Toy boat launched by Charleston elementary school students found in Britain

Published: Feb. 19, 2016 at 2:10 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 19, 2016 at 9:43 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A toy boat launched by students at a Charleston elementary school was discovered by a mother and son in Britain.

Officials with the St. Andrew's School of Math and Science say the boat, dubbed the "Carolina Dreamer," was discovered in the coastal village of Borth in Wales on Feb. 10.

Students launched the boat in May of last year.

"We were looking across the waves when it literally sailed right to us," Helen Hinks told the BBC."It was magical."

Hinks said she and her 3-year-old son were walking on the beach when they found the "Carolina Dreamer."

Students at St. Andrew's learned of the news on Thursday.

Amy McMahon, the teacher leading the project, said her students were "over the moon" when they learned that their boat was located.

"We've been tracking her journey for nine months and when her GPS failed to send a signal on February 2, we were very worried that we may never hear from her again," said McMahon. "Our students frantically contacted harbormasters, the UK Coast Guard, and anyone and everyone who may come in contact with her. The response was astounding and it seemed that the entire coastline of Ireland and Wales were keeping watch."

Before the "Carolina Dreamer" set sail, students placed a variety of objects in a time capsule and wrote an "ABC" book of Charleston, according to officials with Educational Passages.

After launching on May 17, 2015, the boat made landfall on Bermuda after sailing for less than a week.

"A few days later, she was relaunched and subsequently made her way across the ocean," Educational Passages officials said.

In January of 2016, the boat appeared to be approaching Ireland, and on Feb. 10 officials received the following message:

"About a week ago, I was on the beach with my son and we saw a little boat come sailing in on the waves. We pulled it out and stored it safety. My daughters go to school in Borth and were really excited about the finding. I will take it to the school tomorrow morning and explain the story. Very exciting to have found and to give news to the children at your school. Many thanks Helen Hinks".

The boat was taken to a local school so other children could learn about it.

Officials say the plan is to relaunch the boat and send it back home.

CCSD officials say the students at St. Andrews's have had the experience of a lifetime as they have been involved with the engineering of the vessel, the science of navigating the oceans, collecting and analyzing navigational data to make predictions, using technology to communicate their findings, and learning about people and places beyond their region.

"The classroom walls have come down and a project such as this has opened up the world to these kids and has inspired them to think globally while connecting their daily learning experiences with the world," McMahon said.

The Carolina Dreamer is part the Educational Passages program ( The Maine Maritime Academy and NOAA work with Richard Baldwin, founder and director of Educational Passages, to provide students with opportunities to learn about navigation, weather patterns, oceanography, geography, maritime operations, and careers associated with sailing and working our great oceans.

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