Subs for Millionaires

By Juan Carlos Fanjul - bio | email
Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

VERO BEACH, FL (WFLX) - It's an experience unlike any other. Descending into the depths of the ocean -- seeing exotic marine life, hidden reefs -- in the comfort of your own private submarine with 360 views of the deep blue.

"You can see up, front, down, rear," described Patrick Lahey, president of Triton Submarines. "It's that awareness that makes this craft so unique."

The craft is the Triton 1000 submarine, a two-seater or three-seater submersible that can go down as deep as 3,300 feet. The Jetsons-like underwater vehicle is built by Vero Beach-based Triton Submarines.

At at least $2 million a piece, these babies are not for everyone. "Yeah, wealthy people, generally speaking," continued Lahey. "People who have enough disposable income to be able to afford a $2 million submarine."

Patrick Lahey, the President of Triton, says it took several years to develop the submarine specifically for millionaire yacht owners who have enough space to fit their underwater toy on board, but don't want to be bothered with the usual problems associated with deep dives."

"Because you are in a pressure resistant structure, you are not exposed to sea pressure, not concerned about temperature changes, decompression, mixing gases or any of that sort of stuff," Lahey explained.

The Triton is battery powered. It's enough juice hidden in these skids to keep you exploring down below for up to hours.

Electrical engineer Greg Kennedy said, "This is where we would monitor any oxygen bleeds."

Inside, there are enough gauges and controls to make an airline pilot jealous, but a touch screen computer and a joystick make traveling 'under seas' a pleasure. The air-conditioned acrylic sphere is 3.5 inches thick and makes you feel like you are swimming with the fish.

It usually takes two weeks for the owner of a sub to get acquainted with the functions of the submarine, and the process begins with the simulator.

Owners have to be certified and trained on how to get themselves out of tricky situations. "You can definitely hurt yourself if you don't know what you are doing," said Kennedy. "But that's why people run through a very thorough and extensive program."

While some may think this bubble could be claustrophobic, there are enough views to make you forget about it.

"The feeling is not like you are enclosed because you are in a transparent hull. You can see out, you can see around you, and it's bright. It's an incredible view," said Lahey.