Submarines are the driving force of the growth in the underwater tourism business. In 1986, there was just one tourist submarine. Today, there are 40. These machines, found often in tropical islands, take passengers on one-hour dives for about $95 per person.
But, the ultra-wealthy don’t want to share the experience with other passengers. Private submarines are a growing luxury item for millionaires, both as independent vessels docked at private islands and as small submarines that can sit on the decks of yachts. Hawkes Ocean Technology, Triton Subs, and SEAmagine all sell personal submarines in the $1-3 million range for wealthy clients. Or you can purchase the $60 million 65-foot submersible yacht from Triton.
Graham Hawkes, the owner of Hawkes Ocean Technology, which has developed the ultra-light, mobile submarines for Richard Branson’s deep-sea explorations, has said he plans to make private submarines more affordable as the market grows – bringing the price down to just $250,000.
If you can’t afford your own luxury sub or visit to an underwater resort, cheaper forms of underwater entertainment abound. Visit Jules Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Florida, where guests have to scuba dive 21 feet underwater to reach the entrance. Or eat underwater at the Anantara Kihavah Villas or at the Ithaa Undersea restaurant, both in the Maldives.