Taking the Plunge
According to Reynolds Marion of Lake City, it was a childhood dream to build a craft that worked equally as well underwater as above water, and after 21 dives, he and his team have taken that dream to new depths.
"I started thinking about this when I was 11 years old, and I spent the last 31 - 32 years trying to figure out the design solutions that could make this type of boat possible," he said.
Marion has spent 45 man-hours in the Hyper-Sub so far. The Fathom is a fully functioning submarine and boat all-in-one. The first submersible to work as a surface craft.
"The boat and everything it can do can actually change all of the underwater applications that are currently out there and cause everybody to reestablish their standards," Marion said.
After one year of working on his dream solo, however, Marion realized he needed help, so he enlisted his next door neighbor, and a week later, he gave Scott Shamblin, a graduate student at the University of Florida, his first "real" engineering job.
"I was basically on my own for a lot of it because there was no one there to teach me," Shamblin recalled. "I just had to learn things and learn them as i went along."
Creating the hyper-sub was more difficult than just water-proofing a cabin over a boston whaler, approximately 150 people have invested close to $1.8 for the realization of Marion's dream, and it is scheduled to enter the promotional phase around February. Shamblin said it will make a big difference for harbor patrols and gas and oil pipelines.
"You can actually get somewhere horizontally, most non-military subs are made to go down and that's it," he explained.
Going down was no piece of cake though, at least at first; according to Marion, it was a real "gut-check" to take the plunge the first time, but it was a historic occasion that is only getting better.
"We've gotten all the little kinks worked-out of it, and it's gotten a lot more fun to drive."
By Ted Latiak, WCJB TV20 News.
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