Channeling Nemo

 

Under the gaze of international media and several yacht owners, the first edition of Triton Submarines’ latest model, the 3300/3, slipped beneath the waters off Grand Bahama in December on its first sea trial. Weather and sea floor depth prevented the vessel from achieving its target depth of 3,300 feet, but according to Marc Deppe, Triton’s vice-president of sales and marketing, the trial was a success, both from a technical point of view, and from a commercial point of view.

“We sold one to a gentleman at the sea trial who is putting one on his megayacht,” says Deppe.

Triton, founded in 2007, is a subsidiary of Florida-based U.S. Submarines. U.S Submarines, in business since the early 1990s, builds submarines primarily for the tourist submersible industry. Triton builds vessels aimed at the superyacht market. Four of its five models are targeted directly at the yacht market – two designed for depths of 1,000 feet for either two or three passengers, and two designed for depths of 3,300 feet, also for two or three passengers. The fifth model, in development primarily for scientific research, exploration and high-end adventure tourism, will be capable of diving to the deepest spots on the planet.

The 3300/3’s transparent pressure hull is the largest (84-inch diameter) and thickest (6.5 inches) acrylic sphere ever manufactured for a submersible. The pressure hull is air-conditioned and maintains a one-atmosphere environment no matter the depth. It is ABS-classed and, unlike some yacht-based subs, the 3300 can be boarded in the water from a yacht or tender. Its retail price is about US$3 million. According to Deppe, three have been sold with the second expected to undergo sea trials in early summer.

Triton provides manpower and support to owners and yacht crew in the form of pilot training, consulting on launch and recovery systems design and outfitting for the host vessels and charter management. Pilot training takes place in three steps. Crew come to the company’s Vero Beach facility during final assembly of the sub to become familiar with the systems, construction and maintenance. Then they train in Triton’s submersible simulator. The final phase is open-water training.

The first 3300 will complete its trials in the next month or so, possibly off Hawaii from its owner’s yacht, says Deppe.

For more information, visit tritonsubs.com

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