Open the oceans & immerse yourself into an educational platform that will influence far beyond the realms of recreation & research!
Welcome. I am John Antaramian, President of SubSurface Submersibles & Innovative Engineering Concepts, and designer of the world's only 5 passenger semi submersible Research Vessel. This is our prototype design called "The Ray". It is engineered as a cutting-edge research vessel, as well as, a safe, comfortable, and family-friendly sphere that will change the way we experience the subsurface. Literally, providing windows to both the shallows and the deep, our Tri-Form design is equipped with twin 48 volt electric thrusters that safely, and of equal importance, stealthily maneuver the reef. As you and The Ray immerse into the marine environment, the excitement of exploration is naturally enhanced by the serene wrap and cooling warmth of the other 70 of our lesser known planet, without causing harm to or damaging the delicate coral reef ecosystem.
"The Ray will deliver an educational platform that will influence far beyond the realms of recreation and research!"
The intended use of this vessel is as unique as its design. On the open water, it is one of the most stable platforms in the world! With a beam in excess of 11 feet, the central passenger pod's Iceberg Stabilizing System extends almost 6 feet below the waterline, acting as a central stabilizing keel, weighing in at a nearly 12,000 pounds. These unique characteristics make The Ray an optimal vessel for film and photography, custom packages can pack up to 12,000 watts of photovoltaic renewable energy to power our "Wicked Cool Motion Capture Flash Bar". This unique feature captures one of our most innovative designs for motion stop cinematography bringing with it the potential to revolutionize the way we observe and report any and all data that takes place just below the ocean’s surface.
To date, we have constructed a watertight prototype. Over the past nine months, I have stretched a meager budget to the point of exhaustion. Working alone and at night has helped me save on materials that, with most 2 part components, would tend to catalyze much quicker in the sun. Working at night also allowed me to spend more time on areas of greater detail than I would otherwise risk missing in the 100 degree Florida sun. With the help of my friends Bobby Dickson, Dave Banks, and my Aqua Ranch/Sub partner Charlie Barra, we were able to create a 5/8” thick hull of polyester resin and fiberglass. The Aft section consists of a fully submersible passive ballast tank that displaces 99.886 gallons of air to seawater. The interior cabin is sheik, cozy, and roomy enough to fit 5 people comfortably: 2 leather captains chairs with a “comfy” microfiber bench seat for 3 configured in a stadium style step for optimal 270 degree viewing.
I designed the inside cabin with my grandmother in mind; anyone who is claustrophobic or is afraid of the water should feel much more at ease in this living room design with 6’6” of headroom. On Deck, there is additional seating for 5, along with a cooler, a radar arch with camera and LED mounts featuring a fresh water waterfall rinse and communications domes. With additional funding, I can continue outfitting the sub with an “in the works” Arduino trackpad for steering, a wireless remote for surface cruising, an array of cameras, gps tracking units, sonar, and an I.P. based brain for a any and all wi-fi and Bluetooth controlled accessories.
Initially, we will be operating at The Aqua Ranch in Long Key, Florida. The Aqua Ranch is an aquaculture and shark research cage diving facility started by my partners and long time friends, Charles Barra and Kristin Kurtz. “The Ranch” is an ideal area of operation because it is centrally located in the Florida Keys and is home to a deep water/salt water 14 acre lake and an exhilarating menagerie of biodiversity; from exotic algae and corals and tropical reef fish, to a variety of pelagic and high migratory species of big game fish.
The Aqua Ranch has long since been an accredited center for education and research, offering many students, scientists, film makers, and military personnel training far beyond any “hands-on” approach. With the introduction of SubSurface Submersibles’ semi-sub, The Ray, we will soon be opening to the public. But, the thrill of it all are the SHARKS! With the sub, we will be able to offer excursions to anyone!
Risks and challenges
LEAPS & HURDLES; everybody has them. Initially we had decided on a $82,000 fundraising campaign with Kickstarter. $60,000 was to be set aside and allocated to the construction of a mold for manufacturing these semi submersibles. Recognizing that we are still in the prototyping stage, it seemed best to reduce our goal by $20,000 and focus on streamlining the efficiency of the existing prototype. We still have approximately $20,000 in electronics to purchase and outfit the sub with before we even begin operations.
Additionally, the facilities where we hope to operate at The Aqua Ranch, require $25,000 of construction expenses to make the necessary modifications in order to accommodate a vessel of this nature. It has taken a five years to get the permits required to open up to the public with the Monroe County permits department. Recently, we've just finished construction for parking and a retaining wall that will hold back any astronomical floodwaters, as well as, providing access for ADA disability parking and wheelchair ramps. The additional funds that we receive from our Kickstarter campaign will go to the additional beautification of our upland facilities.
Wireless communication is critical for our operation. We will be purchasing wireless scuba masks that interface with a surface communication basestation. The sub will also be outfitted with a service communication basestation to communicate with divers in the water. This system uses VHF and UHF. The purchase of each system comes with a license from the FCC in order to operate on each designated frequency.
Once we have a prototype that we are comfortable with going into production, we will upgrade our facilities and look for the appropriate staff to help us begin production of a new fleet of semi submersibles.