Hints & Tips

The engineering detail of your designs will be different depending on your school year. Here are some design aspects that you might want to consider:


First things first, come up with the team/vessel name! Then start thinking about your design, here are some questions to help entrants start to imagine what their design will be:

1. What types of Natural Disasters are there?

– What disasters have you seen on the news or researched in other school subjects?  Where do these events happen most often?

 2. How do these disasters affect people, settlements and the environment?

– Think about people’s homes, their water and power supplies, food and medicines &c.

3. How have the Royal Navy and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary helped people in the past?

– Can you find references in the News or on the Royal Navy website?

4. What kind of help do the victims of a disaster need in the first hours, days and weeks?

– Having worked out what help they need; how quickly do they need it?  What are the most important things to provide/repair?  How quickly does your ship need to get there?  This will affect your choice of engines and their size.

5. What coastline features will your ship encounter; obstacles, hazards or challenges?

– What dangers might your ship encounter?  What features could be useful?  A ship that needs deeper water will have to sit farther from the shore or won’t be able to enter smaller ports.

6. What services/assistance will be offered?

– Services are provided by the crew and can include medical, peace-keeping or construction.  The services offered will help you choose what stores and facilities you’ll need to take with you.

 7. What facilities will be needed onboard?

– These are services that don’t leave the ship and could include hospitals and command centres.  Can you think of any others?

8. What stores will be needed?

– Stores are any supplies you can think of.  Also, how do you keep these stores onboard?  E.g. Containers, Dry Stores, Refrigerated or climate-controlled Stores.

9. How will you get these stores/capabilities ashore?

– Now that you know what your ship will bring, how can you get this ashore to those who need it?  Ports and Docks may have been destroyed in the disaster.

10. How big is your ship as a result? How big is the crew?

– Now that you’ve identified the problem and proposed a brilliant solution, how many people does your ship need to operate?  What are their roles?  Does your ship need extra space?  Remember that your ship will need to support and maintain your crew before it can help anybody else.

 This is by no means an exhaustive list


Designs should be shown on an A3 Poster, along with all of the features and information about the vessel. This can either be done by hand or on a computer, it’s up to you!

Key Stage 1 and 2 entries may look something like this:

Whilst Key stage 3 entries will be more detailed, like this:

You should use the “Key Design Features” space to talk in more detail about your vessel’s main features and how they make it possible to rescue people.  This should be expanded on further in your written submission.  But be brief.  Remember, you only have two sides of A4!

The vessels shown in the examples have no imaginative features, and probably wouldn’t be very good at responding to disasters for the following reasons.

  • There might not be a dock to park the ship next to unload supplies, what other ways could supplies be delivered?
  • This ship wouldn’t be very fast and so would take a long time to reach people, how could you make a faster ship?
  • The ship only provides supplies other than this what else might people in a disaster need?


When entrants are happy with their design, their teacher can submit the poster via our online submission form. If you have made a poster using a computer, it should be sent as a pdf. Hand drawn posters will need to be scanned in before being submitted.

Your File Name MUST be in the format School Name_Team Name_Year Group

It MUST be included on the drawing/computer generated poster.