Stories from the Blue: The MATE ROV Competition

Feb. 2016

Each year, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary helps regional schools participate in the MATE ROV competition. Check out this Story from the Blue to learn how building submersibles helps students get a leg up on the competition for complex jobs in marine industries -- plus, it's pretty fun! ‪‬


Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary helps regional schools participate in the MATE ROV competition.

The MATE, or Marine Advanced Technology Education program offers students from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to work in the fast-paced, collaborative, and challenging environment.

This past May regional competition was held at Alpena High School high school near the Thunder Bay near Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Preparing them for real-world jobs that require the use of science, technology, engineering, and math. Jobs that are in high demand and growing every year.

It might look like fun and games but these kids are getting a leg up on the competition for complex jobs and marine industries.

From science and exploration to energy, national security, research, and search and recovery.

Students from K-12 and community colleges and universities can participate in MATE. And the competition is global.

In 2014, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary hosted the international competition and students from teams across the globe gathered in Alpena, Michigan, using the sanctuary's dive training tank to compete.

Participating in MATE is just one way the national marine sanctuaries are helping students and communities prepare for exciting careers in marine industries.

At Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, getting young people in the community started in high-tech marine fields is just the beginning.

Partnerships with the local community college have allowed students at the collegiate level to develop skills in a unique program of study that trains them in high-end ROV equipment and simulators like the one designed by Oceaneering, which allows students to understand how to control complex ROVs for use in the energy industry and beyond.

Connecting communities to real-world experiences that help launch and advance careers. Just one part of what we're doing at the national marine sanctuary.

part of thunder bay national marine

Part of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary's mission is outreach and education and this is one of the most important education programs that they run each year.

I teach at Alpena Community College, I do our ROV technology program. It has taught us a lot of real life skills. I know a few people on my team are using the skills they learned to go on and be engineers or ROV pilots.

We are both employed by Oceaneering International as ROV technicians and we started through the marine sanctuary and Alpena Community College's marine technology program.

You can learn more about the MATE ROV competition by visiting and learn more about our educational programs and partnerships at