Saturday, July 10, 2010

-PROPER- amateur submarines

There are only handful of civilian fully-submersibles which are in size terms many respects comparable to military midget subs. Our greatest respect and secret envy to the people who get to build these, and all the other subs we've missed.
  • IC-1 Freya - Denmark
  • UC-2Kraka - Denmark - 12m
  • UC-3 Nautlius - Denmark - 16m
  • Spurdog - Netherlands - 20m
  • Euronaut - Germany - 16m
  • Malen - Sweden
  • SR93H Polaris-Delta - Hungary - 20m
  • SS86H Helen's Heart - Hungary - 7.5m

L - 12m
Built by Peter Madsen. Styled on WWII German U-Boat.

Photos: Flickr

Probably the best known civilian midget sub. Interesting features include 'diving helmet' cockpit and bottom mounted diving hatch below sail. Forward viewing windows positioned to look like torpedo hatches.

L - 16.01m W - 2.5m
Speed: 8kts
Built by Carsten Standfuss in Germany for wreck diving. Nearing completion. Website for lots more info:
Very large by civilian standards, the Euronaut is relatively sophisticated and heavily built, able to dive to an impressive 250m (test depth 320m). The sub will operate with a 5 person crew for up to 7 days before surfacing.

UC-3 Nautilus
L -17.7m, W - 2m
About the same size as the Euronaut, Peter Madsen's third submarine follows on from the Kraka. The sub became operational in 2009 and is employed in recreational diving. The hull features large port holes for observation.
Photo: Flickr

SS86H & SR93H
SS86H: L - 7.5m
SR93H: L - 20m
Forintos Gyula's first submarine, SS86H, was extensively demonstrated to the Hungarian military for river use in the early 1990s, particularly for mine clearance. That proposition is a serious one as the Danube has been mined repeatedly in WWI and WWII and unexploded mines remains a threat. The Hungarian Defense Forces did not purchase the sub.
The later SR93H is a highly stylized design with a military/sci fi theme but underneath is a true sub intended for a scientific polar expedition which sadly has yet to materialise. Despite its relatively great length, the pressure hull is very small diameter and the 5-6 man crew have to crawl and crouch at all time within the hull. Although it may not be the most practical or capable design, its mean looks deserve a film opportunity.

L - 20m
Built in the late 1980s in Holland by two guys who watched Das Boot and were inspired, this boat more recently suffers the indignity of being a houseboat. If anyone has more information, please comment to this article.


  1. Thank you for your work so far, good stuff !

  2. thank you for this!

  3. Well, I can tell you that the first diving test of the Spurdog failed. They had to use a Boekenstein crane to lift it up! The boat was last seen in 1993 when it was anchored next to museumship De Buffel in the Leuvehaven in Rotterdam. Since then it seems to have sort of disappeared...

    1. I was one of the owners of Spurdog renamed Holland
      In 2004 we soled the sub becase of illnes of my copanion
      Last I know it was scraped by GB officials as it was caught smulleling in GB waters

  4. I never heard about the spurdog, but in Amsterdam was an other amateur build submarine which is fairly big, Before it was in Amsterdam it was stationed in paris in the seine near the eifeltower and served as gaybar, it was build in nigeria in a harbour town by a frenchman where he had been in prison for a long time, he called the sub c105, after his celnumber. The submarine is now somewhere in the Netherlands for restoration. I also found a picture of a swedish amateur built sub which was about the same size as the euronaut and the nautilus

  5. I was one of the builders, totally we were with five persons and not with two persons as it is written. we started in 1981 and the boat was launched in 1986. it was a lot of work, the boat was 22 meters long and weighed 45 tons. there was a room where 24 tourists could sit, but this space was never finished. the idea was to go to the Canary Islands to sail tourists, obviously for money. unfortunately this did not work out. we were the first in the world as far as we know who started the idea. the name of the company was Tourist Submarine., the first dive we have made we used a crane as extra safety, we did not need this crane to get up again, so this is not correct what the people write that it failed. it is correct that the idea was created by the film das boot. the boat was sold in 1989, the exact date I do not remember. after the boat was sold, one of us has made a small submarine which still exists.

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