With technological advancements and an ever growing interest in exploration, it’s an exciting time to be in the world of yachting. Pushing the boundaries of maritime travel are the industry’s innovators, those whose ambitions are, and will continue to, shape a new era. One of those key player is SubMerge, a consultancy at the forefront of private leisure submersible expeditions. A pioneer in their field, SubMerge has a strong focus on safety standards and an impressive safety record that goes hand in hand with the service that they offer their clients, from specialised crew training and the integration of submersible storage areas on yachts and shadow boats, to logistical planning. With the remarkable growth that the submersible industry is experiencing, SubMerge’s contribution can’t, and shouldn’t be, ignored.
The Rise of Expedition Crafts and High-Latitude Expeditions
“The ocean floor is only 20% mapped, the richness and biodiversity that may possibly be down there is, right now, beyond our knowledge and understanding.” Tomer Ketter, Subsea Mapping Lead, SubMerge
In an age when so little of the earth’s surface is left uncharted and the depths of the ocean are considered the final frontier, travellers are having to find new ways to satiate their appetite for adventure, and to travel further to find those unique, ultimate experiences. The rise of super yachts, and shadow boats, means these remote and rugged destinations can be discovered not only in ultimate comfort but in more versatile ways, with submersibles becoming an increasingly prevalent one of them. Advancing technology has aided this phenomenon; ships have less environmental impact passing the strict protocols in place at locations such as popular high-latitude destinations like the Arctic and Antarctica. Submersibles themselves have become more robust, more compact and easier to transport, with better life support systems, communications and navigation. All this makes expeditious locations, and the means to explore them, more easily accessible than ever before.
The Submersible Industry’s Growth Trajectory
“The field of deep submarines has become quite popular which is amazing because that is the way we’ll be able to discover this last frontier.” Ofer Ketter, Expedition Management, SubMerge
Projected to grow 8.3% between 2023 and 2030 (Sightseeing Submersible Market, Global Outlook and Forecast 2023-2028, Reliable Research Reports), the boom in the submersible industry is being driven by the growth of elite tourism and the desire for unique experiences. Once used simply as research vessels, submersibles are going mainstream, increasingly used by the entertainment industry for underwater cinematography, as a high-end attraction for cruise lines, hotels and resorts and as a must have accessory for yacht owners. As the popularity of submersibles and submersible tourism grows, so does the industry competition, pushing the limits of innovation and ambition as emerging players, like SubMerge, vie to offer unique solutions and experiences.
Integration of Submersible Storage Areas in Yachts
“Submarines are not sports cars, submarines are very, very technical operations.” Ofer Ketter
Integrating a submersible onto a yacht or shadow boat comes with its own challenges, best remedied with custom designed solutions like those offered by SubMerge. Easiest is collaborating with boat owners and naval architects to integrate a submersible and its operational kit onto a new yacht, pre-production, but there is a step by step process for ready built superyachts too. Finding the best place to store the sub, and all the technical aspects around it, while ensuring it works structurally, reinforcing where necessary and keeping the hydrodynamics at an optimum levels are major considerations and ones that take time and analysis. Custom designed systems are a must for each individual vessel, including the hydraulic or mechanical deployment and retrieval, along with security features and auxiliary systems and aesthetic integration in the yacht’s overall design.
Specialized Crew Training for Submersible Operations
“A lot of the private owners buy the submersible with a dream. Unfortunately, there is a big gap between buying a submersible and really going through that amazing experience that everybody’s looking for…” Schmulik Blum, Submersible Management, SubMerge
Having properly trained crew members to operate and maintain the submersible has numerous benefits; ensuring safe and efficient operations, the ability to identity and address potential issues, reducing risks and carrying out basic maintenance are just a few. Proficient handling means better deployment and retrieval, which will in turn minimises damage to the sub and the mothership. Even more essential is the custom design and implementation of robust rescue protocols, which SubMerge considers one of their core areas of specialization, which includes crew training and even advanced ROV technology that allows situations to be handled quickly and efficiently.
Tailored training program and hands on training designed around the specific yacht and submersible, using simulators and onboard drills ensures crew proficiency and a team who will not only be effective in emergencies, but will inspire comfort, confidence and enjoyment in their guests.
Stellar Safety Record
“We’re changing how submersible expeditions are being done. We provide cutting edge technology at the highest level to really change the experience of our clients and explorers.” Tomer Ketter
When it comes to safety, SubMerge can really put their money where their mouth is; the team boast an impeccable safety record with no incidents or accidents in over 20 years of operating submersibles. Ongoing safety training and certification forms the backbone of this, along with adherence to the industry leading safety benchmarks, such as those set in the guidelines by the International Marine Contractors Association. Regular safety audits and assessments are set to ensure compliance along with maintenance and inspection protocols that include regular thorough inspections of pressure vessels, and hull integrity checks to ensure structural soundness, are just a few. SubMerge also stay at the very forefront of emerging safety trends, continuously collaborating with industry experts and academic institutions.
How to Get Started
“The deepest reaches of the ocean remain the final frontier here on earth, a place that calls to those with adventurous souls to come and uncover its mysteries.”
Unfortunately it’s not as simple as buying a submersible and heading out into the undiscovered depths to explore – if it was, it wouldn’t be such an exclusive and exciting sector! With the technology, logistics, operations and planning being so complex, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly where to begin your journey into this new world but there is, in fact, plenty of help out there.
Begin with research – the different types of subs available, the regions and locations you wish to dive, the key information that is involved in underwater expeditions, like technical aspects, safety protocols and regulations. You can even attend conferences or workshops that relate to marine exploration and submersibles to keep up to date with the latest advancements and to take the opportunity to speak to experts.
Next, seek professional guidance from experts at reputable submersible operators and don’t hesitate to pick their brains. Consultants like SubMerge will be able to guide you through the vast array of decision points to simplify and streamline the process, from pre-purchase to investing in the right equipment to shipboard integration and beyond.
Once you’re submersible is in place, you could consider partnering with marine research institutions or conservation organisations, which can provide meaningful opportunities to contribute to scientific research and ocean conservation efforts during your explorations.
While it’s getting easier to explore the unexplorable, it is still necessary to have an experienced crew and team with a one of a kind skill set to make it happen. With a team who offers this skill set along with a commitment to safety standards, engineering excellence and a clean safety record, it’s easy to see why SubMerge are industry leaders who, alongside other key industry players, are set to shape the future of exploration and adventures at sea. It is these pioneers, who spend their time pushing the limits, who ensure that submersibles remain a symbol of luxury, safety and boundless discovery for yacht enthusiasts worldwide.