Technology

$1.5 Million Submarine for Sale in Fort Lauderdale

The DeepFlight Dragon sports a raised back spoiler, aerodynamic design,  propellers, and two enclosed cockpits. It's small, sleek, and off-white, looking more like a toy fighter jet than a $1.5 million two-person submarine. DeepFlight's director of tourism, James Doyle, explained earlier this week in Fort Lauderdale, "It's a toy for the 1 percent of the 1 percent."

According to a brochure, the DeepFlight Dragon's hoverboard technology was designed "on the principles of aviation" and "allows you to fly underwater and explore the world's oceans in three dimensions." The watercraft can spin, do barrel rolls, and shoot its nose straight out of the water. It's like flying underwater. 

DeepFlight is a California-based company that sells personal submarines all over the world. The Dragon was designed by Graham Hawkes, a marine engineer who has designed more than half of the world's manned submarines. His watercraft are mostly used by the U.S. military and government to locate human remains in lakes, drugs smuggled under ships, and submerged mines. In 1981, Hawkes even played the James Bond villain in For Your Eyes Only. (He mans one of his own submersibles in the movie.)

On Monday and Tuesday, company representatives were in Fort Lauderdale advertising the luxury submarines. In person, these machines are even more remarkable than in photos. It looks like someone shot a ray gun at a McDonald's happy meal toy and enlarged it. A rider inside can rest her legs straight out in front. Eyes can peek out of the cockpit bubbles. It's not recommended for the easily claustrophobic. 


Weighing less than two tons, the DeepFlight Dragon is the lightest and smallest submarine on the market. Moving more like a plane or drone, the Dragon can easily turn in every direction. ""You can explore the ocean in three dimensions," Doyle says. 

The Dragon can travel at speeds of up to 5 miles per hour and can dive down up to 400 feet. It's the latter point that's the biggest selling point. In a world where all seven continents have been traversed, the ocean remains the biggest remaining frontier. 

"Since it goes down 400 feet, you can be the only living human that has seen what you're seeing," Doyle says. "When you're down there, you can very well be the first person in the world who has been there."

After purchase, there's a 7-day integration and training course provided, which covers piloting, integration, and maintenance. The course includes input from expert pilots, marine engineers, and submariners. In the US, there is no government-mandated license for private operation of a DeepFlight submarine. For more information, contact DeepFlight

Here's a video of the Dragon's test drive:
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Jess Swanson is a staff writer at New Times. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Communication and wrote briefly for the student newspaper until realizing her true calling: pissing off fraternity brothers by reporting about their parties on her crime blog. Especially gifted in jumping rope and solving Rubik’s cubes, she also holds the title for longest stint as an unpaid intern in New Times history. She left the Magic City for New York to earn her master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism, where she spent a year profiling circumcised men who were trying to regrow their foreskins for a story that ultimately won the John Horgan Award for Critical Science Journalism. Terrified by pizza rats and arctic temperatures, she quickly returned to her natural habitat.
Contact: Jess Swanson