The Story of SeaPerch
Perhaps you were wondering where the name "SeaPerch" comes from and what it means? Inquiring minds want to know...
The Background of SeaPerch
SeaPerch named in honor of two submarines in the U.S. Navy; one called the U.S.S. Perch (SS-176), a porpoise-class submarine that was named in honor of the Perch, a fresh-water fish that boasts spiny fins and hails from the Percidae family of fish.
first U.S.S. Perch was built on the 25th of February in 1935, launched
on the 9th of May in 1936, commissioned on the 19th of November in 1936,
and retired at sea by Japanese destroyer attack on the Java Sea on the
3rd of March in 1942, during World War II.
The second U.S.S. Perch (SS-313), a Balao-class submarine,
was built on the 5th of January in 1943, launched the 12th of September
in 1943, commissioned the 7th of January in 1944 and was used for
services to the Fleet Sound School in Key West, Florida. Shortly
thereafter, she was used for transport during the Korean War, as well as
reconnaissance and went on to be used during the Vietnam war for
various functions before finally being decommissioned for good on the
27th of May, 1967.
The Story of SeaPerch
SeaPerch began as one project in a book entitled "How to Build an Underwater Robot," by Harry Bohm and Vickie Jensen. There were many projects in the book, and SeaPerch captured just two pages, with a parts list and instructions on how to assemble. Years later, Professor Thomas Consi at MIT developed a curriculum around the SeaPerch as a way to grow the Ocean Engineering Program at MIT. Realizing it was an interesting and compelling vehicle, MIT, Dr. Chryss Chrystostomedes, and the Sea Grant office developed a teacher training program around the SeaPerch curriculum they had developed based on Bohn's and Jensen's book, and they began introducing it to teachers both in the New England area and beyond. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) provided some financial support to MIT to develop the teacher training program, through the NNRNE program (National Naval Responsibility for Naval Engineering).
Several years later, The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) had the vision to utilize their resources to manage the program and partner with ONR to take the SeaPerch Program from what was essentially a teacher training program and develop it into a true national program. ONR agreed to provide grant funding to develop an actual program, kit, and supporting materials, and to allow for the expansion of the program once developed. SNAME's efforts began to take root, and ONR expanded the grant to allow for the rapid growth of the program.
As of the fall of 2011, the SeaPerch Program is now managed by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Foundation (AUVSIF), and continues to expand nationally.
In the past five years since the national program was conceived, over 50,000 students have participated in the SeaPerch Program.