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custom built subs


The SportSub is pretty special. Most other subs are complex and expensive underwater life support systems, that are difficult to pilot and maintain. We’ve designed our SportSub to have to have the perfect combination of streamlined technology to keep you safe – while also being easy to fly, simple to maintain, and well priced. No other sub in the world has these technologies that come standard.

Keep reading to find out some of the features that make the SportSub so unique.

800 kg
20 m
dive depth

Frequently asked questions


Our submarines carry 3 people.

A range of combined passenger weights up to 600 pounds or 272 kg.

The SportSub is similar in size to that of a small airplane. It will fit a combined passenger weight of ~600lbs or 272kg (about three adults).

Our subs are rated for 130 feet (40 meters).

The length of the dive is dependent on depth and air supply, with a maximum dive time of about 2 hours.

swim entry system

Unlike a closed hatch system, SportSub passengers remain a part of the water environment. They swim through an entrance in the back of the sub and emerge in a comfortable breathable air pocket within the cockpit. Safely tucked inside the sub, each explorer has unobstructed views in all directions, including straight down. The dashboard and control panel are also above the water level and easily accessible. This system is unique and offers a surprising number of advantages over traditional lock-out systems. Once you try this awesome ambient pressure experience, you'll understand the beauty of the unique design!

This system is unique and offers a surprising number of advantages over traditional lock-out systems. Once you try this awesome ambient pressure experience, you'll understand the beauty of the unique design!

Find out some of the reasons here...


The SportSub was designed and is built with safety as the number one priority. Safety systems include:

  • Backup up air system
  • Manual cockpit air system
  • Loss of power surface system
  • Lead drop weights
  • Removable air tank with 3 breathing regulators
  • Buoyancy control override and swim exit

The SportSub has many safety features and backup systems. If the operator runs out of air or has an air supply malfunction there is a complete redundant air supply system that can be engaged with the simple turn of a valve in the cockpit. Even if all air supplies are exhausted the SportSub can surface on electrically powered thrusters alone. If electrical energy is depleted, pressurized air can be added manually to cause a controlled ascent. There are two separate ballast tanks, in addition to the cockpit, where air can be added manually to increase the buoyancy. In the unthinkable event that electrical systems and both air supply systems fail simultaneously it is still possible to cause the SportSub to surface by manually dropping lead ballast bars. If all else fails, and a swimming ascent is required, a complete SCUBA breathing system is supplied for each occupant. These can be removed from the sub and carried while swimming to the surface.

Safety is a major consideration in every aspect of the SportSub design. Starting with a hull that isn’t required to contain enormous pressure makes this task a lot easier. No submersible is safe unless it is operated within its design limits by well trained pilots, but the ambient pressure principle is somewhat more forgiving of errors. The two principal safety advantages of the SportSub design over a One Atmosphere design are; the hull can never be crushed by external water pressure, and, occupants can readily escape from the SportSub by swimming out, then up to the surface.

Entry and exit from the SportSub is accomplished by swimming through the lower aft opening that remains open throughout the dive. Having to enter the sub by swimming into the cockpit is a nice way to help prevent passengers from taking a ride if they aren’t comfortable under water. This gives the operator some confidence that passengers will be capable of handling a worst case emergency situation.

SportSub controls

Joystick Handling:

The SportSub has to maneuver in two dimensions while on the surface, and in three dimensions while submerged. It moves forward, backward, up, down, and can even hover and turn on the spot, a lot like the maneuverability of a helicopter.

All maneuvering is accomplished with only two thrusters, built into the dive planes. The thrusters are located so that their center of thrust is at the same height on the hull as its center of drag, so there is no tendency to nose up or down with changes in thrust. The hull design also ensures that the dive plane position is below the water line when the SportSub is high on the surface.

Each of the two horizontal thruster’s speed is continuously variable from full forward to full reverse thrust with a single joystick control.

Auto-Hover Control:

The Auto Hover System works by taking pressure transducer readings, inputting them into our computer controlled depth system to automatically control the depth control motors.

The Auto Depth Control system uses three fixed position thrusters. All three depth control thrusters are computer controlled by the depth control system. There are two available modes of operation:
• Manual Mode
• Auto Hover Mode (Includes Auto Ascent/Descent Rate Control)

With Auto Depth Control engaged, whenever the vertical thrusters are not being operated manually, the computer takes control of the thrusters and uses them to hold the sub at its current depth. When the pilot wants to change depth, the thumb switch is used to ascend or descend. Once you have reached the depth you want, the pilot releases the thumb switch, and the computer again takes over and will maintain the new depth. Auto Rate Control is operational in this mode. The Auto Rate Control function or 'automatic ascent rate control and descent rate control', prevents the sub from ascending or descending too quickly (faster than 1 foot per second). This is a significant safety feature.

Auto-Buoyancy Control:

No – All of our subs come with an Auto Buoyancy Control that regulates your buoyancy.

This system is the true key to the success of the SportSub design. Without automatic buoyancy control, the pilot of an ambient pressure submersible would be too busy adjusting buoyancy to safely navigate and enjoy the dive experience. Dangerously fast descents and ascents could occur if the pilot ever lost control. The SportSub’s automatic buoyancy control system keeps buoyancy constant throughout a dive, regardless of depth.

The pilot initially sets neutral buoyancy manually, since it is different with each set of passengers because they have a different combined weight. Once neutral buoyancy is set, the system is switched to automatic and the electronic system takes over. As it senses compression, while the sub is descending, it adds air to the cockpit to maintain volume. When the sub is ascending it allows air to blow out of the cockpit rather than expand in volume. By maintaining a constant air pocket volume in the cockpit the sub’s buoyancy remains constant as pressure varies.

SportSubs can be configured to ride high on the surface, with the entire cockpit and upper hull above water, submerged at neutral buoyancy, or landed solidly on the bottom with enough weight to keep them there while the occupants exit for an extra-vehicular excursion. All of this can be accomplished with a range of combined passenger weights up to 600 pounds in the three-seat models.

Buoyancy adjustment is accomplished by flooding or blowing water ballast within three separate ballast tanks. Flood valves in the cockpit allow air to escape out the tops of each ballast tank while water floods in through their open bottoms. Blowing ballast reverses this procedure, requiring the flood valves to be closed while blow valves are opened to allow pressurized air to bubble into the tanks, rising to the top and forcing water out the open bottom. The forward ballast tank is the hollow, bottomless nose. The entire tail section, surrounding the main air supply tanks, is the aft ballast tank, and the cockpit itself is the third tank.

launch & recovery

1750lb. dry (800kg)

Yes, our submarines are standard equipped with two stainless lifting eyes on the roof.

There are many ways to launch and recover our subs but the common ways are trailer, boat or boat lift.

Yes, we have many satisfied yacht owners who have our subs on their yachts.
Yes, we can supply you a specially built trailer or we can give you directions for building your own.

cost & maintenance

An entry level SportSub starts at $93,000 USD.

You can find a complete list of standard features as well as additional features here.

Yes, please contact us for warranty information.
Other than the air tanks needing to be refilled and the batteries recharged, there is no cost.
Maintenance cost will be dictated by proper daily maintenance and usage.

Yes, our subs are easy to maintain and anyone with basic mechanical knowledge can perform maintenance.

Yes, through our service staff, or we can provide maintenance/service material for a local mechanic or yacht engineer.

No, because our submarines use ambient pressure hulls, there is no requirement for ABS or other expensive certification.


A SportSub is fairly easy to operate, and we offer comprehensive training in the operation of our subs.

Pilots must be certified open water divers to operate our submarines.

Yes we do, please see our pricing page for more information.


Yes, insurance is available through Offshore Risk Management (Lloyd’s of London) LINK

Yes, we can ship your SportSub anywhere in the world by either ocean or air freight

Every country has it’s own regulations and you will need to check with your local authorities

When making inquiries, refer to the SportSub as an ‘autonomous diving bell’ or ‘scuba dive puller’

Yes, we have sold subs to people in almost every country in the world

Yes, we have a complete support system including daily, monthly, and annual checks and maintenance

Yes, we can provide dive site and operational inspections and recommendations.

FAQ – SportSubs

Advantages of Swim Entry System

One major advantage to the SportSub design is the intensity of the experience. Unlike a closed sub experience, which is a lot like sitting in a chair watching a monitor about the underwater world, a SportSub experience is more like entering an alien world. Passengers describe it like a trip to a foreign planet. You also feel the pressure and hear the sub’s automatic buoyancy compensation system working so you feel more in tune with your environment.

More positive reasons include:

01. safety

The greatest advantage of swim-entry is safety. The simple rear opening can never get stuck or jammed shut, trapping occupants inside. Occupants can readily escape from the SportSub by swimming out.

Since the SportSub works in a balanced pressure system, the hull isn’t required to contain enormous pressure and can never be crushed by external water pressure. It is also immune to leaking. If a hatch in at the top of the cockpit in a closed system were to leak, all the air would escape and buoyancy would be lost. The SportSub design eliminates this problem.

A third safety feature of the swimming entry is that operators and occupants are more confident. Having to enter the sub by swimming into the cockpit is a nice way to help prevent passengers from taking a ride if they aren’t comfortable under water. This gives the operator more confidence that passengers will be capable of handling a ‘worst case’ emergency situation. The system also makes underwater adventures more available to passengers who might otherwise feel uncomfortable in an enclosed space.

02. usability

The SportSub is the “ultralight” of submarines. In fact the ultralight aircraft revolution of the 1980s was part of the inspiration for its design. The intention was to develop a sub that could be safely and easily operated and maintained by any competent individual anywhere in the world.

Easy Exit
The ambient pressure principle also allows easy exiting of the sub without using a lockout chamber. Occupants are always equalized to the surrounding water pressure.

03. weight & handling

The weight of any dry submersible is dictated by its internal air volume. The weight of a sub must always be exactly equal to its buoyancy, most of which comes from the air inside it. If the internal air volume can be reduced, the weight can be reduced. The SportSub design provides a very small internal air chamber because the occupants are half submerged in water. This is not possible with a One Atmosphere design so they are inevitably heavier.

Added weight increases the required strength of all handling equipment. This in turn increases the weight and cost of the handling equipment. If the sub had twice the internal air volume it would weigh about one thousand pounds more. If it did weigh one thousand pounds more, the weight of a davit to launch and recover it from a boat deck may also weigh a thousand pounds more. The added weight carried by the boat would probably double. What this means is that a significantly larger boat would be required to carry, launch, and recover the sub if it weighed more. This fact is particularly critical when a boat is designed specifically to carry a sub and passengers to a dive site in a tourist operation. It also allows owners of smaller boats to enjoy the advantages of taking their own submersible wherever they go.

04. lower cost

Another benefit of the open hatch approach is cost. Our hatch solution is free! A good quality sealed submarine hatch could easily cost as much as an entire SportSub.

Another primary objective of the SportSub design is to keep the cost low enough for personal recreational use and for profitable tourist ride operations. To meet this objective, consideration was given not only to the initial purchase price but also to the cost of ongoing maintenance as well as auxiliary equipment required for operation, including launch and recovery. Closed One Atmosphere designs do not meet any of these objectives for the reasons explained previously. They are too heavy, require specialized air supply equipment and maintenance, and they cost many times more to manufacture due to their complexity. Wet Sub designs do meet the cost objectives but are restricted to use by qualified SCUBA divers and therefore do not provide the ability to offer rides to friends and/or paying passengers. A Wet Sub also doesn’t allow occupants to talk normally with each other and share the dive experience.

05. natural cooling

Jumping in a typical pressure vessel sub can be a little like taking a green house out for a spin. The light refracts through the windows and heats up the cockpit and can get very hot and uncomfortable. The SportSub design counters this because you can easily cool off with the surrounding water. Simple and effective.

06. maintenance

In additional to cost, the absence of stress on the hull also reduces its complexity and overhead. A traditional One Atmosphere submersible is designed according to rules dictated by an association such as the American Bureau of Shipping. These rules require that every component be marked and catalogued and that only licensed technicians do the maintenance. They also require that every sub be tested and inspected annually by a representative of their organization. All of these activities add cost and complexity and are time consuming. The SportSub is designed to be easy to operate, support, and maintain, using only the type of systems required to support SCUBA activities. This equipment is readily available worldwide and is a fixture on many larger boats and yachts where diving is a recreational or commercial activity.

The SportSub design using the Ambient Pressure principle provides the ideal solution for recreational submersibles and certain commercial operations. The diving experience is superior, maintenance is simple, the cost is minimal, handling is easy, and operation is practical. These subs can be enjoyed anywhere in the world, including tropical islands or aboard yachts or commercial vessels.

standard features






Exterior views

cockpit view