Sea Perch ROV  
"This book is a source of inspiration to kindle the imagination..."
- Dr. John S. Bird
"a unique resource for educating and exciting young minds..."

Our Books


By Harry Bohm and Vickie Jensen
Bulk, Education and Wholesale Discounts apply – Please contact us for more information.
Build Your Own Underwater Robot and Other Wet Projects
Over 20,000 copies sold!
ISBN: 978-0-9681610-0-5
List Price: $20.00 USD/CDN + tax

BUILD YOUR OWN UNDERWATER ROBOT introduces the excitement and technology of underwater exploration. It presents clear, well-illustrated projects—from underwater robots (ROVs) and gliders to diving bells and model habitats. All are constructed using inexpensive materials available at local hardware, hobby and electronics stores or via the internet.

This is the book that launched a thousand ROVs--and started the “underwater robots in the classroom” revolution!

Inside the latest 12th edition of this reader-friendly resource you’ll find:

  • Easy-to-follow plans and illustrations for a variety of projects
  • Plans for waterproofing a camera to create an “eyeball ROV”
  • New instructions for adding a hydraulic gripper to your ROV
  • Guidelines for designing your own underwater Science Fair projects
  • Helpful construction tips, types of tools, and safety advice
  • Info on the exciting history of subsea exploration and modern underwater vehicles
  • A section on Useful Facts and an Index

BUILD YOUR OWN UNDERWATER ROBOT helped the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center dive into ROV education in 1999 and inspired the creation of MATE’s International ROV Competition, now in its 12th year! It also served as the backbone for MATE’s UNDERWATER ROBOTICS: Science, Design and Fabrication, which contains more advanced coverage of these topics.

This amazing book also inspired the SeaPerch Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) educational program, set up in 2003 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant (MITSG) College Program. Sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR), the SeaPerch Program equips teachers and students with an ROV kit and curriculum for fun, hands-on learning of STEM skills.


  • “I have recently been trying to find new projects for my Technology 9/10 class that were inexpensive, challenging and educational. This year two of my classes built submarines. We used the book BUILD YOUR OWN UNDERWATER ROBOT and found it to be a great source of information and also very inexpensive.”

    — Rick Russell, British Columbia Teachers Education Association

  • “My son has taken your book out of the library and has renewed it yet again for the 9th time. I think it’s time to buy him his own copy.”

    — Norma Costigan, Mother of 10 year old

  • “This new book introduces you to the excitement and the technology of underwater exploration. While this book was written for inquisitive students in upper elementary or middle schools, high school students and adults alike will find the book fun and interesting. The book not only has complete instructions for building an ROV but contains many other projects such as an underwater glider, diving bell and more.”

    — Ocean News & Technology Magazine

  • “This book is a source of inspiration to kindle the imagination of our next generation of underwater explorers.”

    — Dr. John S. Bird, Director of Underwater Research Lab, Simon Fraser University

  • “Thank you for your sensational book. What a brilliant idea. There must be an army of underwater enthusiasts out there who will consider it their bible. You have done more to promote underwater research and interest than you can ever imagine, especially among young people.”

    — Clive Cussler, Best-selling author

  • “My copy of BUILD YOUR OWN UNDERWATER ROBOT arrived today and has already aroused quite a bit of interest from my colleagues. I particularly like the way you include all the expert tips and hints such as drilling Perspex and marking out and cutting one piece of pipe at a time to allow for the saw blade thickness. The illustrations are wonderful. I also like the philosophy of section 3. I have seen many books at this sort of level that say what to do but not why. Rarely do you see project management and appraisal in such books.”

    — Graeme Dunbar, School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, The Robert Gordon University

  • “You have produced a real winner with this book. I am really excited about the uses I will be able to put this information to.”

    — Ron Roehmholdt, Exhibits Director, Naval Undersea Museum

  • “I’ve been meaning to send you a letter about how I’ve been using your book. This past spring semester I taught a seminar class designed to introduce students to the joys and challenges of Ocean Engineering. I used your Sea Perch vehicles as the focus of the course and your book was the course text. First we built the vehicles pretty much exactly as described in your book. We then tested them in the Ocean Engineering Testing tank, a 100’ x 8’ x 4’ towing tank with side windows. It was great to watch the kids drive their vehicles, it was like a 3-D model road racing set! For the second stage we added a payload, a tiny video camera and a pressure sensor mounted in a length of ¾” PVC pipe. On our final day we took the students to the Charlestown Navy Yard and we ran the vehicles off the dock and looked at critters underwater. We used small battery-operated video monitors to view the video. It was a great success. The students got a lot of practical hands-on engineering experience and got a taste of ocean engineering as well.”

    — Dr. Thomas R. Consi, Department of Ocean Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • “I purchased your book BUILD YOUR OWN UNDERWATER ROBOT AND OTHER WET PROJECTS on an extended class trip. I helped two Grade Five students construct the “Seaperch” ROV for a Science Fair. Their ROV was the most popular exhibit!”

    — Kyle McWilliam, Grade 12 student

  • “The use of easily acquired materials is most helpful. I can certainly see myself exploring undersea robots with my grade 6, 7 & 8 students.”

    — John Fulton, Teacher

  • “I used to think science was a drag. But you proved that science can be a lot more fun than it seems. Thanks.”

    — Darcy James, Student

Number of FAQs for this book: 4

If you’d like to ask a question about this or any other book, please contact us. Popular questions will be posted here.

1. How deep can the robots in this book go?

The SEA PERCH and SEA FOX robots are shallow-diving robots. SEA PERCH is rated to 3 meters (10 feet) and SEA FOX is rated to 10 meters (30 feet).

2. Where do I find materials and supplies needed for building an underwater robot?

Almost all of the parts needed for building the projects listed in the book are easily available at any local hardware and electronics store. We’d also suggest checking out the internet, company catalogues, or the Yellow Pages™. There are several excellent underwater robot sites, such as, that are informative and provide amazing resources.

Each project has a complete list of parts - read it over first to make sure you understand what is needed and in what quantity. Many people dramatically cut the cost of building projects by scrounging and adapting parts - that’s part of the challenge!

Most electrical and electronic supplies can be found at local electronic component suppliers, hardware stores or even automotive supply shops. For CCD cameras and video monitors, you can try electronic supply shops and businesses that supply burglar alarms and security electronics. You will probably find the cheapest prices by checking the internet and ordering online from companies such as All Electronics or Supercircuits.

You can make your own floats from PVC pipe and end caps or buy them at a commercial marine supply store or ships chandlery. In the same store you should be able to locate small bilge pumps or you can order them online. For example, if you do an online search by typing “Rule Industries” you’ll come up with the websites of several companies that carry the 360 and 500 gph Rule bilge pumps. Similarly, Johnson Pump of America makes the 500 gph Mayfair bilge pump inserts. If you do an internet search for “Mayfair bilge pump” you’ll find several companies that carry this product.

Hobby shops have a variety of motors and props. (Surprisingly electronic shops do not really have a good supply of motors.) Props for hobby airplanes can easily be cut down for use on thrusters. Or you can use props from a toy boat or construction set. The important thing is to buy or make a prop with the correct-sized shaft hole.

Waterproof underwater lights from underwater robotic manufacturers can be very expensive. It’s possible to make your own from halogen bulbs or white LEDs. You can also use waterproof flashlights available from hardware stores, outdoor stores, and scuba shops, although these will cost more.

Automotive shops have simple compasses that will work well for an underwater vehicle. Depth gauges and diver compasses come from scuba shops.

3. About how much does it cost to build an underwater robot?

The cost of any project depends on a number of factors. If you go out and purchase all of the parts and supplies off the shelf, the SEAPERCH project will cost approximately $30 (U.S.) and the more complex SEAFOX project can cost up to $300, depending on how many sensors you choose to add. Of course, you can significantly reduce costs by scrounging materials or by comparison shopping. For example, you could pay more for ready-made underwater lights or you could adapt a cheaper diver’s flashlight.

4. Is there anywhere in my area that I can find this book?

BUILD YOUR OWN UNDERWATER ROBOT & OTHER WET PROJECTS is currently stocked by several retail outlets. If you want to know if there are any in your area, please contact us and we’ll gladly point you to a local store. You can also order BUILD YOUR OWN UNDERWATER ROBOT through your local bookstore. Just give them the complete book title and our contact information so that they can place the order for you.