Updated 1/14/2016

On Competition Day there will be three competition events: two Pool Events and one Poster Presentation.  All events will comprise three classes: Middle School, High School, and Open class, with each class competing in two in-water events and the Poster Presentation.


Middle School Stock Class

Middle School is defined as less than and including eighth (8th) grade.

High School Stock Class

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

Open Class

Open Class is not separated by grade.

General Rules:

Only two team members are allowed on the pool deck during a competition.

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

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

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.

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.


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)

Vehicles shall consist of the parts and components contained within the equivalent of one SeaPerch kit, with the following exceptions:

  • Teams have a budget of $20.00 to modify their SeaPerch. It is the actual value of the modifications that 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 are not included in this budget. Proof of budget compliance should be made available upon request.

  • 3D printed parts will be costed out at $0.05 per gram.

  • All motors must be waterproofed.

  • Hooks and attachments MAY NOT be added/removed depending on the competition round.

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

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

  • Teams may not add additional thrusters to the SeaPerch. 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.

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

  • The vehicle MAY NOT be dragged via the tether.

  • 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 depending on the competition round.

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

  • Teams will design for and utilize a 12-volt power source. A 10-Amp Max fuse shall be used for safety.

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

  • The vehicle MAY NOT be dragged via the tether.

  • ROVs shall fit thru an 18" hoop

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, and 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.

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.


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 teams 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 the simplified scoring sheet used at regionals:


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) Poster

3) Obstacle

Any other ties not covered by this will be broken by a team of well trained monkeys with darts.

Competition Events

The Obstacle Course UPDATED

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.  The course will be on the bottom of the pool with the hoops at various heights above the pool floor.  Final configuration of hoop orentation and heights will not be revealed until Nationals.


Obstacle Course Rubric            Obstacle Course Rules

Click the image below for course information.

  For this years course simply reduce the length of the PEX pipe to 4.75'

Obstacle Course

The Challenge  

While many roles for ROVs require power, most require the ability to collect and control samples and items in the water.

This 2016 National Challenge task will require students to release objects and transport them in a controlled manner.

The course consists of four stations in which the vehicles will have to maneuver and actuate equipment in the pool. The maximum pool depth for this event is seven feet.

Scoring: Maximum number of points in the shortest amount of time.  The clock stops when the team identifies they are done, surfaces and touches the wall with the vehicle.  Teams may stop the clock at any time, but it will not be restarted. Teams must inform the judges at the time if they wish to stop the clock and lock in their scoring.


Who doesn't love gum balls? Well, we do! So do SeaPerches.

There will be four dispensers containing different sized balls in each. The first three dispensers contain Wiffle balls of various sizes that float up and are released up to the surface when released. The fourth dispenser contains real golf balls and they sink.

There will be three different sized Wiffle balls (qty 5 each) to be released, golf ball (1.68"), baseball (2.86"), and softball (3.82"). Those used for Nationals can be found here: The Connecticut Store

The golf balls (1.68") used for Nationals (qty 5) can be found here: Golf Ball King

Each released Wiffle ball can then be brought to either a pen on the surface or to a submerged container. The submerged container will be a inverted 5 gallon bucket. Depth of the container will be approximately 3 feet off the bottom of the pool. The bucket will be tethered to a line and snchor and will sway when pushed. More points will be given to placing the balls into the submerged bucket.

The golf balls will have to be herded into a scoring area on the floor of the pool. (More details to follow)

The "floating pen" will be a floating line on the surface of the pool 1 foot from the wall. All balls will have to be within this area to be scored.


1 Point for each ball released

2 Points for each ball within the floating pen

4 Points for each ball placed under the Bucket

2 Points for each golf ball pushed up to scoring area.


PDF file Word

Assembly Drawings

Plans and assembly drawings for the challenge

Parts List

Solidworks files for Nationals Configuration (Solidworks 2015)

All Assemblies

While CNC Waterjet facilities are used for the manufacture of the Nationals course, the entire course is designed to be manufactured with hole saws, drill bits and a saber saw. This is in keeping with the guidelines that a high school shop should be fully capable of making a nationals course.

REMEMBER: While the details of the Nationals course are provided, a "true-to-plan" device is not needed to gain proficiency. Determine what actions and skills will be needed this year and make practice devices to hone these skills.


 Ball Release

base drg


Pad is made of a 18" x 24" piece of coorigated plastic. The frame is made of 2- 18" and 2- 22" pieces of 1/2" pvcpipe.  Three way elbows (4) or a combination of standard elbows (2) and three way elbows (2) can be used.  The two legs are 4" tall.

the board is scored at 2" and 4" to make the bends for the scoring area.


Golf balls will be dropped and roll to the front of the pad towards the drivers.  Competitors will have to push golfballs up into the trough to score.

Poster and Presentation Judging

The 2016 National SeaPerch Challenge again brings the opportunity for SeaPerch competitors to share their learning, building, and science understanding through poster displays and presentations. To streamline the judging process this year, all teams will compete in electronic poster judging in advance of the National SeaPerch Challenge. The top teams in the electronic poster portion will be offered the opportunity to present in-person to a panel of judges at the competition. Scores for the posters and for the presentations will be added to each team’s total points.

Please read the following carefully as your team plans for the National SeaPerch Challenge.

  2016 Poster Rubric 

PDF fileWord

Poster Displays

  1. Electronic posters shall be submitted between March 30 and May 6 at midnight.
  2. Poster submission requirements and procedures will be posted in January.
  3. Videos will not be allowed as part of the electronic poster. 
  4. The poster must be solely a product of the students' own efforts, ideas, and designs.
  5. The ten top teams in each class [Middle School Stock, High School Stock, and Open], a total of 30 teams, will be invited to a judges' panel interview.
  6. A list of the winning teams will be posted at 8:00 am on Saturday, May 21.
  7. Posters will be judged according to the 2016 Poster Rubric (final rubric will be released in January 2016) The Poster Display Rubric will outline the specific Poster Content and Design Layout criteria used for judging.
  8. Teams should still plan to bring their posters to the National Challenge.

Poster Presentations

  1. The ten top scoring teams in each class [Middle School Stock, High School Stock, and Open] will be invited to present their posters in-person to a panel of judges on Saturday.
  2. These 30 high-scoring teams will find their team names displayed at 8:00 am on Saturday morning at the check-in table.
  3. Each team will be scheduled a time to meet with a panel of judges on Saturday. Presentation times may begin as early as 10:00 am, and will be placed around each team’s scheduled competition times, though additional time prior to, or after a competition, cannot be guaranteed.
  4. The poster and presentation must be solely a product of the students' own efforts, ideas, and designs.
  5. Team members will be given ten minutes to present followed by a five-minute question and answer period.
  6. Students will use their poster and materials to discuss the learning, engineering concepts, and analysis to the judges.
  7. Presentations are to be made by the students only. No electronic components for presentations are allowed.
  8. Each team member in the room should be prepared to answer questions from the judges.
  9. Only team members will be allowed in the room with the judges.
  10. Presentations will be judged according to the Poster Presentation Rubric (final rubric will be posted in January 2016) The Presentation Rubric will outline the specific Poster Presentation and Interview criteria used for judging.


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