SeaPerch is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics program sponsored by the Office of Naval Research
and managed by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Foundation. Participants build a remote-
controlled underwater vehicle that they can then operate themselves. The SeaPerch here were built during a “train-the-
trainer” session for U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps and Navy League Cadet Corps representatives at the Naval Undersea
Warfare Center Newport, R.I., Division in November.
training session. “We are honored to have the opportunity to partner with the Navy League and the Sea Cadets.”
“For the young folks, it’s about challenging their
imaginations. The whole idea is to spark an interest in
the STEM disciplines,” Nyland said.
“It injects an element of fun,” added NSCC Executive
Director James Monahan. “They still have to do all those
other things over the course of a drill weekend, but it gives
them something different that is fun, that is hands on.”
Hands on, indeed. Under the supervision of trained
adults, participating cadets will be responsible for
building every aspect of the SeaPerch — using an in -
struction manual that is nearly 30 pages long — mak-
ing it seaworthy and operational.
The SeaPerch kits include everything needed to put
together a “Perch” — PVC pipe, mesh, clamps and tape,
wires, propellers, small motor components, etc. — as
well as the cable tether that connects it to the remote
control box used to operate and steer it, and a 12-volt
battery that supplies the power. The cadets also construct the control box by soldering circuit boards into
place and wiring them up.
The teacher tool bags provide the necessary tools and
accessories — from sandpaper, Krazy Glue and wire cutters to a corded power drill and soldering iron — for
about 10 SeaPerch kits.
“When you open the SeaPerch kits it seems like there
are a gazillion pieces,” Nyland said. “The young people,
when they get this, they start from scratch. This control
box is all in itty bitty pieces and switchboards, there’s
about 30 terminals inside the thing. They have to measure out and cut everything. The detail involved in building the pieces is really quite amazing.
“The actual build involves a number of skills these
young people wouldn’t already have had. How many
kids have soldered? Then they have to do the electrical
connections. They have to solder the correct wires to
the correct terminal, so they have to figure all that stuff
out. They’ve got to understand electricity a little bit.”
Yet Nyland and Stephen Bunting, who heads up
NSCC training, are quick to note that the SeaPerch construction and operation process is not so complex or
intimidating that it is beyond the skills or ability of most
Sea Cadets and Navy League Cadets. There is no stan-