Ever thought what I need is a scuba diving boat. What you were probably thinking was a boat to dive from. Well we are pleased to be introducing Scubacraft the boat that dives.
Boats are great. For scuba folk they serve a valuable role as transport to dive sites. They offer shelter, storage and social space for divers. And sometimes they are even home for while, for the liveaboard aficionados among us.
But when a boat can dive to depths of 30m and travel at approx 50 mph, offering an entirely new underwater experience, is it still a boat?
Well apparently so, and not just in the world of James Bond. Launched in 2009, the Scubacraft is described as ‘a new generation of scuba diving boat’. It claims to be the first self-contained submersible that also operates as a surface watercraft. So far, so 007.
Designed and developed by some brainiacs from Wales, Scubacraft uses an internal-combustion engine on the surface to reach a dive site where it can descend to a maximum depth of about 100 feet, using battery powered electric thrusters underwater.
It’s not a pressurised submarine, which means that passengers must wear scuba gear before submersion. But no cranes are needed to lower the craft below water and no boat needed to carry it out to sea, which makes it significantly more versatile and less expensive than similarly sized submarines.
As a precaution against the bends, computerised “automatic depth control” ensures that the Scubacraft won’t descend or climb too quickly. The vessel uses patented technology that allows it to transform its buoyancy from a floating craft into a streamlined submersible.
In normal operation, Scubacraft is designed to have slight positive buoyancy at all times. If at any time the craft loses power it will slowly float back to the surface in a controlled manner, which is more than can be said for some Open Water students…
But for all the scuba cynics that question the point of such a vehicle when they can be skin to water at 30m anyway? Well here’s the best bit!
Scubacraft will be able to lose its positive buoyancy in a special “park” mode. This allows occupants on diving trips to depart from the craft and swim off to explore the reef or a do a wreck dive. Given that it can hold up to 6 people and has a range of 150 miles, this could make getting to those hard to reach dive spots, suddenly quicker and easier.
Naturally, such toys come at a price. But at launch of Scubacraft, it was at a relatively affordable $165k.
You may not expect to see one at the local dive store anytime soon… But in addition to dive trips, it offers commercial and environmental uses too. Not forgetting our old friend Mr Bond of course.
Naturally it has attracted a great deal of interest from the film industry due to the unique opportunities it presents in being able to track subjects on the surface and then enter underwater. And since publication was used in the James Bond film Spectre.
This article about Scubacraft, the scuba diving boat, was originally published ten years ago today. We thought we would celebrate this by getting it out there again. You can find out more at their website: www.scubacraft.com