Luxury yachts? Sure, anyone with money knows the appeal of these hulking beauties, but the ultimate attention-grabbing toy for the super wealthy lies beneath the water: private submarines are the wave of the future.
“It’s enormously exciting that the oceans can now be explored and we have the vehicles to do that,” Branson told AFPNews, saying he hopes to find “a species that hasn’t been discovered” or sunken treasures during a planned trip to the Puerto Rico Trench, the ocean’s deepest point in the Atlantic.
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Cameron recently became the third person to visit the Mariana Trench, diving to depths greater than 36,000 feet in a one-seat submarine during a privately-funded exploration.
Only a lucky few, less than a dozen owners worldwide, pilot their own submarines, co-founder of submarine manufacturer SEAmagine, Charles Kohnen, told AFP. “Yachts weren’t big enough to hold submarines” less than two decades ago,Kohnen says, when the company was founded. “The evolution we’ve seen over the last five, seven years is interest from the private sector and it’s directly related to the yachts, the mega-yacht industry.”
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SEAmagine’s submarines go for $1-3 million. For $78 million you can purchase the granddaddy of them all from U.S. Submarines, the developer of the “world’s first personal luxury submarines.” The Phoenix, the “ultimate personal transportation device” exists only in design, but would be capable of crossing an entire ocean at 16 knots, diving to escape rough waters during storms, and at a formidable 213 feet, have enough room to house its own mini-sub.
Once the personal luxury sub finds a buyer and a home, it will constitute the single largest private undersea vehicle in history.