Triton's latest submarine puts six people in a bubble, 3,300 feet under
Having conquered the deepest recesses of the ocean with its DSV Limiting Factor "deep-sea elevator," and delivered its first 24-seat DeepView tourist submarine in Vietnam, Triton has turned its attention back to the luxury sector with a new six-person sub designed to launch from the garage of your mega-yacht.
The 3300/6 is so named because it has achieved a certified depth rating of 3,300 ft (1,000 m), with the ability to carry six people in a surprisingly close facsimile of comfort. Triton achieves this with the use of "the world's largest spherical acrylic pressure hull," a giant transparent bubble 2.5 m (100 in) in diameter, at the center of the sub.
"Optically perfect" and free from distortion, this bubble offers panoramic views for the front five seats, and a great opportunity to see some backs of heads from the sixth, which is the least comfortable looking of the lot, and strangely enough where the pilot sits. Triton will happily fit it out with just four seats if you want to give everyone a bit more leg room. It's air conditioned – a must in submersibles, where the lack of fresh air tends to be very noticeable and lunch menus need to be well planned in advance of a group dive.
You hop in and out via an access hatch behind the bubble, using the pilot's seat as a stepladder to add a touch of insult to the injury of getting the worst seat in the house. Whatever, it's hard to feel too sorry for anyone whose job is driving people around in luxury submarines, and to even the score up a bit the pilot gets access to a very serious-looking battery of gauges and controls that'll look badass in selfies.
It might be a long way down but 3,300 feet is only about a third as deep as the wreck of the Titanic. Still, it's far further down than you can go with scuba gear. No less an authority than Wetsuit Warehouse tells us the record for the deepest scuba dive was set in 2014 at 1,009 feet, 4 inches (307.6 m). It took this gent just 12 minutes to get that far down, and 15 hours to come back up while safely decompressing. There will be no such issues in the pressurized bubble of the 3300/6, which carries enough air and battery for 10-plus-hour undersea excursions.
It's not very fast – not that you'd expect it to be. Two main thrusters and two vertran thrusters peak at 12.5 kW each, offering a relatively intuitive joystick and touchscreen piloting experience with a 3-knot (3.45-mph/5.5-km/h) top speed. So you will be overtaken by fish. On the other hand, you'll probably see more fish if you bumble along slowly than if you hoon around like some sort of underwater jet ski rider – unless they all hide behind rocks to get away from the six or more banks of 20,000-lumen LEDs you're blasting in their eyes.
This is a serious piece of kit, weighing some 11,000 kg (24,300 lb) and measuring 4.55 m (14.9 ft) long. But Triton points out that it can be launched and recovered using standard tender lift gear, making it the only submersible rated for 1,000-meter depths that can make such a claim. The one in the photos here appears to have a robot arm, too, which you can use to tickle divers before retreating to depths they're not allowed to reach.
Pricing is not public, and can be assumed to be well into the range of a really nice house that's got location, location AND location. As well as the mega-yacht types, there's also a case here for small-scale tourism operations, although you'd have to charge a pretty penny to keep the repayments up on a machine like this.
The video below doesn't feature the 3300/6, but it's a very interesting look into the lengths Triton has to go to in order to forge the 99.999-percent perfect spherical titanium pressure hull it uses for its unlimited-depth machines like the DSV Limiting Factor.
Source: Triton Submarines
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