On our recent Anacapa Island trip aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) research vessel, the R/V Shearwater. Paul met Captain Charles Lara, who serves as one of the operators aboard the Shearwater, Charles was a graduate of the Santa Barbara City College Marine Tech program and has spent most of his life on the water. He observed our dives using our OpenROV and we discussed our educational outreach. We explained how we were trying to connect science and hands-on technical training, and then extending it to children. He was very excited with our program and asked if we would be interested in working with a commercial grade ROV. He offered to donate a Deep Ocean Engineering Phantom 500 observation class ROV from 1985!

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This weekend the team headed to Santa Barbara Harbor to see the NOAA Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary office.

Inside we got a peak of their Seabotix LBV ROV which they regularly deploy from the Shearwater.


Charlie Lara (left) and members of the AARR picking up the Phantom

The Phantom is large and requires two people to lift. It’s tether, which is roughly the same length as the OpenROV’s, took up the entire bed of our truck, and weighed more than 60lbs! After spending a great afternoon at the Harbor with Charles, the team thanked him, packed up and headed back to the lab, where the Phantom now safely rests.


SCOOP one of our OpenROVs rides piggyback on it’s new friend!

Currently the team is finishing our last two MATE PVC ROVs and after testing we can begin work on the Phantom in the next month. The current plans are to do our best to recondition the ROV and make it sea worthy again, and see if the original electronics still function.

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