SCHOOL
Students at the Marine Science Academy at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk, Connecticut began their first miniboat project this year thanks to support from local partners. Their goal is to make it an annual project and an integral part of the curriculum as a unique way of learning about the many important aspects of Marine Sciences and the Maritime Industry. Their boat, the CONSCRIPTUS (SENATOR), was set to sea on May 31 by the crew of the M/V Bermuda Islander. It is also sending additional data for students from the onboard sensor package which has been interesting to track as Tropical Storm Alex traveled past. The data will be collected all summer and the learning will continue into the fall and beyond.
September 2022 - Passage through Tropical Storm Danielle
January 2023 - Approaching Scotland
MINIBOAT CONSCRIPTUS APPROACHING COAST OF SCOTLAND – Update January 27, 2023
Educational Passages has been working with Brien McMahon High School’s (BHMS) Marine Science Academy in Norwalk, Connecticut as a part of their Miniboat Program. During the 2021-2022 school year, students in the Marine Studies 2 class, which is the second course in the school’s Marine Pathway Program, prepared their very first miniboat as a new learning opportunity. Those students were in 10th grade at the time, and are now currently in 11th grade and have been tracking the boat across the Atlantic since it was launched in May of 2022. The students named their boat, the “RV Constriptus,” because they are the Senators of Brien McMahon (Conscriptus is latin for Senator).
Ms. Eva Bartush was their teacher at the time and continues to teach several of the students who built the boat last year in the new IB Marine Science Class. Ms. Bartush is currently the Marine Science Academy Coordinator and Science Department Chair Person at BMHS and teaches Marine Studies 1 in addition to the IB Marine Science class. About the project, she said, “the students worked for several weeks in different teams with a variety of responsibilities to contribute to the completion of the boat. It was a really incredible program that taught the students teamwork and a wide variety of skills. I’m very proud of these students for their collaboration on this project and taking part in a global initiative with Educational Passages that is now connecting them across the ocean.”
It was launched on May 31, 2022 from the M/V Bermuda Islander (who have launched 15 other miniboats for the program over the years) thanks to Captain Dmytro Sefer and crew during their weekly transit from Salem, NJ to Bermuda. Then, the tracking began. The students followed the journey and track from the Educational Passages website, including through Tropical Storm Alex and post-hurricane Danielle in September 2022. By November, it started to approach Ireland, but continued to travel northeast. By the middle of January 2023, it started to head south between the Hebrides and mainland Scotland. Cassie Stymiest, Executive Director of Educational Passages who helps students around the world with these miniboat projects, reached out to some friends on Facebook (“The days are just packed”, see https://www.facebook.com/tdajp) and alerted them to a potential landing on the west coast of Scotland. While the boat soon ended up sailing north again, those friends continued to track the boat and share about the project, hoping it could be recovered in the Shetland or Orkney Islands.
A rescue mission was planned, but as the weekend approached the winds shifted and sent the boat north.
Hear more about the project on BBC Shetland Radio’s evening show (starting at 24 minutes in) which aired January 25:
On January 25, Ms. Stymiest said about the approach to Scotland, that “the Conscriptus is about 70 km west of the Shetland Islands and traveling at a speed of 2kts, but today we are seeing the winds move the boat towards the south. This is a big distance in relative terms to the small miniboat, so it is hard to predict exactly where (and if) the boat will land at this point, but we (the students and we hope the public too) should keep an eye on the winds and currents to make our own predictions and forecasts. That is a big part of our program – an educational experience for all.”
The public is encouraged to follow the track and explore the wind and currents forecast in the Educational Passages Path Analysis Tool. If the boat lands, there is a sticker with our phone number and instructions asking the finder to bring the boat to a nearby school. The boat is uncrewed and has a GPS transmitter, like a “message in a bottle.”
The school would like to thank Rowayton Civic Association, Voigt Maritime Inc, Greg Henry, and the Marine Science Academy supporter The Per Astrid Heidenreich Family Foundation, for their funding and support of this project.
This boat has two GPS systems onboard. The reports from the main GPS are showing on the map at the top of this page here (which updates once per day with location reports every 12 hours). Here below is where you can see the data reporting from the second GPS which is connected to the sensor package. In addition to reporting location with a secondary GPS tracker, this system is also collecting air temperature, water temperature, and orientation.
There is also a camera connected to the sensor pack, which took lots of pictures during its voyage so far. Here are a select few: