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Advantages of Manned Submersibles

PC1201 submersible off stern of motor yacht SuRi – Photo by Troy Engen

Manned Submersibles

Non-diving engineers, scientists, photographers, and experts can get within inches of objects on the ocean floor in short sleeve shirts comfort and stay there for up to 10 hours.  They can bring cameras, their equipment, lunch, and things that cannot be used by ROVs or divers.   Extremely delicate manipulator operations are possible.  PC1201 is very stable and excellent for photography.  Currents up to 3 knots are easily managed by the large stern thruster and four vector thrusters.

ROVs and AUVs

In recent years, ROV systems have been used extensively.  Two major drawbacks are having to pull umbilical cables and the reliance on television.  The images are two dimensional.  These images can also be misleading and they can only show you what the camera is pointing at.  Depth perception is poor.  The umbilical cable limits movement and poses current limitations.  Delicate manipulator operations are more difficult.


Divers are very expensive and extremely limited on ''bottom time''.  They are rarely trained in specific tasks.  An engineer on the surface must be satisfied with second hand information and how reliable the diver is.

Submersible Applications

  • Underwater inspection of pipelines, cable, dams, bridge footings, wrecks, and structures

  • Film production

  • Tourism

  • Salvage and casualty investigation

  • Pollution risk assessment

  • Marine research and fisheries investigation

  • Marine construction including cable and pipe burial, site surveys, and deep water repair

  • Aircraft search and recovery

  • Aircraft accident investigations

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