A Whale of a Mini-Sub
As a kid, I remember fondly those ads in the back of comic books for the miniature nuclear submarine that only cost $7 — oh, how I wanted my own submarine. Imagine how much more I would have longed for it had it been disguised to look like a killer whale.
Well, here I am again, jonesing for my own submarine. Only this time, instead of being a cheap cardboard toy for naive ten-year-olds, it’s an actual operating submarine that looks like a killer whale. You can buy it from Hammacher Schlemmer for a cool $100,000 — a bargain compared to the other personal submarine the company sells, which retails for $2 million (to be fair, it also dives deeper).
The Killer Whale sub is actually the Seabreacher Y from custom aquatic vehicle designer Innespace. This particular unit is equipped with a larger modified tail fin to help the company potentially achieve a full 180 degree back flip — apparently a long-standing design goal for Innespace.
Because the engines draw oxygen from a snorkel, the subs can only dive about 5 ft. under water for brief periods. They primarily operate just a few feet below the surface to keep the snorkel at the correct height.
Innespace was formed in 1997 by Rob Innes, a New Zealand boat builder with a degree in composite engineering from Unitech University, and Dan Piazza, a certified machinist with experience in custom fabrication in the race boat and hot rod markets.
Innespace offers a whole range of themed watercraft, including mini-subs that look like dolphins and sharks. The original dolphin-shaped Seabreacher was built with steerable fins that maneuver on three axes and an Atkins rotary engine.
The new Seabreacher has a 255hp engine (you can cruise at 40 mph on the surface; 20 mph below water) and a panoramic bubble-top canopy. It can be outfitted with handlebars and riding pegs so that the sub can be used in aquatic stunt shows. All of the Seabreacher models can roll 360 degrees and leap up to 12 ft. out of the water. Because the engine cuts out if deprived of oxygen, the craft will automatically shut down and bob back to the surface if the operator dives too deep.
You can watch a video of the whale sub below: