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Superyacht feature transports passengers underwater in minutes

The notion of hopping on an observation platform and being transported down to the ocean within minutes seems rather fanciful.

But superyacht owners may soon be able to do just that thanks to a new design that provides a “submerged viewing experience” for up to seven people on board.

The Hydrosphere concept can be deployed from the hull of the vessel, immersing the owner and their guests into the surrounding ocean environment.

Described as a space “to share magical moments and to get underwater quickly,” its designers say it provides an experience close to that of diving in a submersible.

Submerged viewing experience

The unveiling of this new concept from Gresham Yacht Design comes as demand for personal submersibles is increasing.

Last year, Florida-based luxury submersible company Triton Submarines delivered the first six-person acrylic-hulled sub that can dive to 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) and the same company sold a 24-seater submersible, Triton DeepView 24, to Vietnamese resort Vinpearl, which plans to provide excursions around the Hon Tre Island in Nha Trang.

Meanwhile, various cruise ship companies have been investing in subs in recent years– Asia’s Genting Cruise Lines has at least four ships equipped with submarines supplied by Dutch company U-Boat Worx.

While the Hydrosphere concept doesn’t quite reach the great depths of some of the latest submersibles, descending just a few meters under the hull, it will no doubt be a hugely attractive feature for those keen to see more of the underwater world.

“There is a large demand for personal submersibles, which require hangar space and specialist operations to deploy, which takes time,” Gresham Yacht Design founder Steve Gresham tells CNN Travel.

Underwater adventures

“The best thing about the Hydrosphere is that it can be operated very quickly and easily. Unless you happen to be under the water when the Hydrosphere is deployed, you wouldn’t know it was there.”

The Hydrosphere concept is equipped with onboard lighting so those on board can use it any time they wish, even when the yacht is traveling at a maximum speed of up to two knots.

When it’s out of action, the feature can be retracted back into the hull, where it’s protected by an external hatch.

“The only other way to get this type of experience is to dive in a submersible,” says Gresham.

“This takes time though. Our Hydrosphere takes mere minutes to deploy, meaning that you don’t miss that fleeting moment when a beautiful sea creature swims past.”

Fast and convenient

According to Gresham, the concept can be applied to any existing vessel measuring 90 meters or more as a refit, “but the preferred route would be to integrate it into a new build project.”

Ultimately, the price tag for this project is difficult to estimate, as it will involve either refitting an existing vessel or incorporating the feature into a brand new build.

But it’s safe to assume that anyone keen to snap one up will need very deep pockets indeed.

The concept is already receiving a lot of interest, so there’s a chance it may come to fruition within the next few years.

“The technology and knowhow to make this idea into reality already exists, so it wouldn’t be difficult to build,” says Gresham.

He and the rest of the team at Gresham Yacht Design are keen to move the concept forward and hope it will be the start of a new way of experiencing and studying the ocean.

“Anyone who loves the sea and wants to immerse themselves in their environment will be attracted to this idea,” he adds.

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