When we explore and explain submerged living space as best solution for putting living space to the open sea there is always a funny guy talking about “abysmal existantce” - this is a perception error…
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To check on light conditions in a submerged shell like the ocean sphere concept and the captain nemo float out see the example of the pantheon flooded by light over his “oculum”.
In first place the handling of a submarine yacht would not be very different from a surface yacht. The fact that you can dive does not mean that the concept OBLIGATES you to stay dived all the time and live some kind of “Abyssmal existance”.
I tested submarine yachting with the prototype participating in a yacht ambient …
It may be one out of hundred who really would like to live disconnected from the surface, producing oxigen from the seawater wandering submerged and separated from mankind trough the worlds oceans, captain nemo style.
The typical owner would handle a submersible living space bubble habitat (i avoid the word submarine due to the misleading coffin perception) as a simple yacht that is in almost all of its aspects a yacht, just absolute storm safe, seasickness free, burglar safe, and maintenance cost free.
Like other yachties you would not be the whole day enclosed inside your boat. You would form part of a yachtie community anchored in the bay of a caribbean island.
In the morning you would row over to the beach meet with people from the other boats, have a beach grill, a coconut, a island adventure - you would only return to your boat to have a pleaseant night sleep in a king size bed and a freshwater shower.
There are differences in lifestyle to other yachties. For example when you leave your boat in the morning (all of your family - nobody wants to stay and watch the family home) you just close the hatch - so your living space becomes absolute burglar safe.
The other yachties always live a bit preocupied about their boat, is somebody breaking in to steal your nav equipment?, is the weather on the anchorplace changing smashing the boat against the reef?, - so they tend to live “in sight” of the boat.
You on the other hand, when get an offer for this dream on week trip - take it - when you return you will find your stuff well protected inside your living space bubble - just exactly as you left it there - breaking in trough a hatch is like breaking into a banksafe - nobody can deploy the necessary (heavy industrial) tools on a anchorplace.
Another situation where your life is really different to a yachtie is when you are together with several sailing and motor yachts anchored in front of this pristine beach of a unhabitated island. Somebody has a radio and spreads the news that tropical cyclon Bertha category 4 is closing in. Now it becomes clear why this beautiful island was uninhabitated in first place - no save harbor miles around.
Some yachts rush out into the dark of the night to make it by the speed of their expensive engines to the next safe spot - just to find that it is cramped with poorly anchored industrial barges that tend to come loose in a storm and grind everything in their way to pieces.
Smaller yachts send the kids for the nearest hotel to be safe and go for the mangroves to bring out several lines to the trunks and fight it out. They can make it as long as the storm surge is moderate.
You on the other hand just close your hatch drink a coffee watch TV - no need to leave the anchor place. If things become bumpy flood your ballast tanks and lay your bubble some 5m down on the sandy lagoon bottom until the storm has passed over you. You and your family are safe as in a underground bunker.
You could take advantage of the **** weather and the sudden absence of all your yachtie friends and make a few miles to visit the next spot. You sail out directly into the storm - trim your living space bubble at snorkel depth - you leave the coffee cup on the table, you watch the weather the sea and ship traffic with your snorkel top camara - but your comfort is not affected by the storm.
Your live will also be a bit different when aproaching a cramped marina with no space for “another boat” - you will always be the “most exotic boat” that draws the attention and marina owners will love to asign you a nice place to stay - maybe for free. While it may be difficult to have privacy in a cramped marina on a surface boat - you close your hatch and you have it.
Your living space bubble will also be different in terms of aircon, comfort electrics, and loading capacity.
For example a yacht in the caribbean can spend dozends of dollars a day in aircon to make the climate below a sun heated deck just bearable. The seawater around your hull maintains the inside at 22 degee with no aircon need.
Yacht owners sometimes go crazy with the vibrations and noise of the small generator that keeps the battery and freezer alive. Noise dampening and vibration is most of all a function of bulkhead weight - bad news for “leight weight yacht outfitting” - you have your generator behind 20cm concrete - complete silence guaranteed.
Yachties are always short of loading capacity for freshwater food, tools, equipment.
You on the other hand have dozends of tons loading capacity this gives you not only the freedom of a much longer range compared with similar sized surface yachts - it also allows you to make a living as a trader - moving cold beer in hotel quantity to remote locations.
Keep coffee cup on the table how deep to get protected from waves
When talking about protection from wave damage we should have clear that one thing is being protected from wave hazard and sea sickening movements what happens inmediatly when you are submerged - and the other thing is how deep in the ocean you might notice the pass of big waves.
Wave hazards come from 2 factors:
breaking crests that can hit a structure with hundreds of tons of force
Hog and Sag, bending and torsion, forces which appear when a ship is supported by water (and bouyancy) at one end and in the air at the other end. Those forces can break a ship or lead to fatigue. They make a ship stamp and roll.
If you leave the math and wave amplitude thing apart, you can easyly understand that neither wave crests nor hog and sag can exist anymore as soon as you have a thin water layer closing above you, even when this layer is just a foot deep. The structure will be supported uniformly by water at its whole length and this uniform support leads inmediatly to a much calmer behavior.
This is what a diver experiences when he jumps from a rocking surface boat - there is inmediatly this incredible calm uniformly supported floating status when you go below the surface it dos not start gradually dozends of meters down - it is just below the surface. No wave is HITTING you anymore no wave is pushing you and your equpment around as it is the case when you swim on the surface. The only thing you experience below is a kind of current that changes direction with every wave. So you can “percieve the wave movement” when you have a visual reference to the sea bottom. If you don`t have this visual reference you will not notice the movement.
I know a lot of divers that are suceptible to seasickness in a rolling diveboat and they are always the first to jump overboard - once you are below seasickness is gone.
I experienced this in extreme form at Malpelo Island which is a island in the pacific 500 km off the coast of Colombia between Cocos and Galapagos - you have those real big pacific waves comming in directly towards a volcanic rock face. There is no doubt that any ship no matter the thickness of its steel plating would be hacked to small pieces within minutes. The divers jump overboard far from the rocks and swimm below the surface directly towards this rockfaces - this is where all those beautiful fishes are. You hang there 1-2m below the “hackzone” relaxed enjoy the smooth waiven of the waves comming in, you can feel the real big suckers in your ears, as the waterdepth changes while the crest goes trough. It is a wonderful place to mediate about the fact why nature never developed a surface swimming animal for the open sea - maybe living below is just so much better.
The other experience i can contribute is the experience i had with the submarine yacht prototype - while i had the sub on its anchorplace and was tooling around inside i closed the hatch to avoid questions from courious visitors - i was there for an hour or so and when i opened the hatch i noticed that a storm had come up, several trees felt down, sailing yachts in the 30 foot range where calling SOS, and the local rescue crew was busy to assist. - I did not even notice the storm. And the hull was still on the surface exposing the sail (tower) and the central rounded part of the hull a bit above the surface. Obviously this did not present enough wave and weather attack surface to make the hull rock and roll.
The difference between being hit by the waves on the surface and being supported completly by liquid is paramount - this is why whales have structural weak bodies compared to a ship, they can live with a lot less structure.
Modern shipbuilding is including ballast tanks into the design to deepload the vessel when necessary to avoid excessive bending in the violent surface layer and get a more uniform hull support.
The question how deep is deep enough is most of all a practical question - i would say a few feet is enough for leaving your coffee cup on the table in 99% of the sea states you will experience, 10m will be enough for leaving the coffee cup on the table in the perfect storm. What means that there is no need to go beyond a depth where a decent snorkel is still possible.
I know that there are people theroizizing that big waves reach deep down in the ocean - the point is theirs hazardous and seasickening action depends on intermittent air/iquid contacts with the hull - and those are gone inmediatly below the surface. What is left below is waiven that does no harm and no seasickness - any diver can tell you that.
Sub on anchorplace
Inside the sub on anchorplace
Diver below breaking waves