U-Boat Worx Nemo

Unlocking the mysteries of the oceans

It was the vision with which U-Boat Worx was founded in 2005: to make the fascinating underwater world accessible to as wide an audience as possible. Since then, U-Boat Worx has established an impressive product line, ranging from high-tech research submersibles to 7-person cruise subs that can reach depths of over a kilometer.

But the goal of this project was to return to the core: compact yet comfortable, simple yet safe, and accessible while providing the same experience.

How do you achieve significant cost savings without compromising safety? By not only looking at the costs of the submarine itself but also at the Total Cost of Ownership. And there seemed to be a significant gain there: ensure that the owner doesn't need a superyacht, including a crane, to use it. A sturdy car with a towbar should suffice.

Comfort and mass

The set of requirements that resulted from this was ambitious: no wider than 2.35m, not higher than 1.55m, and a maximum weight of 2500kg. And, of course, fully DNV certified to meet the strictest design guidelines and safety requirements.

But how do you enable two people to comfortably dive to a depth of 100 meters in such a light, compact submarine? As the lead engineer of team Nemo, this was the first question that needed to be addressed.

After evaluating several concepts for feasibility, the mass requirement turned out not to be the biggest problem. But to descend into water, you need as much mass as the volume you are trying to submerge. And the more spacious and comfortable you make the boat, the bulkier it becomes. The limiting factor turned out to be the volume, or rather, the water displacement.

So, we reformulated the core of the design challenge: find a comfortable seating position with optimal visibility, but not larger than strictly necessary. The first step was therefore to determine, using mock-ups, the seating position and thus the minimum required size of the pressure hull.

Three times in balance

After that was successful, the next challenge followed. The balance floating on the water, underwater, and hanging from a crane had to be perfectly horizontal. This required continuous monitoring of both the mass and displacement throughout the entire design process. Therefore, much attention was paid to a strategic development of the 3D CAD Surfacing model to remain flexible with the volume distribution until the last moment and thus finely tune the balance accurately.

With the achievement of the objectives, the Nemo has become the first true series-production submarine. A sub that can be easily deployed with a wide range of transport and launch options: from a trailer, with a beach launcher, or via a yacht.

Accessibility is a relative concept, but the Nemo, with its broad usability, makes the magic of the world beneath the waves much more accessible.