MATE ROV Competition- Canceled

Dear Northern Gulf Regional ROV Competition participants,

All MATE ROV competitions, including the 8th annual Northern Gulf Coast Regional at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, have been canceled at the direction of the MATE parent organization.  We are disappointed that the student teams will not get the chance to demonstrate their creativity and skills and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment seeing their ROV perform in the water. We regret that our team of educators, judges, and volunteers will not have the opportunity to see the amazing designs teams have built, witness teams rising to the challenges of the pool missions and working as a team and enjoy the opportunity to meet, chat with and learn from all of our participants.  We hope that your community rebounds quickly from the COVID situation and that we have the opportunity to see you and your ROV at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab at the 2021 competition!

The Discovery Hall Programs Team

Dates: April 24-26, 2020
Registration Opens: January 21, 2020
Deadline: April 3, 2020

Discovery Hall Programs hosts the annual Northern Gulf Coast regional competition for the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) program.

In this competition, teams of middle and high school students, facilitated by their teachers/mentors, design, build and pilot their own unique ROV before coming to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab to compete against student teams from across the Gulf coast in a series of science-based missions.

The 2020 Regional includes SCOUT, NAVIGATOR and RANGER ROV class competitions. The competition consists of two mission attempts, a marketing display poster, and an oral presentation. The competition is held over 3-days beginning on Friday with safety inspections and a career panel discussion, followed by pool demonstrations (Saturday) and engineering design presentations and award ceremony (Sunday). 

2019 Cost (payable to MATE): 
SCOUT - $50
RANGER - $200
The 2020 MATE ROV Competition-World Championship will take place on June 25-27 at Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania. 

What is MATE?

The primary mission of the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center is to provide the marine technical workforce with appropriately educated workers and to use marine technology to create interest in and improve STEM education.

The MATE ROV competition is about student learning. It is designed to be an event that challenges students to apply the physics, math, electronics, and engineering skills they are learning in the classroom to solving problems from the marine workplace. Mentors (teachers, parents, working professionals) are expected to limit their input to educational and inspirational roles and encouraged to focus on the benefits of the learning process and not simply on “winning” the competition.
MATE Regional competition website

Past Competition Video






How do I get started?

The best place to learn more about the ROV competition is MATE’s website. There you can find the team information page which has links to the competition overview and goals, FAQs and additional resources. Also available on their website are regional event dates, class handbooks and links to registration.  

The Northern Gulf Coast Regional also has its own MATE website where regional specific updates and information is posted. You can also contact me, Rachel McDonald, with any questions at

What materials can be used and where can I get them?

Be creative! PVC is a great place to start for the frame, but I would encourage your students to take a trip to the local hardware or dollar store and look at other materials that can be repurposed into an ROV part. Just make sure they meet all of the safety guidelines in the handbook!

There are also kits you can buy online to get started. MATE has some available in their SeaMATE store or you can search online for other kits. Purchasing a kit is not required to compete in the competition, but they are a great place to start if you are new to underwater robotics. 

How many schools have participated?

Last year we had 16 teams compete from 15 schools, which came from Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana and Missouri.  Middle school and high school teams are welcome to participate as well as other extracurricular clubs such as Scout Troops and 4-H clubs. Schools or clubs may also bring more than one team (up to 2) as long as the teams are competing at separate class levels (i.e. Scout, Navigator or Ranger). 

How do you get involved?

If you are interested in bringing a team please visit MATE’s website for the competition guidelines and team registration.
If you are interested in volunteering at the event please email the regional coordinator, Rachel McDonald, at

We are currently looking for safety, mission, presentation and marketing judges as well as high school volunteers.  

If you would like to sponsor or contribute funds for facilities, building materials, awards or team travel stipends please contact us at to make a donation. 

Keep in touch with all the happenings by joining our DISL ROV Competitions Facebook group.

Get Our Newsletter