Primary School on marine alert

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During National Science Week students at Nhulunbuy Primary School examined how technology is used for ocean research and rescue.

The topics conformed to the 2020 event theme: Deep Blue: Innovations for the future of our oceans.

They learned how remote-controlled aircraft and drones can be used to track endangered marine animals, scan the ocean for pollution, and be used to find and drop vital supplies to sailors lost at sea.

But science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) teacher Mark Conden said the students also took part in a mock marine rescue.

“They learned how Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) use satellites to locate and save sailors,” he said.

“Once the EPIRB is activated, rescue aircraft or drones can use satellite-based GPS to easily pinpoint those in extreme situations.

“During the simulation, students lost at sea (school oval) activated an EPIRB, and rescue aircraft found them and dropped them rescue equipment and supplies.

“Students went out in groups of 10 and tried to catch the supplies (foil balls) as they fell.”

The rescue organisers were STEM teachers Mark Conden (pilot) Lena Larsen (runway supervisor) and Jamie Wilks (EPIRB/boating expert and rescue coordinator).

Mr Conden said the students witnessed some of the complexities of life-saving missions.

“We are pleased to report the rescue supplies were dropped right on target and all lost sailors were located and safely rescued,” he said.

“Our lost mariners suggested lollies and other treats should be dropped next time.”

Primary School on marine alert
STEM teachers Mark Conden and Lena Larsen. The plane/drone belongs to Mark Conden. He has flown radio-controlled planes, helicopters and drones, for more than 30 years.

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