Building Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs)

Debra W. Woodall, Daytona State College
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Initial Publication Date: May 31, 2013 | Reviewed: January 17, 2015


Educators with an interest in hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines will receive introductory instructions on how to design, engineer and build a fully functional underwater ROV.

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Undergraduate introductory course in Oceanography for both majors and non-majors.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

This course topic is typically taught after students have learned about deep-water organisms and habitats.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is a stand-alone exercise.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

  • Content goals include the types of and uses for ROVs in the marine environment.
  • Concept goals include the importance of ROV buoyancy, ballast, structure, payload and propulsion.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students must synthesize concept goals in order to successfully build, deploy, and maneuver an ROV in order to capture ocean 'biologicals'

Other skills goals for this activity

Students must be able to collaborate with other ocean 'engineers' to successfully complete this task.

Description and Teaching Materials

A description of the ROV lab, supporting materials and all links may be found within the attached PowerPoint presentation.

Introduction to ROVs (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 7MB May31 13) 

Teaching Notes and Tips

Safety: Deployment of ROVs is allowed only in the shallow end of the pool.


Assessment of the lab is also described in the PowerPoint presentation.

References and Resources

The Marine Advanced Technology Center (MATE) provides outstanding educational material and resources regarding ROVs. They can be contacted via their website: