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December 4, 2012 - 9:14pm

Campus Club: Human Powered Submarine Team


If you break out singing the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” during a meeting of the University’s Human Powered Submarine team, prepare for some backlash.

With 22 active members, the HPS team is constantly in the process of building, modifying and testing a single-person, pedal-powered submarine. The sub is used to compete against teams from around the world at the annual International Submarine Races, and yes, it’s yellow.

Engineering junior Jeremy Werner, the team’s design manager, said he initially joined in order to become certified in scuba diving and learn how to pilot a submarine.

“How could I resist?” Werner said.

Werner said the team has become increasingly competitive over the past few years.

“We have won fifth place and innovation awards in the past two competitions,” Werner said. “This year we have increased our team's size remarkably, and we are taking on much more design work than ever before.”

Dedication and effort are integral to the club’s success, with team leaders working on the submarine for between six and 10 hours a week.

The time commitment, however, is not all work and no play. Werner said team members enjoy scuba diving, testing the submarine in the University’s Marine Hydrodynamic Laboratory and competing with peers from other teams and institutions.

“We are part of a handful of people who get to scuba dive in the MHL, and seeing the submarine doing runs in the model basin is the most fun you can have out of bed,” Werner said. “Then comes the competition, where we get to meet students from around the world, share our designs with them, and then race our submarine against theirs.”

Werner said the team’s goal is to win the 12th annual ISR this upcoming June in Bethesda, Md., especially since the team finished as one of the top three teams in last year’s competition.

“This year, with four times as many people (on the team), I think we can get first place,” he said.