Getting your hands on a submarine isn’t as easy as just heading down to your local sub dealership. Unless you’re willing to build your own, or can find a Russian Navy Captain willing to defect with one, you’re kind of out of luck. But not if a company called Raonhaje has anything to say about it! While calling their GEO a bona-fide ‘submarine’ might be a bit of a stretch (glorified glass-bottomed boat might be more appropriate) it provides a similar underwater exploration experience, without the risk of ever plummeting to the bottom of the Marianas Trench.
The GEO technically never leaves the surface of the water, but the cockpit is located below the floating hull so while cruising about you always have a lovely view of what lies below. It’s electric powered too, meaning it’s going to be quiet and eco-friendly (relatively speaking) and at full speed (~5 knots) you can expect to get about 4 hours of cruising time on a 6-10 hour charge. Take things a bit more leisurely and you can expect to squeeze about 8 hours out of its 12 x 8-volt batteries. The pricing isn’t readily available on the EGO’s website, which means I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these topped the $100,000 mark. But compare that to what the U.S. Navy has to pay for their subs, and it’s a downright bargain!
The central cabin sits below the water and has large windows on the front and both sides of the hull, giving slightly more than a 270-degree view of the ocean. The semi-submarine stays afloat when you are sat in this cabin because two floating hulls on either side keep the craft buoyant
To get to the cabin of the Penguin you climb down a small flight of stairs. On the left of the hull is the joystick controls and a small LCD screen. The screen is attached to a high-resolution camera that sits on the top hull and helps the driver to see where he’s going. Large windows on three sides let passengers see underwater. The middle table can be used for drinks, or you can buy extra cup holders that fix to the walls
The Penguin is powered by a propulsion system, run by electric thrusters on both sides of the vessel. The thrusters can be adjusted to balance and control the rolling and pitching. They can also be stored in the ‘thruster houses’ when not in use. The Penguin can travel at up to four knots, for a minimum of five hours
Floating hulls on both sides of the central cabin keep the Penguin buoyant. It has a trimaran structure and this puts the centre of gravity at the lower part of the cabin. The Penguin steering controls are in the central cabin, but it also has a remote control that lets owners steer the vessel when sat on top of the hulls.
Materials for this article were found here.