Non-profit unveils new sailboat and underwater ROV program

Inland Seas ROV program.

LEELANAU COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) — Inland Seas is working to educate kids and preserve the Great Lakes through a new program using robots.

On Friday, the non-profit held an open house for its new sailboat and educational robotic program.

The sailboat, named “Utopia,” will be the hub of Inland Seas' new underwater remotely operated program, otherwise known as an ROV.

An ROV is a remote controlled robot that is driven through an underwater obstacle course, seen on the remotes screen.

At the open house, kids were able to drive ROV’s through an obstacle course in the West Grand Traverse Bay. They even got to build their own ROV’s.

The purpose of the ROV program is to teach kids how science and engineering can be used to preserve the Great Lakes in a career.

“Inland Seas has been dedicated to trying to inspire folks to consider stem careers since we began 28 years ago,” said Fred Sitkins, Inland Seas Executive Director. “Because those are the individuals that are going to be solving long-term issues that these lakes face. The more scientists, engineers that we can develop that are going to be dedicated to caring for these lakes, the better that these lakes are going to be for the future.”

People at the open house also got to tour the historic sailboat, which was built in 1946 and has sailed around the world twice.

Inland Sea's Utopia ROV program will be available throughout the summer for families and kids that are interested.

The cost to drive the ROV is $10 for 15 minutes and $17 for 25 minutes. Tickets must be purchased online or by phone.

For more information about the ROV program or other Inland Seas programs, click here.

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