1. How safe is the submarine?
Last year, approximately 2 million passengers took dives aboard the world's commercial tourist submarine fleet, generally to depths of 50-100 meters. In the 14 year operating history of the industry there has never been a single serious injury or fatality to any passenger. The industry has a perfect safety record and so, civil submarines are statistically the safest form of transportation in the world today.
All of U.S. Submarines' vessels are classed +A1 Manned Submersible by the American Bureau of Shipping. Like FAA certification of aircraft, the ABS classification procedure is arduous, but results in unsurpassed safety. And, U.S. Submarines management team has experience with over 65 submarines and submersibles, including all of the diesel electric civil submarines built worldwide in the last 15 years.
2. What about crew training?
U.S. Submarines will provide crew training for the owner and/or his selected crew. Ideally, we like to have the crew participate in the last several weeks of assembly and trials of the submarine so that they can get intimate, hands on experience with the installation, operation and maintenance of critical systems. The crew will then have additional pilot and maintenance training during sea trials.
We can also provide experienced submarine pilots and maintenance technicians for an owner.
3. Is a license required to operate the submarine?
A private owner does not need a license to operate the submarine for leisure purposes but our in-house training program must be satisfactorily completed by the operator. In addition, if the submarine will be carrying passengers for hire in U.S. waters, then the crew must meet U.S. Coast Guard manning requirements. This means that the Captain is required to have a U.S.C.G. Master's license for a surface vessel of equivalent tonnage (500 tons in the case of the Seattle 1000) and will have to complete our training course which includes 40 hours of pilot in command time and 40 dives and surfaces and then take a U.S.C.G. examination based on our manuals. The successful applicant will then have a submarine endorsement added to their license.
4. How comfortable is it inside the submarine? Are there any changes in cabin pressure?
The inside of one of our luxury submarines is air-conditioned and temperature controlled. Regardless of the operating depth of the submarine, the interior of the passenger cabin remains at surface pressure, which is one atmosphere. As a result, there are none of the pressure induced physiological effects experienced by SCUBA divers. A guest aboard a submarine can stay comfortably submerged for as long as desired, and the submarine can dive or surface at any rate.
The interior of the submarine is very luxurious with rich fabrics, beautiful woods and replete with the finest leathers. An owner can choose one of our interiors or work with an interior designer of their choice.
5. How does the air stay fresh inside the sub?
The submarine has a sophisticated central air conditioning and life support system. Basically, oxygen stored in high-pressure bottles outside the pressure hull is injected into the passenger cabin in order to maintain a level of 21% by volume. The carbon dioxide respired during breathing is scrubbed out of the air by a special granular chemical contained in the main scrubbing system. The air is also dehumidified and heated or cooled as necessary. The Seattle 1000 carries enough oxygen to remain submerged for over three weeks without surfacing.
6. How flexible are the designs in terms of accommodation plans?
Original interiors typically call for 5 staterooms and spacious common areas. However, the interior accommodation can be changed to meet the owners needs. Also the length of the pressure hull can be changed to provide more space if necessary.
7. How deep can the submarine dive?
The Luxury Submarines are designed to dive to 305 meters, or 1000 feet. This is an optimum compromise that allows exploration at significant depth but also allows us to have very large viewports for exceptional visibility. If necessary, a small deep submersible could be carried, allowing a small group of 2-3 people to board the deep submersible through a transfer lock and dive to depths of up to 3000 meters or more.
8. What is the difference between surface and submerged travel?
While surfaced, the submarine acts very much like a yacht, although the submarine is heavier and has a lower profile. Cruising speed for the submarines is approximately 14 knots, and the submarine has transatlantic range allowing the owner to travel virtually anywhere. When the submarine is surfaced the captain controls the vessel from inside the acrylic cabin in the superstructure or deckhouse. From here, he has an excellent view and access to all the necessary instrumentation for control and navigation, including radar, GPS, etc.
When it is time to dive the captain shuts down the diesel engines and switches to battery power. He then goes below to the pilot's compartment located in the bow of the submarine forward of the main lounge. From here he has an excellent view of the underwater environment through an immense forward viewport.
9. What advantages would there be to purchasing a Seattle 1000.
The owners of the submarine would have, if desired, international notoriety for becoming the owners of the world's first large personal luxury submarine. Few subjects have captured the imagination of the public like personal luxury submarines. But beyond that, the owners of a U.S. Submarine would have the opportunity to explore areas that no human has ever seen before, from the brightness and splendor of tropical coral reefs to the silent depths of the sea at 1000 feet, a new frontier awaits. The sheer impact of the experience of cruising smoothly below the waves defies description.
10. What are the terms of purchase?
Initially, the owners would retain us to modify the design and develop the interior to meet their specific requirements. Subsequently we would sign a manufacturing contract that would require a 10% initial payment followed by four 20% payments made at easily verifiable milestones in the construction process with the final 10% on delivery. The price of the Seattle 1000 is $19.7 million. Construction time would be 24 months.
11. What type of people buy luxury submarines?
Interested buyers tend to share one trait, they are all wealthy. We group them in to three additional categories.
The most interesting are the avid SCUBA divers and ocean aficionados who are very interested in the subsea world and view a luxury submarine as a vehicle for exploration.
With over 2300 megayachts operational around the world, some costing in excess of $150 million, the stakes in the game of one upmanship are rising. Some yacht owners like the idea of having a larger and more unique toy.
The luxury submarine also attracts individuals who have never owned a yacht, but are fascinated with the idea of traveling beneath the surface of the world's oceans.
At U.S. Submarines we deal with all types of potential buyers, from wealthy business owners, to world leaders and hi-tech mega-millionaires. However, virtually all insist on confidentiality.