Students from Garoé Secondary School, El Hierro, launch a new educational miniboat as part of the iFADO project

Students from IES Garoé, in Valverde, have launched an educational miniboat of the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) in the waters south of La Restinga, El Hierro. The boat will cross the Atlantic Ocean in the framework of the iFADO project of the Interreg Altantic Area programme and the international Educational Passages programme.

The launching of the mini-sailboat, called El Hierro-Mar, Salitre y Lava, took place after a training session in which students and teachers from IES Garoé and representatives of PLOCAN participated. The event was supported by the town council of El Pinar, El Hierro.

The miniboat is expected to cross the Atlantic Ocean, like other miniboats in the Educational Passages programme, the aim of which is to spread environmental literacy, particularly with respect to the ocean environment, by means of GPS-equipped miniboats that follow ocean currents and winds. Thanks to the programme, students of all ages can explore ocean phenomena while participating in transoceanic classrooms.

The mini-sailboat follows in the wake of the educational voyage of miniboat Buche Salado II, from the Eusebio Barreto Secondary School in Los Llanos de Aridane, La Palma, which has been caught in a circular ocean current west-southwest of La Palma since it was launched on 5 May.

The mini-sailboat El Hierro-Mar, Salitre y Lava is equipped with a GPS transmitter and a temperature sensor powered by a small solar panel mounted on the surface of the boat. The students wrote about the origins of the boat and their work has been stored in a small 20-centimetre hold, so that it can be identified when it is found.

Driven by the ocean winds and currents, El Hierro-Mar, Salitre y Lava will follow a course that can be observed in real time via the Educational Passages website, so that students can discover the characteristics of the sea routes that it follows, learning all about ocean currents and winds in an interactive format.

The main goal of the programme is to introduce students to sailing and to engage them in collaborative learning through international cultural experiences, and to increase understanding of the value of the hydrosphere as a shared resource through ocean literacy. The programme brings the ocean into the classroom, whether it is on the coast or inland.

iFADO: The Interreg Atlantic iFADO project aims to create marine services at regional and sub-regional scale, using the Atlantic waters of the European Union as a case study. Filling current technical gaps, iFADO will build on the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) to demonstrate the application of innovative products. Funded by the European INTERREG Atlantic Area programme, it brings together research institutions from different fields such as numerical modelling, satellite remote sensing, oceanographic campaigns and new technologies.

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