While the world of underwater exploration is still considered a quiet one there are those who still strive to push the envelope and go further, deeper and longer than others have.
Mans fascination with going underwater in vessels is nothing new. Jules Verne books were rich in telling tales of undersea adventure. One craft - The Nautilus, being a hallmark.
Outside of the state-sponsored navies is the civilian world of underwater craft. It's a fledgling one requiring hefty investment.
Made up of wealthy entrepreneurs and mavericks they contribute a great deal to this niche activity.
Listed below is an example of one of the craft made by an underwater pioneer using cutting-edge technology.
The Mantis Submersible
The Mantis Submersible was made famous in the James Bond film 'For your eyes only'
Equipped with two manipulator arms it made an impression on audiences.
Deep Flight 1
The above craft is named 'Deep Flight I' and was built around 1995.
Over a decade later the world of underwater adventuring has moved further into developing and refining the art of underwater piloting of these craft. It is notable for being the fastest craft of it's class.
Crew: One person, prone position
Dimensions: 13 ft. long, 8 ft. wide, 3 ft. high
Construction: Glass/Epoxy composite (main structure)
Deep Flight 2
Deep flight 2 is still in the development stage and is awaiting funding to move into the prototype stage.
Crew: One person, two person, prone position
Life Support: 96 Hours
Deep Flight Challenger
A more up-to-date underwater craft. It's slow speed inhibits it, but it's tough construction and range make up for it.
Capable of 37,000 feet its record breaking attempt is currently in limbo as it's pilot died in a plane accident.
Life support: 24 hours
Dimensions: Length 17 ft 8 inches, Width 12 ft 11 inches, Height 5 ft, 7 inches
Speed: Cruise – 2.2 knots; Max – 3 knots
Deep Flight Super Falcon
The latest underwater craft, still in the prototype stages, little is known about it so far.
Although it requires scuba equipment to breath independently the pilot of this craft can reach 50 mph at the surface then descend to a dive site or area. Uniquely for all underwater craft reviewed so far, it requires no boat to carry it and lower it below sea level. It can independently travel for miles prior to descending. Making it a versatile craft.
It is in commercial production, making the transition from project-built to made-to-order
Max Power: 160 hp
Dimensions: Length 4.5 metres. Width 2.1 metres. Height 1.8 metres
Speed: (Surface) Cruise - 18 knots Max – 45 knots
Ascent/Descent Rate: 350 feet/second at +/- 45 degrees
Propulsion: Prop-driven Environmentally sealed DOHC 4-stroke engine (surface).
Estimated cost: Undisclosed but believed to be in excess of $160,000.