On March 26 at 7:52am local time, film maker/explorer James Cameron entered the history books and became the first person to visit the ocean's deepest point alone. Just two weeks ago, we reported on his previous solo-dive record
of 26,791 feet (8,166m), which he handily smashed by plunging 35,756 feet (10,898m) into the Mariana Trench's Challenger Deep southwest of Guam. If the handful of contenders still vying for the record want to beat Cameron, they'll now have to excavate, because that's as deep as it gets.
Luxury yacht designers Ardoin Yacht Design and U-Boat Worx submarines have collaborated on the perfect companion for U-Boat's one, two or three person submarines. The Deep Blue catamaran can carry the submarine and 12 passengers to your diving spot at up to 30 knot speeds, then hydraulically lower and raise the submarine for launching and docking.
If the amount of personal submarine stories crossing our desks in recent years is any indication, recreational submarines are a burgeoning market. While most personal submarines, such as U-boat Worx’s offerings
, employ electric motors powered by a rechargeable battery pack, US-based company AquaVenture has taken a different approach to create what it says is the fastest personal submersible available. This is because the SeaBird doesn’t pack a propulsion system of its own, but is instead towed through the water by a surface vessel.
Smartphones can already be used to remotely control a variety of vehicles, including flying toy helicopters
, or even starting your car
. Now remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) can be added to the list with New England-based company Aquabotix rolling out its Hydroview vehicle. Equipped with LED lights and a HD video camera, the vehicle transmits a live video feed to an iOS- or Android-based smartphone, tablet, or a laptop and can be remotely operated by tilting the phone or tablet or via the laptop's touchpad.
U-Boat Worx has introduced a worldwide private charter program for its range of mini-submersibles. The charter fleet includes the three-seat C-Quester 3
and two person C-Explorer 2
, with the deep-diving, five-passenger C-Explorer 5
joining once it's completed late this year.
While NASA makes plans to send man to Mars
, there’s still so much we don’t know about our home planet – particularly when it comes to what lies beneath the ocean waves. Over the past few years we’ve seen the emergence of a number of submersibles that bring underwater exploration to a wider audience, such as the C-Quester
lines from Uboatworx and the EGO
semi-submarine boat. The latest to catch out eye is the ICTINEU 3, a three-seater (one pilot and two passengers) submersible that is designed to dive to a maximum depth of 1,200 meters (3,937 ft), which its makers claim will make it the world’s ninth deepest submersible.
Seventy percent of Mother Earth’s surface is covered in water, yet we know more about the moon than we do about our deepest oceans. In yet another ground-breaking initiative under Virgin’s multi-faceted “Branded Venture Capitalism”, Richard Branson intends to change all that with the Virgin Oceanic Five Dives project. The project is a series of ocean expeditions to the bottom of the five deepest trenches in the world, beginning with an attempt on the world record 35,911 foot dive to the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench – the deepest point on earth.
Given the deepwater working conditions endured by submarines, one of the last things most people would want to do is drill holes through their hulls. That’s exactly what is necessary, however, to allow power and data to flow to and from audio and other sensors mounted on the exterior of the vessels. Not only do these holes present a leakage risk, but they also diminish the hull’s structural integrity, and
the submarine must be hoisted into drydock in order for any new sensors to be added. Now, a doctoral student at New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) has come up with a method of using ultrasound to transmit power and data wirelessly through a sub’s thick metal hull – no holes required.
The Transatlantic Seafloor Research Challenge is not a real competition, but that hasn't stopped British designer Philip Pauley
from envisioning it, and the watercraft that would take part in it. If it were
to exist, the challenge would require underwater vehicles to cross from the UK to the US using whatever route their team members thought was the quickest, but they would have to stay in physical contact with the sea floor for as much of the distance as possible. Pauley's Pathfinder submarines would be equipped with wheels or tracks for trundling along the bottom on most of the crossing, but would also theoretically be able to propel themselves up through the water when necessary.
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.