Welcome to the European International Submarine Races, where teams of university students are challenged to design, build and race human-powered submarines against the clock on an out-and-back grand slalom course. The concept combines engineering design challenge with technical skill development and sets them in a unique and exciting sporting competition.

The Venue:

The race takes place in QinetiQ’s Ocean Basin at Haslar, Europe’s largest freshwater tank - a concrete floored football field 6m underwater.



Design Rules:

The teams’ vessels are submarines in every sense of the word, except for the watertight bit. Here are the rules they must design and compete by.



Meet the Teams:

It takes a dedicated team of engineers, athletes, logisticians and sponsors to field a racing submarine. Come meet the students who are readying their underwater steeds for the real-world challenge of launch, race, repair and upgrade which is the eISR.




Qualification Round

The first stage of eISR 2024 has begun. There are only 12 spots on the starting line at the eISR. To qualify for one of those spots, teams have to complete a set of requirements to the satisfaction of the judges and race staff. The ‘lights’ in the figure to the left will light as teams complete the requirements. When all lights are ‘lit’ (light in colour), the team has qualified. The stages are:

  1. Registration: Indicate intent to compete and pay registration fee.
  2. Spec: Upload one-page engineering specification.
  3. Report: Upload engineering design report.
  4. Photos: Upload zipfile of photos of completed submarine.
  5. Video: Upload video of submarine underway, under water.
  6. Divers: Evidence of diver qualifications & experience.
  7. Fees: Pay final race fees.
  8. Qualified: All conditions fulfilled. Ready to race!

STEM Initiatives

From British Columbia in the northwest to New Zealand in the southeast, student submarine engineers and athletes are united by a drive for excellence and a passion for the underwater world. The eISR is proud to support their inspiration of the next generation of ocean ambassadors.

Past Races:

The eISR turns 12 in 2024. There have been some spectacular teams and machines over the years. Speed demons and innovative designs have taken up the challenge. Some have done well, even set a world record, while others have, well, brought up the rear. 




The 2022 edition of the eISR ran over nine days in July 2022. The first four days were focused on the second round of qualification, which involved the teams demonstrating the functioning of their safety systems. The race proper ran over the last five days, with submarines taking on the challenge of a slalom course that got more difficult each day. The trade-off of speed and control played out throughout the competition. Awards for engineering design and science communication complemented the teams’ in-water performance.



Thanks to our host and sponsors