Coast Guard Academy cadets in the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Department test out their ship design in a water-testing tank at the Academy as part of their capstone project, Feb. 14, 2019. Their capstone project is to design a replacement Waterways Commerce Cutter to ensure these vital trade routes can be cost effectively maintained through future generations. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Laughlin

Tomorrow’s leaders designing tomorrow’s ships

The Coast Guard relies upon a fleet of 31 inland river buoy tenders averaging 52 years old, becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and sustain operations that support 2.3 billion tons of waterborne commerce along the U.S. Marine Transportation System. As part of the Coast Guard Academy’s capstone requirements, a group of cadets have been working in partnership with the Coast Guard Office of Ship Design to improve and replace the Waterways Commerce Cutter.