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Raven KASTER Miniboat Embarks on a New Journey with Upgraded Technology


CONTACT: Cassie Stymiest, Educational Passages, 207-619-1259, cassie@educationalpassages.org

April 29, 2024 – The Raven KASTER, an educational uncrewed “miniboat” has embarked on a new journey from the coast of Ireland with an upgrade: solar powered GPS tracking and new sensor technology. Launched by scientists from the R/V Celtic Explorer on April 24, this miniboat is set up to collect critical ocean data, including air and water temperature, which will enhance marine science education and research.

The 1.5m long miniboat was deployed into the Atlantic Ocean near the M6 Weather Buoy, during the AIMSIR (Atlantic In-situ Marine Scientific Infrastructure Replacement) survey. Congratulating the collaborative efforts of the Frank Roberts Junior High in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, Coláiste Pobail Acla, Achill Island, Ireland and the team at Educational Passages, Alan Berry, Infrastructure Manager at the Marine Institute said, “The mini-boat project is a wonderful example of marine science literacy and citizen engagement with the oceans. It supports the strategic objectives of the Marine Institute and the value of partnerships essential for sharing marine science with the wider community. For students in particular, this project provides an exciting way of seeing real life examples of how the ocean has an influence on all our lives, learning how the ocean influences our weather and climate, and the types of technology used.”

This project is part of the nonprofit organization Educational Passages, a US entity that leads the Miniboat Program to provide students with hands-on learning experiences in oceanography, environmental stewardship, and global collaboration. “Seeing the Raven KASTER relaunched by some of the same crew members that launched the Galway Sailor back in 2021, and from the same area, is a great connection for us all,” said Cassie Stymiest, Executive Director of Educational Passages. “It is an opportunity for us to learn about our changing ocean, and by integrating sensors, we are able to make a real contribution to that understanding as well.”

The Raven KASTER first started at Frank Roberts Junior High in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada in 2018. Students Stephanie and Kaitlyn had won a video contest sponsored by the School of Ocean Technology at the Fisheries and Marine Institute of St. John’s. Their prize led to the launch of the miniboat, which sailed unassisted from the Grand Banks to Achill Island, Ireland in 102 days.

Students across the Atlantic have since engaged in ongoing dialogue and collaboration around the project. A “Relaunch Team,” was formed in 2022 in Newfoundland and Labrador under the leadership of Thomas Sheppard, former Technology Teacher at Frank Roberts Junior High, and Coláiste Pobail Acla on Achill Island came onboard under the guidance of Karen Lavelle, Deputy Principal and Teacher. Virtual connections were hosted, supplies exchanged, and Stephanie and Kaitlyn also took a trip to meet the team in Ireland last August. The Canadian Team worked hard to raise funds and promote the relaunch project and the Irish Team worked diligently on the repairs and upgrades including the addition of a camera on deck. Scientists, ambassadors, educators, and other key industry members also provided additional learning opportunities which added great value to the project. “The hard work of our students should be celebrated as they did such great work to upgrade the boat and connect with their peers,” said Karen Lavelle. “Now the students can see their hard work in action and engage directly with the ocean and the technology that can truly help make a difference.” 

Supported by contributions from the Town of Conception Bay South, the Irish Embassy in Ottawa, the Marine Institute in Ireland, MakerBuoy, and other sponsors and partners, highlights the impact of hands-on educational programs in fostering global scientific literacy and cooperation. “The relaunch of the Raven KASTER is an example of how students from Canada and Ireland can collaborate globally to learn more about our shared ocean environment,” remarked Thomas Sheppard. “It is a project that shares more than just a miniboat but a history, culture and ocean. ” 

“It is great to see the enthusiasm and dedication from students across borders working together on such an impactful project that emphasizes the importance of international cooperation in scientific endeavors,” said Ambassador Eamonn Mckee, Ambassador of Ireland to Canada, Jamaica, The Bahamas, and Antigua and Barbuda. 

Students and the public are invited and encouraged to follow the voyage in real time via the Educational Passages website (educationalpassages.org/atsea). The Miniboat Program not only fosters international friendships but also helps educators bring the curriculum to life, as students follow the real-world application of their studies. Each boat also carries a cargo of messages intended to connect the next finders in a shared mission of learning and discovery.

To learn more about the Educational Passages of the Raven KASTER miniboat, visit educationalpassages.org/boats/ravenkaster.


About Educational Passages

Educational Passages is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to connect students around the world to the ocean and each other. Teachers purchase kits with boat parts and supplies, and students build them, fill them with messages and trinkets, install the provided GPS, and send them out to sea to ride the ocean currents and wind. Students follow the track on the miniboat’s very own webpage, and teachers integrate ocean currents, geography, and other topics into their curriculum to connect the miniboat mission. When the boats land, the sticker on them says to bring the boat to a nearby school and connect classrooms. Since 2008, Educational Passages has worked with teachers and students around the world to launch over 200 miniboats, reaching over 30 countries. To contribute to this project and help more students take part, please consider making a donation.

For additional information about Educational Passages, please visit www.educationalpassages.org or call (US) 207-619-1259.

About Us

Educational Passages is a 501c3 non-profit organization with a mission is to connect people around the world to the ocean and each other through unique global experiences. Please consider making a donation, joining us to empower students to become citizen scientists and global ocean stewards.


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