Underwater Exploration

Using Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles for Conservation
2020 Call for Applications
WCS Marine Conservation

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has partnered with Sofar to support a global network of conservation organizations to explore and protect our oceans, freshwater systems, and aquatic biodiversity. Conservationists may apply to receive a grant-funded Sofar Trident to help monitor, protect, and tell unique stories about the marine environments they work. This Trident will be yours to keep pending signature of a grant agreement letter and compliance with reporting guidelines.

About the Sofar Trident Underwater Drone

The Trident is a fast, agile, and portable underwater drone that can be used in fresh and/or salt water. You can use your phone or tablet to control the drone and stream live, full HD video from underwater straight to your device. The standard unit can dive comfortably to 25m or, with the optional longer tether, to 100m. The Trident is easy to operate remotely with any modern Android (minimum 5.1) device. It comes underwater-optimized, with a full HD camera with low latency and 1080p video streaming and recording. The Trident has onboard rechargeable lithium batteries providing 3 to 4 hours of power to explore underwater and a topside unit to communicate wirelessly between the drone’s topside end of the tether and the android controller. Read more about the Trident specifications at https://www.sofarocean.com/products/trident


What’s included

Each Trident will come as a Trident Package, with everything you need to use it, including:

For international organizations:


Shipping is included; however, please note we will deliver to an international port of entry, and you will be responsible for delivery from port of entry to the final destination, and for paying customs and import fees or other taxes and fees upon arrival.


How to Apply

Eligible applicants should complete this short application form to apply to receive one or more Trident and related accessories. 


Who is Eligible to Apply

This offer is being made to qualified applicants that commit to using this equipment strictly to advance conservation, through research or education initiatives. Scientists, educators, researchers, and students (not individuals) affiliated with non-profit organizations with status under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (or equivalent charitable status under foreign law) or U.S. government agencies (including public schools) are eligible to apply on behalf of their organization to this WCS call. Please include documentation of eligible status with your application. Please contact ROVs@wcs.org to inquire.

The application selection will be decided on these four main criteria: 

  1. Research goal
  2. Conservation goal
  3. Education goal
  4. Plan and capacity to promote through communications


The deadline for this opportunity is October 2, 2020.  Applicants will be notified within three weeks of that date whether or not they have been selected to receive a Trident package. If you do not hear from us in three weeks, please contact ROVs@wcs.org.  If Tridents still are available after this first call, a second and/or third call for applicants will go out to ensure others have an opportunity to apply.

Reporting Requirements

There are no financial costs associated with this opportunity (other than certain shipping and delivery fees, as noted above), and the recipient will be able to keep the donated equipment provided they to meet the following reporting and content-sharing requirements in accordance with signed grant agreement. The grant deliverables will include:
  1. Submit a short final user report about your experience using the Trident(s) by October 1, 2021 (template will be provided)
  2. Promote video highlights online via social media channels and/or organization website (social media sharing instructions will be provided)
  3. Provide a sample of video (e.g., highlight reels of footage taken by the Trident(s) granted) and/or still photography (including photos of project activities) from your project both at the time of reporting, and as relevant throughout the length of your project by emailing footage ROVs@wcs.org

These outputs will be used to help us improve our understanding of how underwater ROVs can be used for marine conservation and report activities to donors. Content provided by recipients may be used in websites, reports, publications, videos, press releases, blog posts, and other media published or made publicly available by WCS or Sofar. WCS will acknowledge the source (i.e., organization, institution or individual) of any shared materials used for these purposes.


Additional Notes

Eligible organizations can apply initially for one Trident package; if Tridents remain available and other call will go out and all organization may apply for additional ROVs. Under certain circumstances, if proposed research requires multiple Tridents, please provide a clear justification for this in your application.

If you have any questions about the underwater Tridents or the application process, please contact us at ROVs@wcs.org.

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