BREDA – In only 15 years, U-Boat Worx has become the world’s largest maker of private submarines. To date, it has built some 45 for the yachting, cruising, research and film-making sectors.
Marketing Manager Roy Heydra says his company “sells an average of 3 to 4 subs a year” and is casting its net ever wider. It has lately begun offering submarine charters, opened a training center in Curacao and will soon build the world’s smallest sub that you can put on a car trailer.
“We will soon make the Nemo,” says Heydra. “It’s the world’s first production line sub designed for a larger audience, notably owners of yachts under 30m (98.5ft.) We’ll soon start the first series of 10 Nemos.”
U-Boat Worx’s smallest sub retails for €975,000 (+ VAT). It can dive to 100m (330ft) and stay there for up to 8 hours. Weighing only 2,500kg (5,510lb), the Nemo is the lightest manned sub ever built. The 2-seater stands only 1.55m (5ft) tall, small enough to be taken on a car trailer to a shoreline launch site.
To meet demand, U-Boat Worx (founded in 2005) plans to raise its workforce to 100 by year’s end, from 80 today _ a remarkable undertaking in a year when the COVID-19 pandemic brought the global economy to its knees.
U-Boat Worx subs – 6 series, 20 models – can take up to 11 people hundreds of meters below the surface to ogle barnacle-clad wrecks, archeological sites, neon fish over pastel reefs or the foundation of offshore installations.
U-Boat Worx’s C-Researcher (8 models) is for scientists, researchers, film makers and explorers. It has a 2-seater version that can dive to 3,000 meters (almost 10,000ft.) Other models: the C Explorer Sub, the Cruise Sub, the Super Yacht Sub and the Hiper Sub. The latter, says Heydra, is “the best-performing private sub in the world. It achieves a speed of 6 knots and can do rolls, loops, steep turns and vertical ascents and descents.”
He says his company’s new ‘Charter-A-Sub’ service “is a unique opportunity to experience undersea exploration without owning a sub. Yacht owners and charterers, private explorers, media, scientists and others can now charter a sub, including a crew, for periods of a week to several months. Anywhere in the world.” A chartered sub can be launched from a client’s yacht or a support vessel arranged by U-Boat Worx Charter.
Given its growing prominence, U-Boat Worx by now sets the standards for private subs.
From cutting edge safety features (such as an automatic resurfacing mode) to the subs’ ultra-clear acrylic bubble hull. The company also offers training and crew certification courses. Its largest client is the cruise market.
This year U-Boat Worx is now filling 10 orders from the Seabourn, Crystal and Carnival cruise companies.
In April, U-Boat Worx moved into larger manufacturing facilities in the southern Dutch city of Breda. “We now have 5 times more space,” says Heydra.