EGO semi-submarine boat offers underwater exploring for dummies
By Darren Quick
February 22, 2011
Most of the vehicles designed for intimate trips beneath the ocean waves, such as Uboatworx's line of personal submarines, are pretty complicated affairs, meaning you'll have to put in some study time to get a grip on the controls or rely on the services of a trained captain to get you around – which can kind of defeat the whole intimate aspect of the trip. In an effort to give anyone the opportunity to swim with the fishes without getting their feet wet, Korean-based company Raonhaje has developed an electric-powered craft that is a little bit submarine and a little bit regular boat.
Not unlike the Adventure-Doo, the EGO is essentially a boat that has been flipped upside down. Instead of a cabin above the waterline, the EGO features a two-person cabin located between two floating hulls that sits below the waterline and is entered via a trapdoor and ladder on the EGO's topside. Because the craft can't actually dive, Raonhaje have been able to design the EGO so it is simple enough for just about anyone to operate. Instead of a throttle lever, the EGO's speed is controlled via a foot pedal, while forward or backward motion is set by the flick of a switch.
Raonhaje stresses that the EGO is not a glass bottom boat, but rather a "semi-submarine boat" that allows its passengers to enjoy undersea exploration along with the leisure activities of a boat, such as fishing or sunbathing. Because the EGO isn't airtight there's no need to keep one eye on the oxygen supply as you cruise around, but you will need to keep an eye on the battery gauge to ensure you don't end up running out of juice.
The EGO can run at a top speed of five knots (5.7 mph / 9.2 km/h) for four hours or at cruising speed for eight hours and takes from six to nine hours to completely recharge. Its windows are made from an acrylic material mainly used in aquariums that is 200 times stronger than the same thickness of glass and offers 92 percent light transmission. Because the EGO isn't coated with anti-fouling paint, Raonhaje recommends the craft should be taken out of the water at least once a week for cleaning.
Since the controls are in the cabin below the waterline, the EGO comes with an LCD monitor connected to a camera placed on the upper part of the cabin to provide a live image of happenings on top of the water. The EGO also comes with a digital depth sounder that provides an audio warning when the craft is entering a shallow area, a battery monitoring system and a VHF marine radio.
Aimed primarily at marine resorts, Raonhaje offers the EGO in seven colors with pricing depending on the number of EGOs ordered. Delivery time is around three to four months. Raonhaje is also working on a four-seater version.
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