Having a yacht tender designed to match your superyacht along with a hold full of water toys is mighty impressive, but owning a private or personal submarine is the current craze. That’s right, the HOVs (human-occupied vehicles) used by scientists, researchers and underwater videographers are now designed to fit aboard superyachts. And, thanks to years of technological advances, these personal submersibles, as they’re often called small submarines, offer a safe, comfortable and exciting way to view our world from a totally different perspective.
Image source: Perry Submersible
Personal Submersibles: From Ship to Sea
Oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, and while many cruising enthusiasts cross vast expanses of ocean every year, how many can say they’ve gone exploring beneath the waves?
Like military submarines, recreational submersibles are designed to operate under water. Unlike commercial submarines, small submarines require the support of a surface vessel – a yacht – to replenish their power and air. They are also smaller, have a shorter range, no living quarters and little, if any, practical use at the surface. What they do have is the ability to transport family, friends, even clients, to our planet’s amazing underwater world.
Just About Anything Goes
Today’s recreational private submarines accommodate from two to a dozen passengers and range in price from under $600,000 to over $75 million. Facts and features personal submarines have in common include: Distortion-free acrylic domes/spheres to ensure crystal clear views; typical cruising speeds of a little over 1 mile per hour and top speeds of up to 3.5 miles per hour; and eco-friendly electric propulsion systems that enable them to run anywhere from four to 18 hours per charge.
The depths pressurized mini submarines can reach varies from two or three hundred feet to thousands. For example, the five-person Antipodes descends to 1,000 feet and runs up to eight hours per charge; whereas, a two-person Triton dives to 660 feet and operates underwater for about six hours.
Triton submersibles, built in Vero Beach, Florida, are the go-to sea sub for professionals primarily because of their reliability and durability, making them especially popular among recreational owners. Two of Triton’s most popular personal submarine models are the Triton 3300/3 Submersible 006 and 007. They are 13+ feet long and 8 feet high, take advantage of the most advanced technologies and are spacious enough for three adults. The 007 dives as deep as 3,280 feet and has an industry-leading uptime of 12 hours. There’s no skimping on interiors either. Triton submersibles have hand-stitched leather seats or non-leather alternatives, if preferred, along with other creature comforts like LED lighting and AC and humidity-control.
U-Boat Worx Submersible
Another well-known personal submarine manufacturer is U-Boat Worx. Only five years separate the 2016 U-Boat Worx B.V. from the Dutch builder’s latest release –– the battery-powered C-Researcher 3. The 2016 U-Boat seats three and has a dive depth of 984 feet. The C-Researcher 3, winner of a Red Dot Product Design Award, has room for a pilot and two passengers and dives to 1,575 feet. It was built in Breda in southern Netherlands and launched November 2021.
Get Ready for Your Next Big Underwater Adventure
Superyacht owners searching for the next big adventure ought to dip their toes into the personal submersible market. Today’s newest superyacht toy is lightyears away from the utilitarian vessels used for research and exploration. The standards of luxury are on par with the yachts that house them, and are ideal for exploring our oceans and their inhabitants.
Here are nine companies that build recreational personal submariners: DeepFlight, EGO, Nautilus, Neyk, Perry, Seabreacher, SEAmagine, Triton and U-Boat Worx.