Maker: Pender Harbour ROV project comes to the Maker Faire

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Lee-Ann Ennis, a naturalist and marine biologist who is active in the Pender Harbour / Ruby Lake areas of the Coast. Lee-Ann and Pender Harbour Secondary School Science (PHSS) teacher Jay Walls partnered on a project with PHSS Stewardship students to build an ROV (Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle).

Photo courtesy of The Harbour Spiel, Pender Harbour

That ROV was piloted by the PHSS Stewardship students from the Madeira Park Wharf in May of 2015 – read the full story from The Harbour Spiel here (page 7, downloadable PDF). It carries a GoPro camera and runs off a car battery, with joystick controls.

Lee-Ann has been active in the Iris Griffiths Field Interpretive Centre for over 10 years and a long time volunteer in the Ruby Lake Lagoon Society. Prior to moving to the Sunshine Coast, she worked as a Marine Biologist at the Vancouver Aquarium for 5 years, and has been building and working with ROVs for 20 years.

Picture of Pender Harbour Secondary's ROV project in Egmont
Photo courtesy of The Harbour Spiel, Pender Harbour

Lee-Ann will be bringing the PHSS ROV to the Sunshine Coast Mini Maker Faire on Sunday May 29th at Dougall Park in Gibsons, where she plans to demonstrate it operating in a fish locker that will be specially transported to the site for the day.

Assorted parts will be available for the public to explore and play with, and Lee-Ann mentioned in our conversation that there are many doable plans available on line for building your own ROV and I did a bit of research on it, so here’s a few links to get you started:


Lee-Ann also pointed out that Vancouver is a hotbed for subsea designers, and that Sechelt-based Pelagic Technologies is doing ground-breaking work involving the installation of a subframe on the sea floor 23 metres below the surface near Bamfield that houses half a million dollars’ worth of instrumentation and cameras. The 800km cable observatory – the first successful one in the world, part of the NEPTUNE Canada project – allows sophisticated monitoring of a variety of measurable data, from seismic activity to sedimentation, just to name two.

For more information on ROV projects and NEPTUNE Canada:

Harbour Spiel’s story on PHSS, May 2015

Pelagic Technologies



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