One of the questions we regularly receive is how we ensure our submersibles will always return safely to the surface. There are several key systems in place as part of our “safety first” regime. All our submersibles are built according to the stringent rules and regulations of leading classification society DNV GL (click here to read more about it). Below we highlight eight systems that ensure our submersibles always return safely to the surface.
During the design phase of a submarine, much attention is given to the weight and balance of the submersible. This is important in creating a submarine that is stable on the surface and underwater, while ensuring that the submersible is slightly positively buoyant.
The result of this positive buoyancy is that our submersibles always float upwards when doing nothing (in neutral). To descend, the vertical thrusters need to be deployed to propel the submersible downward.
Each submersible has at least two independent diving tanks that can be filled with air. In order to ascend with an increased speed, these tanks can be filled with air from a compressed air cylinder. For extra safety back-up, there is a second reserve air cylinder on the submarine.
To account for the difference in weight between passengers, the submarines are equipped with a buoyancy tank. With this tank, the submersible can be trimmed to always be positively buoyant. During each dive, the buoyancy tank can be adjusted to achieve the optimal buoyancy.
This large lead weight can be manually released from within the submersible to increase the buoyancy of the submarine and assist its return to the surface.
The Safety Buoy is a key characteristic aboard U-Boat Worx submersibles. When released, it marks the position of the submarine on the surface. The safety buoy on the deep-diving models also sends a signal to the mother ship. The Dyneema Rope that connects the buoy with the submersible measures 1.5 times the operating depth of the submersible.
The MDP feature prevents the pilot from diving deeper than the submarine’s certified maximum operating depth. In case the submersible should ever find itself too deep, this safety feature will automatically raise the sub until it is once again within its certified depth.
This DMS safety system will automatically resurface the submersible in the unlikely event that the pilot becomes incapable of controlling it. The pilot needs to acknowledge the DMS every 10 minutes, otherwise it will automatically initiate the ascent procedure.
Each submarine is equipped with a minimum of 96 hours of life support. Regardless of whether it is a 3-person or a 9-person submarine, all occupants have 96 hours of life support available. This additional life support is mandatory according to the rules of DNV GL. It can be used in the unlikely event the submersible needs to remain underwater longer than the regular mission time. The 96 hours of life support includes oxygen supply and CO2 scrubbers to filter the air, but also emergency battery power for life support monitoring, communication with the surface, light, food and water.
Click here to learn what makes U-Boat Worx submersibles the best submarines.