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Personal Submarines
by Keith Just
Posted Tue, 02 Jul 2002

Normally I don't like to interact too much with the fishies and wet things in the sea, but there is something so inescapably cool about a personal submarine.

Perhaps I was influenced too heavily by James Bond and TinTin, but then again, judging by the advertisements on the 'net' I'm not the only one who digs the idea of cruisin' round in air-conditioned comfort like an amateur captain Nemo.

On the budget side of my submarine search I discovered design drawings were available, personal submarines for the hobbyist. It's a build-it-yourself deal, but for $75 000 you get all the tools to manufacture submarines for friends and family.

It seems that more than one hobbyist has had the same idea, though. I visited the Personal Submersibles Organization and found 10 or 15 individuals who have either completed their own submersibles, or are in the process of building them. One builder for example, is building a 15 meter long 4 man submarine which he wants to use for "private pleasure and treasure hunting."

That's all well and good, but I was looking for something more... something that simply oozed luxury and refinement, and I think I found it at US Submarines. These guys have a personal submarine for every taste. My personal favourite is the Phoenix 1000, for only $78 million you can cruise for 250 nautical miles at 18 knots. The sub is fully air-conditioned and is decked out in luxurious wood-panelled comfort.

If you couldn't be bothered to muster up a crew (and the $78 million), perhaps the Triton 650 at $650,000 would be more to your taste.

This little gem has a large bubble shaped dome to allow for a wide visibility range. It can carry two passengers to depths of up to 200m, and constitutes the perfect undersea runaround.

For the life of me I can't figure out why more people with money don't go submarine crazy. Surface at Clifton beach in mid-summer with one of these babies, and you're definitely gonna be king for the day.

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