NoSoAT 2022 Miniboats and Shipboard Outreach

The Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO) and the Alfred-Wegener Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung (AWI) partnered with Educational Passages to bring their Miniboat Programme to schools and communities around the world. This project aimed to connect and unite people around ocean science.

The 2022 shipboard outreach initiative during the North-South Atlantic training Transect’ (NoSoAT) – from Germany to South Africa – included four ‘miniboats’ from schools and oceanographic partner institutions in Ireland, Germany, Spain, and South Africa. The miniboats were deployed in the Atlantic Ocean, allowing the school students to track the progress of their own vessel, and that of the others involved in the project, and learn about ocean currents, weather, technology, etc.

Three of the miniboats were deployed by the R/V Polarstern along the Atlantic transect and one was deployed by the R/V Algoa, along the SAMBA transect (Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment – Oceans & Coasts Research, South Africa).

In the preparatory phase, the schools and partner institutions prepared their boats and learned about the NoSoAT initiative, a programme endorsed by the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. They installed sensor packages on their boats, placed messages inside for the finder, and coordinated transport for the finished vessels to board the research cruises.

During the ‘live’ phase of the project, in September, all four miniboats were deployed, and live calls between the schools and the NoSoAT cruise were held. All the participants have been able to share the stories and track the boats together on this publicly-available webpage.

Read updates from this outreach project in the POGO Quarterly newsletter:

In June 2023, data points from the four NF-POGO miniboats were included in a new map layer for the European Atlas for the Seas, contributed as part of an ‘Education for Climate: Water surface temperature measured by students’ initiative.

By Spring 2023, all miniboats had landed, and two have been recovered: Schnelle Welle, (Guyana) and El Cisne Alto (Brazil). We hope to work with local groups to refurbish and relaunch the miniboats – watch this space for updates!

The other two miniboats – Spiorad na Gaillimhe and Yemaya – made land on remote shores of Cotê d’Ivoire, West Africa. So far, revovery attempts have not been successful, but we remain optimistic!

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