About six weeks ago, a company called Spymaster introduced us to a product called the M1 Personal Transporter. It was pretty pointless in a lot of ways but it demanded our attention because it was new and shiny and cool – and as December gets underway, that same company has come up with another equally compelling way for us to spend our money…
The Mini-Submarine is a compact ride-on craft that enables you to go down to depths of up to 12 metres. Weighing less than 100kg, it is designed to be affordable to buy and simple to use, so you can explore the sub-surface environment with only minimal training and without the need to wear a tank or a BCD (Buoyancy Control Device). Instead, you sit astride the seat as you might on a regular scooter and place your head inside the aerated helmet. The helmet is fed directly from the tank, creating an 'air bubble' so you can breathe freely, without the need for a mouthpiece.
Your depth is controlled by inflating and deflating a bladder attached to the scuba tank and your steering is managed by means of a simple hand-operated rudder. Propulsion comes from a 750w DC motor, which is powered by a single 12V, 50AH battery – and while a five or six hour charge will give you 60 to 80 minutes of operating time, the basic package includes a spare battery so you can get a more extended session on a single trip.
In short, this underwater scooter might look about as sophisticated as a fireman’s helmet strapped to a rocking horse, but with prices starting at £12,000 for the one-man model, it is likely to be a serious tempter for those with space in the tender garage. You can check it out on stand E173 at January’s ExCeL London Boat Show.
Spymaster Mini-submarine: Specifications
Battery weight: 18.6kg
Total weight: 95.4kg
Max depth: 12m
Max speed: 1.1 knots
Battery life: 60-80 minutes
Charging time: 4-6 hours
Max load: 30-160kg
Max range: 1.4NM
Price: £12,000 - £14,400