Undersea Voyager Project Showcases ‘Great White’ Submersible At DEMA Show 2016

Captain Scott Cassell (left) and Sid "Squid" Loomis (center) interview with Deeper Blue video journalist Bethy Driscoll (right)

The Undersea Voyager Project is a non-profit organization that develops manned submersibles for ocean exploration and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. Here at DEMA Show 2016 in Las Vegas, one of their newest dry subs takes the spotlight: the Great White.

Captain and President Scott Cassell, a diving world-record holder and survivor of a menacing Humboldt squid attack, plans to use the Great White sub, nicknamed “Spots,” for exploration and to support divers on open-water technical dives. Equipped with an extra 8,500 liters (300 cu. ft.) of air, cylinders toward the stern of the sub can be easily utilized by “outside” explorers.

Two of the four extra air cylinders, securely strapped to the Great White and ready for use by external divers

Though the Great White is exceptionally heavy, powerful Genesis thrusters push the sub forward at just over 4 knots (5 mph) across long distances. Recently, the sub made a successful 48-kilometer/30-mile trip. Cassell plans to use similar thrusters on a new wet sub, a manned submersible in which the operating diver is exposed to the ocean environment, which weighs 90 percent less than the Great White. He excitedly anticipates the “whiplash.”

Genesis thrusters provide the force required to push the Great White forward over miles of open ocean

Assisting Capt. Cassell is mission specialist Sid “Squid” Loomis, a lifelong diver with over 4,000 dives at the age of 21 and the soul responsible for saving Cassell’s life “more than once” since she was 14. Standing in the hatch, she expresses her eagerness to test a new “fighter sub” prototype, an upcoming project for 2017 which will propel divers forward with three-axis control across 50 miles of open ocean. For data collection and cinematographic purposes, this sub will allow Capt. Cassell and other videographers or researchers to keep up with large marine animals without having to surface.

For more information on the Undersea Voyager Project and their upcoming subs, visit them on the web at underseavoyagerproject.org.