South Devon College buys remote vessels for maritime tech training


South Devon College has acquired two remotely controlled marine survey boats from Exeter-based maritime tech firm HydroSurv.

The Paignton-based academic institution said the Uncrewed Surface Vessels (USVs) will be used by its students at its new Marine Academy on the River Dart to give them experience of using the equipment.

The organisation said the use of USVs for commercial operation is creating more career options for the next wave of marine engineers and digital media professionals, as the kit becomes more widely adopted in ocean industries for activities such as data collection.

The two vessels, named USV Dart and USV Exe, were built by HydroSurv for research collaborations and demonstrations which ithe company said had “catalysed” its international growth.

HydroSurv has refitted and upgraded the fully electric, zero emission vessels for the academy, which aims to support industry by delivering a skills pipeline to meet the demands of a rapidly changing sector.

The two organisations have a long-standing relationship, with HydroSurv currently hosting an apprentice from the college, with another intake planned this year.

The organisations said the deal was a “strong example” of how partnerships between academia and the business community could address a skills gap and open new research and development opportunities within the South West’s growing cluster of clean maritime tech firms.

Paul Singer, business and qualification development coordinator at South Devon College, said: “The use of USVs in industry is increasing every day and South Devon Marine Academy will be taking a leading role in the development of USV related training, from maintenance and servicing through to in-service operations.

“Our new workshops and classrooms are just metres from the River Dart, making them the ideal location from which to deliver this training.”

HydroSurv founder and chief executive David Hull added: “Following refit and upgrade, the second-life use of these USVs has come full circle to support the seeding of new skills that are in strong demand across the ocean technology space.”

The college’s planned marine autonomy training is due to be rolled out from the next academic year starting in September.

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