Maritime Studies: Subs in Schools Program

Share our passion for maritime with your class

This hands-on STEM program uses project-based learning to engage students in exploring engineering systems and design. Students work together to design and build underwater remote operating vehicles and submarines, covering concepts from buoyancy, to programming, communications, and business design.

With a range of kits, online resources, and mentoring available and the opportunity to compete in external competitions; this program supports teachers to extend and challenge their students.

Quick Facts

  • Suitable for years 9-12
  • Two categories supported; Professional Class ROV & Submarine
  • Individual team mentoring, determined by you and your school
  • Can be offered as a subject, an ongoing class project, or as an extra-curricular activity during Term 3
  • School registration closes 22 June 2022
  • Team registration closes 30 June 2022
  • Getting started guide (PDF 3.1 MB)

SUBS in Schools is an Australian STEM program developed in conjunction with the Department of Defence and several of Australia's Defence Industry partners. The Australian Maritime College, a specialist Institute of the University of Tasmania, is proud to partner with Re-Engineering Foundation Australia and extend SUBS in Schools to Tasmania.

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The project requires students to work directly with industry partners, undertaking tasks that are faced by engineers working on real maritime projects.  SUBS in Schools will take both teachers and students on a learning journey, building knowledge and skills that will benefit students beyond their school years.  Underlying these activities is an educational pedagogy which develops employability skills in students which will aid their transmission to the world or workforce. These skills include communication, collaboration, presentation, teamwork and entrepreneurship.

Any School delivering REA STEM initiatives within their school, irrespective of whether they intend to register teams in the competition all schools must register.
School Registration is FREE

Step 1 - Complete school registration to provide access to program (as soon as possible - the sooner your register the sooner you gain access to the program, mentoring and support.

Step 2 - Team registration - team registration closes 30th June, a school cannot register a team/s until school registration have been complete.

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SUBS in Schools is based on Action Learning principles, which have an extended trajectory in terms of the involvement of the students and the outcomes that are achieved.  The program is structured to allow teachers and students to develop their understanding of design and technology over time.  This is because programs which engage intrinsic interest over extended periods of time achieve a much higher impact in influencing children’s career decision choices.

The objectives of SUBS in Schools are:

  1. Bring career relevance to STEM learning activities
  2. Excite and encourage students to consider careers and a learning pathway related to STEM
  3. Provide alternative learning and skills development in partnership with schools
  4. Develop skills in students which are directly transferable to industry roles
  5. Facilitate a cross-curricular education environment to enhance the outcomes of the education system
  6. Promote innovation and the development of entrepreneurship in young people
  7. Increase the number of students moving to STEM based careers
  8. Facilitate technology transfer from industry to schools and the community at large
  9. Raise STEM career opportunity awareness within schools and the wider community
  10. Provide a catalyst for encouraging interaction and collaboration between schools, industry and the community,
  11. Encourage the collaboration between schools based in metropolitan environments with schools in country areas and internationally
  12. Where appropriate, use the power of role models to guide and support youth in the process of career development
  13. Ensure that STEM becomes a part of the everyday language of students

SUBS in Schools is not just about more mathematics and more science, but rather a curriculum based on the concept of educating students in an interdisciplinary and applied learning method.

Re Engineering Australia (REA) programs align with the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER).  REA works with education departments to embed its programs in the curriculum.  The WA School Curriculum and Standards Authority has approved SUBS in Schools, 4x4 in Schools and F1 in Schools as endorsed programs.  Students receive credit toward their WA Certificate of Education (WACE) with each activity listed on the student's WA Statement of Student Achievement (WASSA).

Teachers and schools are encouraged to implement learning processes that work within their own educational environment.  There are four levels available in the program.  A school may implement one or more levels depending on how they choose to design the program.  When entering the competition, you will need to ensure there is compliance with the eligibility criteria. Some levels of the competition, such as Level 2 Large ROV, support a Development and a Professional class.

Each level of the program is designed not to be prescriptive in terms of implementation. Each level allows students to explore ever-increasing levels of complexity in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, Materials, Manufacturing, Art, Communication & Collaboration, with limitless learning potential.

Level 1: Mini ROV (years 7-8) (no longer supported through AMC)

Designed as an introduction to STEM and underwater vehicle operation.  The task is to build and operate a Mini ROV, with the focus on learning the principles of buoyancy, propulsion and control.  Small ROV model kits, together with instructions, are made available to the schools.

Level 2: Large ROV design and construction (years 9 – 10)

This is recommended as an introduction to STEM and underwater vehicle operation. Involving a  larger component of design and construction, students are required to build a larger scale ROV, able to undertake specific underwater tasks and support ancillary items such as cameras and robot arms. At this level the students will be required to extend their understanding of the maths and science involved in underwater operation and robotic control.

There are two sub-classes within this category:

  1. Development Class (no longer supported by AMC): Students in years 9 only build their ROV from a standard development class kit. Students must focus on buoyancy, performance and the addition of cameras and devices that allow them to pick up objects during the trials.
  2. Professional Class: Professional class is an open design category where the students in years 9-12 have the freedom to design and build their own ROV in compliance with the Technical Regulations.

Level 3: 3D Spatial Design (years 7-11) (no longer supported through AMC)

The task is to form a virtual design company, which will make a bid for the design of an accommodation space for a future submarine project. The students will need to demonstrate the design in a virtual reality environment.  This level is suited to schools who do not have a significant workshop facility.

Level 4: Design an Operational Submarine (years 11-12)

This is recommended for those who have participated in any of the lower levels of competition or College years. Students take on the design of an operating scale submarine. The task is to form a new design company with 3-5 students to design and build a new remotely operated submarine. The submarine must work within an operating environment defined by a set of rules around water trials.

Staged Learning

SUBS in Schools is built on a set of stepping stones, so teachers and students are enabled to develop skills over time.

Mentoring and Support

The Australian Maritime College at the University of Tasmania is proud to provide your school with mentoring and support throughout the subs in schools journey.

Throughout the competition you will have the opportunity to attend workshops at key stages of the competition and tailor specific activities through your subject expert mentor assigned to your team.

Online Resources

Online learning available with access to SUBS in Schools specific resources, including a bank of teaching guides, videos and tutorials.

REA will soon be launching a new SUBS learning environment which will change the classroom teaching environment forever. Face to face and virtual learning will become seamless for students and teachers.


Students get to utilise the same Engineering design software used BOEING and Australia's Future Submarine Project.


Textbooks are available to directly support the development of the understanding of undersea activities and can be purchased from the Subs in School store.

Student stories

For more information check out some of our AMC Student stories.

Above and Beyond REA Pod Casts


SUBS in Schools can be implemented in a variety of ways, as it has no set format.  Consider the learning context within your school before developing an implementation plan. There is no relationship between how schools implement the program and success at a competition level. When developing the program for your school, we advise you to consider cross-curricular STEM implementation to maximise student opportunities.  Below are some scheduling suggestions based currently running SUBS in Schools participants:

Extra-Curricula Activity

Many schools run the program outside school hours as an extracurricular activity.  This method allocates a dedicated day every week where students can spend time in their team groups with supervision. When competitions approach, teams might need to spend more days after school or their lunchtime working on the project.

In-Class Activity

Many schools run the program within their teaching faculties. For example, a Technology faculty might make one of their junior projects the SUBS in Schools program and all students in the cohort will form groups to design and build a Submarine or ROV. The program has a natural fit as a cross-curricular teaching platform as it fits comfortably with Design, Art, Science and Math. Cross-faculty collaboration can be challenging to achieve, but the benefits for the students are numerous.

Dedicated Subject

Running the program as a dedicated subject is something that has been taken up by several schools. Moving away from the siloed style of education and recognising the practical applications of STEM subjects, benefits students when they go back into individual subject lessons.

Financial costs are often the biggest barrier to schools or teams participating, however throughout the maritime sector there is a strong desire to support efforts to grow our next generation workforce.

The AMC endeavours to promote and facilitate networking for all participating schools to our invested industry, associations, and alumnus community to ensure that teams can connect with potential sponsors.

The funding required by schools to participate will vary depending on the level at which they enter the program and participation at both State and National levels. Teams have the responsibility to raise sponsorship for all levels of the project including registration fees associated with participating in the Australian National Competition.

Costs for your kit

Level 2: Large ROV design and construction (years 9 – 12)  Professional Class $1,500

Level 4: Design an Operational Submarine (years 11 - 12) $3,300

Additional Components and 3D printing: Used in Level 2 & 4 are purchased separately, or can be sourced through industry support.

You can explore costs and purchase materials for kits at the SUBS in Schools (REA store).

Competition Costs

There are no fees associated with schools registering to deliver the SUBS in Schools competition.

All travel and accommodation costs are the responsibility of teams and teachers.

At State and National Finals, REA will charge team participation fees. These fees vary from year to year and assist in the running of events including the provision of expo style booths for displays where relevant. Go to the Fees and Registration page of the SUBS in Schools website for our fee structure.

2021 State Finals $475

2021 National Finals $975

Q: Does my school need to compete externally?

Entering external competitions is not critical in running the SUBS in Schools program. Internal school competitions may be as far as you would like to take the process as you build skills in the school.

Running this project in your school and using the resources does require schools to register at no cost. The School Registration process will allow REA to understand the communications protocol and points of contact within your school. It will enable REA to keep you briefed about upcoming competitions, public exposure events, government grants and opportunities for support and collaboration with industry.

Q: Why should my school get involved in external competitions?

Once students step above the in-school competition, they enter a very competitive market. Competing outside of the school provides a platform for students to operate outside their comfort zone. The number of competitors increases as does the quality of the competition. The better they can be prepared to take on the fierce competition, the better they will be able to make the transition to the world of work.

SUBS in Schools is the academic STEM equivalent of team sports, which provide an opportunity to undertake competition based on an academic pathway. Students are required to adhere to strict rules and regulations, documented in two separate documents, the Technical Regulations and the Competition Rules. These documents, while extensive, can be simplified for internal school competitions but should form the basis for implementing SUBS in Schools internally.

Q: What’s involved in competitions?

There are many levels and classes of competitions through which teams can progress. To participate in tournaments, teachers must register their teams. Team registration is independent to school registration and is only for teams looking to compete in state or national events. Progression to a national final is dependent on a team’s performance in the state final. The top team progresses based on performance, with some ‘wildcard’ opportunities offered to teams with the potential or capacity to step up and operate at a higher level.

Q: Is teacher PD available?

Yes – REA is available to develop teacher PD on a needs basis with supporting workshops delivered by the AMC.

Q: Timeline for signup?

Any School delivering REA STEM initiatives within their school, irrespective of whether they intend to register teams in the competition all schools must register. School Registration is FREE and ideally should be completed by Easter break.

Step 1 - Complete school registration to provide access to program

Step 2 - Team registration - team registration closes 30th June 2021, a school cannot register a team/s until school registration have been complete.

The National Finals have students from all over Australia gather to compete for the opportunity to be crowned National Champions in their representative class of competition. It has been decided that National Finals are hosted in the March/April following the year of competition. The future locations of National Finals is determined by REA and announced through the competition.

Due to COVID the successful bid for AMC to host the National Final in Tasmania was postponed, however AMC remains favourable for hosting from 2023 onwards

To book your mentoring session activity or to find out further information.

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Watch the Re-Engineering Australia Foundation video on the SUBS in Schools program
Discover more about the Australian Maritime College with The Fishing Guys