Belfast Area High School staff and students recently conducted some sea trials with the FIFISH V6 ROV the school was able to obtain this spring, with help from a Perloff Family Foundation grant.

Student Sawyer Carson and marine studies instructors Dave Thomas and Chip Lagerbom accompanied local resident Bob Winslow aboard his boat to a site off Bayside to make use of the FIFISH underwater Remote Operating Vehicle's capabilities.

They operated mostly in 25 to 35 feet of water attached to a 300-foot tether. Trials included establishing compass headings (for survey work), mooring location searches and cataloging the marine life of Penobscot Bay with help from the ROV's 4K UHD video camera.

Next they hope to incorporate the use of an iPad and VR smart control technology. "Can't wait to get more students involved!" Lagerbom said in a news release.

Their hope is to enhance the marine studies program with the eventual goal of offering a pathway for those interested in pursuing their BAHS diploma with concentrations of STEM-endorsements in fields of marine-related science/math/engineering, technology, and/or history/commerce/economics, Lagerbom said.

"Such a pathway for a student to choose would help promote and lead to more STEM opportunities, marine advocacy and awareness, marine-related commercial sustainability, community connections, and mentorships," he said. "This kind of professional training could also positively influence future education or employment or career decisions."

The instructors' next initiative is to secure a watercraft from which staff and students can safely and effectively conduct marine studies in the harbor, bay and islands. "We envision lots of great possibilities and opportunities for students with this Marine Studies program," Lagerbom said.