Charter guests are becoming more adventurous. First, they headed off to destinations such as Antarctica and Raja Ampat on ever-more remote expeditions. Now, these intrepid travellers want to explore beneath the waves, too. If you think icebergs are fascinating from a superyacht, seeing them from a submarine gives a whole new perspective.
The submersibles industry offers a collection of vehicles more than worthy of this discerning audience. ‘Our subs are spacious, air-conditioned and exceptionally comfortable, with incredible viewing,’ says L Bruce Jones, CEO of Triton Submarines.
A quick sweep of current models backs this up. Dutch builder U-Boat Worx includes Bluetooth sound systems and a cold storage box on its subs, while SEAmagine’s spacious six-person Aurora 6 has rotating seats for optimum viewing. A collaboration between Triton and Aston Martin has taken things one step further, with hand-stitched leather interiors and customisation options.
The confined reputation subs might once have had is now well and truly out of date.
‘There is always talk beforehand about claustrophobia,’ says Rob McCallum, Expedition Leader of Five Deeps, the world’s first manned expedition to the deepest point in each of the five oceans. ‘Most submersibles that superyachts operate have acrylic hulls, though. This has a similar refractive index to seawater, so it effectively disappears when you immerse it.’ This puts you at one with the view.
Charles Kohnen, president of SEAmagine, agrees. ‘People’s first reaction is to reach out their hands and try to find where the invisible force field is that holds back the water all around them,’ he says.
Sharks to shipwrecks
From close encounters with sea creatures to explorations of sunken wrecks, die-hard divers have an almost limitless array of adventures at their fingertips. With 95 percent of the sea floor unexplored, pretty much every dive is a voyage of discovery.
‘We’ve done great shipwreck dives in Australia, finding lobsters hiding in the cracks, large schools of fish flying over the wreck and one or two sharks patrolling the area,’ says Kohnen. ‘Another time we had a great submarine dive following a 20m whale shark. We stayed for an hour filming it.’
Once guests have caught the sub bug, many want to take things a step further. ‘People usually start off using them for recreation – particularly those who can’t scuba dive,’ says McCallum. ‘But they then want to go deeper and further and understand more about what they’re seeing.’
Take ALUCIA, a 55.8m superyacht. Owned by American billionaire Ray Dalio, the yacht, which has two submersibles, has pushed the boundaries in terms of ocean preservation, and hosted Sir David Attenborough as he embarked on a trip to the depths of the ocean for hit TV documentary Blue Planet II.
‘It’s hard to motivate someone toward environmental stewardship unless they are familiar with the challenges we face,’ says Jones. ‘Diving in a submarine is the most effective way to increase appreciation of the oceans.’
The best of both worlds
Thankfully, scientific research doesn’t come at the cost of luxury. On the 68.2m RAGNAR, an ice-breaking superyacht available for charter in remote regions, guests can head for a sauna and a steam or stretch their legs in the gym after an afternoon exploring the big deep in the on-board sub.
For years, superyachts have had helicopters, seaplanes with folding wings and other extraordinary assets on board to extend the experiences it is possible to have off the yachts. Having conquered the aerial capabilities, submarines are the inevitable next step for the intrepid owner and guest looking to explore the marine world.
Four submersibles you can own
Three-person. Depth: 500m
With sub expert Triton at the helm, and designed in collaboration with Aston Martin, you know you’ve pretty much won in the style stakes.
Two-person. Depth: 300m
This light, compact sub is the ideal choice for those who fancy trying their hand at piloting, with simple controls and room for a pilot and one passenger.
Four-person. Depth: 100m
With speeds of up to 6kn, this sporty sub is the fastest on the market. Operated with a joystick, it can also perform rolls, loops and steep turns.
Six-person. Depth: 1,000m
When you’re exploring a whole new world, you want to bring the family along. This six-seater lets you do just that, complete with comfortable lounge chairs.
To find out more about Burgess’ yachts for charter with submersibles, please contact your Burgess broker. Alternatively, get in touch with one of our offices directly: London, Monaco, New York, Miami, Singapore or all other locations.