MSD receives grant for Buccaneer Boat Project

The Rye Junior High School “Rye Riptide” which was completed in Rye, New Hampshire as part of the miniboat program. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

Milford School District recently received a grant from the Hertrich Family Automotive Dealerships that will be used toward the Buccaneer Boat Project. The project is being led by Milford Central Academy teacher and principal, Alex March and Gary Zoll.

“The project is a partnership between the Milford School District and the Educational Passages Miniboat Program,” Trish Gerken, Public Information Officer for Milford School District, said. “Students and staff work together to create, deploy and track their own miniboat. This gives students in the district the opportunity to learn critical STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) skills, explore ocean currents and discover future career opportunities.”

The miniboat will be five feet long and is not a manned watercraft, Gerken explained. There will be a time capsule of sorts in the boat that will allow students to add items that are specific to the district and community. Each boat has a transmitter that allows students to track the boat which helps them gain an understanding of ocean currents, weather, technology and more.

“This is a project that is available to schools nationwide,” Gerken said. “Because of this, t here is ordering and processing that must take place before we get started. We are hopeful to begin the process this school year and see it continue through the 2021-22 school year. Although the boat will be housed at the Milford Central Academy, we see this as a districtwide initiative and foresee all schools being involved in its creation and deployment.”

The boat will have a satellite transmitter which will allow students to track it as it travels. According to Gerken, once the boat “sets sail,” it is completely dependent on ocean currents.

“The hope is that someone will discover it across the Atlantic,” Gerken said. “Communication will be left in the time capsule and we hope that our students can then communicate with the local school in the location where the boat is discovered.”

The boat is ordered from Educational Passages, but when it arrives there is some assembly required. The keel must be ballasted and glued into place. The hull must be painted with bottom paint and the GPS installed. Complete instructions are provided and there are online tutorials for additional assistance as students put the boat together. Once the boat is assembled, the district will work with local maritime organizations to launch the boat with optimal winds and currents. As the boat approaches a shoreline, the district can contact that community to help find, recover and bring the boat to a nearby school for further study. Once the boat has been recovered and any repairs necessary made, it can be relaunched for additional study.

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