Student Ferry Design Contest's Rules Changed amid COVID-19

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

August 12, 2020

The Worldwide Ferry Safety Association (WFSA) said it is adding new requirements for its 8th Annual International Student Design Competition for a Safe Affordable Ferry, in an action reflecting the unprecedented developments of 2020. This year, students have been tasked with designing a RoPax ferry for the Amazon River, between Manaus and Tefé, some 200 miles further inland.

Due to the widespread impacts of COVID-19, the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association is asking registered and to-be-registered student teams to consider how their designs could be modified for safe operation in a time of the pandemic. Although the specifications were posted a few weeks ago, given the severity of COVID-19 infection in Brazil (second only to the U.S. in severity), WFSA recognizes that ferry travel may be a mode of virus transmission and will be asking student teams to consider design features which might counteract the spread of the coronavirus.

WFSA’s Executive Director Dr. Roberta Weisbrod said, “The infections in Brazil are indeed focused on the Amazon River from Manaus and points west. The ferry is an economic and social life line for people living near the river. There are no roads between Manaus and Tefé and 150,000 take the multi-day trip annually. Ferry safety, the WFSA’s mandate, extends beyond navigation systems and the like- preventing the spread of COVID-19 will now be an important factor for students to consider.”

The WFSA’s international student design competition awards $10,000 annually to teams that the international cadre of distinguished judges deem outstanding. Student teams are also invited to present their work at WFSA’s Ferry Safety and Technology Conference. Student teams may register through http://www.ferrysafetydesigncompetition.org.

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