Florida Polytechnic University's New Submarine Club Makes a Splash

Jan 29, 2015
Florida Polytechnic Universitys New Submarine Club Makes a Splash
From left to right are some of the members of the Submarine Club: Tanner Douglas, Stephen Chandler, Ethan Puerto, Marc Rigaud, Carl Rigaud, Abigail Lewless, Len Hogan, and Professor Dr. Ryan Integlia.

Florida Poly prides itself on an entrepreneurial culture where students can create clubs and programs that reflect the can-do learning environment that extends beyond the classroom. The newly formed Submarine Club is a shining example of that. Organized by freshman Ethan Puerto, the club’s vision is to design and build a human-powered wet submarine that will be entered into international competitions against other university teams.

“During high school, some of my best memories are from days spent on the water with my previous submarine team,” said Ethan, who is president of the new Submarine Club, which already has 33 members. “There is nothing I would like more than to be able to learn new skills and work on projects that I am passionate about, and having a team here on campus is the key to that.”

The team’s proposed “wet submarine” will be large enough to fit an average-size person. It will be constructed of fiberglass and other materials, all with a hands-on, do-it-yourself approach. The club plans to compete in races this June against other university teams from Florida to Virginia and Texas.

The design and building process involves first creating a model of the submarine in a 3D environment and then building the vehicle to industry standards, from the drive train to the propulsion and navigation systems.

“The driving force behind the organization is to create an environment to work on projects that students would not otherwise be capable of accomplishing. This will give students both real-world experience and problems in the areas of hydrodynamics, propeller design, fiberglass working, and a variety of other skills,” said Ethan, who is majoring in Electrical Engineering, with an eye toward one day working with unmanned submersibles and/or sensor systems.

Added Ethan, a Florida native: “My priority is to stay near the ocean, wherever I go.”