Maker International VentureCraft Corp. describes the One-Person SportSub Solo as a "yacht toy." That can't be a good sign of its retail price. Another bad omen: their Website lists no costs for the submarines themselves, but does give pricing for spare parts and upgrades that start at around $3,000, and head up to $15,000 or so. Yikes. I'd estimate a brand new SportSub Solo--the company's most basic underwater exploration kit--rings it at around $40,000. Which is why online auctions and secondhand shops still hold a special place in my financially destitute heart. For the next 24 hours--through September 11, 2012--a dude on Ebay is auctioning off his lone ranger submarine for a base price of $4,500. The reserve has yet to be met, so chances are a single bid at that amount would take home the subsurface wanderer.
The SportSub Solo, recently featured on Ultimate Air Jaws during the Discovery Channel's Shark Week, is a wet submarine. Meaning that the pilot's head is his or her only body part not exposed to water. Noggins are encased in a dome-shaped, water-tight air pocket atop the watercraft, which receives a constant flow of oxygen at depths of up to 30 feet, for dives times of up to 60 minutes. A duo of thrusters allow for precise control and maneuverability, with the sub capable of rotating in its own length, hovering, and flying straight up and down--a range of movements similar to those of a helicopter.
Two marine batteries power the SportSub Solo, and help clock its weight in at 150 pounds. The kit comes standard with a complete set of all accessories necessary to operate it, less the a SCUBA tank for the air supply, dive computer, compass, and battery charger to recharge the vessel's batteries. Check out further descriptions and technical specs here.
The Ebay seller's SportSub--which he states cost over $30,000 new--is ready to ship on heavy-duty pallets from the Los Angeles area. It includes all documentation and manuals. Despite negative pricing implications, classification as a "yacht toy" has the positive effect of excusing the submarine from most States' registration and title requirements.