Small Boat Launched by American Students Reaches Norway

15 February 2022

Students in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire sent a small boat into the Atlantic Ocean in October 2020. It was a school experiment to see where the ocean currents would take the 1.8-meter long boat which was equipped with a satellite positioning system, or GPS.

The boat was found 462 days later on a small Norwegian island.

The boat was called the Rye Riptides, named for Rye Junior High. It was covered with student artwork and contained autumn leaves, pictures and coins honoring different U.S. states.

An image of the boat launched into the Atlantic Ocean by the New Hampshire students. It arrived in Norway over one year later.
An image of the boat launched into the Atlantic Ocean by the New Hampshire students. It arrived in Norway over one year later.

A Norwegian student found the boat on February 1 on the island of Smola. It is off the nation's northwestern coast.

The trip covered more than 13,300 kilometers. The boat lost some of its parts and it was covered in barnacles. The student who found the boat took it to his school. The American students are planning a call with the Norwegian students soon.

The students worried several times that their boat had gone missing. It stopped communicating with the satellite. However, the boat started showing where it was again last summer when it was near Ireland. On January 30, it seemed to have reached land.

One of the American students who launched the boat, Molly Flynn, said she was "surprised the boat actually made it somewhere." Flynn said she was worried the boat would get lost in the middle of the ocean. She called it "cool and surprising" that it was found.

The students continued to follow the boat even when the teacher who started the project with them retired.

Cassie Stymiest runs an educational program based in Maine that started working with the American students on the project in 2018. She said: "When you're sending it out, you have no idea where it's going to end up, how it's going to get there, if it ends up (anywhere) at all."

Stymiest said the students "put their hopes and dreams and wishes into it, and I tend to think sometimes that helps."

I'm Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell adapted this story for Learning English based a report by the Associated Press.

Have you heard of a similar project? Did the boat make it? Write to us in the Comments Section and visit 51VOA.COM.


Words in This Story

coin – n. a piece of money made from metal

barnacle – n. a kind of small shellfish that attaches itself to rocks and the bottoms of boats

cool – adj. appealing in a way approved of mainly by young people

tend –v. used to describe what often happens or what someone often does or is likely to do