March 2022 OES Beacon

University of Victoria Submarine Racing Club

Josh Fernandes (OES student member), and team members

The members of the University of Victoria submarine racing club (UVSRC) are a diverse bunch, ranging from history majors to engineering students. The common thread between them is their passion for marine engineering and the goal to compete at the international submarine race (ISR). Founded in 2018, the UVSRC has since designed and built three human powered submarines, and with the help of the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society Victoria Chapter, is on track to build and race a fourth at the upcoming European International Submarine Race.

Pictured: Jaryd Middleton piloting the Chinook II, 2019

The most recent race was the 15th International Submarine Race back in 2019, being held in Washington D.C.  This was a massive success for the club, coming out in 5th place and being acknowledged with the Best Use of Technology award. This was in recognition of the submarine’s innovative design elements including tubercles on the dive planes, mimicking that of a whale to increase the stall angle and to decrease drag. The submarine also boasted an electrical system to automate depth control, as well as a four-piece modular hull.

Since 2019, there have been no in-person races, but the UVSRC has still been working. Now with fully worked designs from the past years, the UVSRC is aiming for the upcoming 2022 European International Submarine Race. This fourth iteration from the UVSRC builds upon all the knowledge that has been gained from previous years.


The mechanical team made significant changes to the structure of the propulsion system while keeping the same contra rotating propeller concept. A thrust block with a custom bottom bracket was implemented to save weight and take up less space inside the hull. A weight rail was introduced to efficiently achieve neutral buoyancy and level pitch prior to race runs. It consists of a length of T-Slot extrusion, to which custom made weights can be attached until neutral buoyancy and level pitch are achieved. The largest change is the new hull design. A taller hull has been adopted to reduce sideslip while turning and to increase ergonomics for the pilot. The subsequent changes follow the goal of increasing ergonomics.


First wet test of the Chinook III

A new electrical system is being introduced to improve both the depth control, but also instrumentation. The addition of an Inertial Measurement Unit, hull speed sensor, and RPM sensor, combined with the previous depth sensors, will allow for a robust logging of the submarine dynamics. This information will be key in evaluating design changes in the future. This influx of data will also be used to assist a more robust depth control system.

For more detail on both the mechanical and electrical system, please visit to read a comprehensive review of the submarine.

First wet test of the Chinook III

The continued projects of the UVic Submarine Racing Club would not be possible without the generous contribution of the IEEE OES Victoria Chapter, and the team would like to extend their sincerest thanks. For more information about the UVic Submarine Racing Club, please visit: