Team Entry Rules


Engineering Notebook Challenge

2018 Competition General Rules

Updated 1/4/18

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On Competition Day there will be two pool events.  The competition will comprise three classes: Middle School, High School, and Open class.

1.0 Definitions:

1.1 Middle School Stock Class

1.1.1 Middle School is defined as less than and including eighth (8th) grade. All students participating must be in eighth grade (including homeschool equivalent) or lower. 

1.2 High School Stock Class

1.2.1 High School is defined as ninth through twelfth (9th-12th) grades.

1.3 Open Class

1.3.1 Open Class is not separated by grade.

1.3.2 Teams should be in Open Class if:  The cost of the competition vehicle is more than $20.
      R & D costs do not count, tools do not count - only what you bring to the competition lane. Teams are using more than three (3) thrusters.
     A thruster is defined as a means of propulsion for the SeaPerch, normally but not limited to a motor and propeller assembly. ROV thruster controls are not simple switches. 
        Teams are using power conditioning or pulse-width modulation (PWM) controls.

Competition Day Rules:

Vehicle Compliance:

Each SeaPerch ROV must be presented for a compliance check during check-in and approved prior to the team competing in the pool events.

Pool Access:

Only two team members are allowed on the pool deck in the competition area during an event.

All team members must wear shoes with rubber soles on the pool deck.

The 12V power system will be available for all that wish to use it. This system is designed to work with the alligator clips in the SeaPerch kit. Each lane will have its own power connection.

  • The vehicle MAY NOT be dragged via the tether.

  • The vehicle may be reset by the teams during the competition

  • The ROV may be worked on by the teams during the competition

Vehicle Design Rules

Teams are encouraged to think outside the box and change the shape and configuration of their SeaPerch ROV.

Stock Class (High School and Middle School)

  • Teams may utilize materials (quantity and components) equivalent to one SeaPerch kit.

  • Teams have a budget of $20.00 in addition

    • The actual value of the modifications must be $20 or less.

    • Donated material will be assessed at what the cost would be to procure the material.

    • The $20 limit is for cost of the materials utilized on the final competition vehicle.  

    • Reasonable spare parts (one set of thrusters (3) and one controller) are not included in this budget.

    • Proof of budget compliance should be made available to the judges upon request.

  • 3D printed parts will be costed out at $0.025 per gram.

  • All motors must be waterproofed.

  • Hooks and attachments MAY NOT be added/removed between competition rounds.

  • Additional NON-stock motors may be utilized for actuation or other non-propulsion uses.

  • Teams may only utilize stock SeaPerch motors for propulsion (Jameco Electronics P/N 232022).

  • Teams may only utilize three (3) thrusters.

    • A thruster is defined as a means of propulsion for the SeaPerch, normally but not limited to a motor and propeller assembly.

  • Teams will design for and utilize a 12-volt power source.

    • Power source other than the included kit battery or venue supplied power is not permitted.

  • ROV thruster controls shall use simple switches only, no power conditioning or pulse-width modulation (PWM) controls are allowed in Stock Class.  Use of a fixed or variable resistor to reduce voltage is acceptable.

  • ROVs shall fit thru an 18" hoop.

Open Class

Vehicles should consist of the parts and components utilized within the SeaPerch kit to the maximum extent possible and shall be subject to the following:

  • Teams have no budget limit. (Budgets should be tracked for presentation to judges upon request.)

  • Hooks and attachments MAY NOT be added/removed between competition rounds.

  • Teams may only utilize stock SeaPerch motors  for propulsion. (Jameco Electronics P/N 232022)

  • NON-stock motors may be utilized for actuation or other non-propulsion uses.

  • Teams will design for and utilize a 12-volt power source. A 10-Amp Max fuse shall be used for safety. Power source other than the included kit battery or venue supplied power is not permitted.

  • ROVs shall fit thru an 18" hoop.

Redress, Challenges and Disputes

Sportsmanship is expected at all times. Should a protest or dispute occur during the competition it is the intent to resolve the grievance at the time it occurs. The ruling by the lead judge shall be final.

A team that wishes to have an issue considered shall send the student team captain and one additional student member (2) to the lead judge for discipline in question, with the inquiry or question. The lead judge will render a decision on the issue, and this decision is final. The same issue may not be brought to the judge a second time by any member of the team. Adults may not approach the lead judge on the pool deck regarding any perceived issues.

In the event that a vehicle is inadvertently interfered with during a competition, or a malfunction of a vehicle's parts (i.e., the motor) occurs that is beyond the design and construction, the lead pool judge will have the sole authority to provide the team with time to fix their vehicle and to allow them to compete later in the round. Malfunctions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Teams may not question the legality of other competing vehicles; it is the SeaPerch Technical Director's role to determine if vehicles meet the entry and compliance requirements.

Unsportsmanlike conduct is grounds for the disqualification of a team. Team members and advisors are responsible for the conduct of all members and adults accompanying the team.

Overall and Class Scoring

Individual Events

Each event will be scored in accordance with its published rubric. Teams will then be ranked, by their score, both within their class and overall.

Combined Scores

Each team's rank in the individual events will be added together and then ranked in order to determine the overall Class winner and overall Stock winner

Here is a simplified scoring sheet used at regionals (it will need to be modified for your event):


Scoring Spreadsheet

Breaking Ties

Scoring ties will only be broken where it is required to determine trophy places. (i.e., ties will not be broken when ties do not affect the top three results in any event or class overall)

Obstacle Course ties to the 100th of a second will be broken by the faster time in the secondary run.

Challenge ties to the 100th of a second to the same point total will be broken by rerunning a portion of the course. The winner will have 1/100th of a second removed from their time, thus breaking the tie.

Class ties will be broken based upon the best performance in the following priority:

1) Challenge

2) Engineering Notebook

3) Obstacle

Competition Events

The Obstacle Course

An underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) must be able to maneuver successfully under its own power. If a vehicle cannot maneuver to the appropriate location to perform its task, the vehicle is of no use. Consideration of optimal maneuverability as well as control and speed should be given when constructing your SeaPerch (thruster placement and orientation, tether attachment, buoyancy and ballast, etc) and control box.

The submerged obstacle course involves large rings (18" minimum diameter), oriented in any direction, through which the vehicles must travel. Teams must navigate their ROV through the obstacle course, surface, then re-submerge and return through the course to the end.

Scores for this round will be based on the fastest time for successfully navigating the obstacle course.

There are five (5) -18" diameter hoops in the obstacle course.    Final configuration of hoop orientation and heights will not be revealed until Nationals.

Click the image below for course information.

Course build guide updated.

Obstacle Course

The Challenge  


The Rings

There are rings on each of the courses for the Challenge.  Each ring is made of 18” of ¾” polypropylene line, and the line is held together with a 1.5” length of ¾” crimped copper pipe.  This simple ring configuration is only 8 grams when placed in the water.


The Cubes

There are cubes on each of the courses for the Challenge.  Each cube is made of eight (8) 3-way elbows. Twelve (12) 1.5" pieces of PVC pipe hold the cubes together.  There are four (4) 2" pieces of 5/8" backerfoam in the top four pieces of PVC pipe. 


2018 Cube

The Rods




2018 full lane


Bill of Materials For Courses

Teams must transport items from one tower (Origin) to the second (Score) tower.

Teams may only transport one item at a time.

Platforms knocked over will not stop play unless they interfere with adjacent lanes.

Diver assistance (2-minute penalty) may upright towers, but will not replace shapes.

Dropped shapes remain in play.

Each shape placed in the lower scoring area earns 1 point.

Each shape placed in the upper scoring area earns 2 points.

Scores are tallied at the end of the run only (shapes knocked off will not count unless replaced.)

Shape is considered in the lower section if it is touching the lower plate. (diver inspection is final word)

Run ends when either 15 minutes has elapsed or teams declare the run over, surface and touch the wall with the vehicle.

Additional points for time (all shapes must be on scoring platform)

<5 Minutes         5 Points

<7 Minutes         4 Points

<9 Minutes         3 Points

<11 Minutes      2 Points

<13 Minutes      1 Point



PDF fileOrigin Plans

PDF file Scoring Plans

PDF file Obstacle Rubric

PDF fileChallenge Rubric

SeaPerch Forum


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