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Marine Corps Systems Command

Equipping our MARINES

MCB Quantico, Va.
Marine engineers get creative in inaugural bathtub race

By Wil Williams, MCTSSA | Marine Corps Systems Command | November 26, 2014


Marine Corps Systems Command’s Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch was the venue for some resourceful marine engineering during its inaugural bathtub race.


The bathtub race—spearheaded by AVTB’s Operations Officer Wil Wright to generate creativity and healthy competition among the branch’s seven sections—required each of AVTB’s sections to design and build a makeshift boat from scratch.


“No money was allowed to be spent on the design or building of the boats,” said Lt. Col. Robert Bailey, AVTB’s director. “The rules required the teams to scavenge, dumpster dive, re-purpose, borrow and otherwise scrounge materials to build the watercraft.” 


According to Bailey, besides enhancing unit cohesion and esprit de corps, the purpose of the event was to have AVTB personnel experience the challenge of designing within constraints, resourcing with only what was readily available, building in accordance with a timeline and successfully launching a functional amphibious system. 


In all, participants built and launched seven boats, sporting everything from recycled water bottles, PVC pipe, shrink wrapped foam and plastic trash barrels to almost anything else that floated. Each boat—manned by two of each team’s foursome— was required to navigate around a section of Camp Pendleton’s Del Mar Boat Basin twice. All of the boats successfully crossed the finish line with AVTB’s engineering section winning the race.


AVTB plays a vital role in the Assault Amphibious Vehicle Survivability Upgrade Program and future systems improvement initiatives, as well as in the development and fielding of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle.  


AVTB expects this event to become an annual tradition.