These People Built Their Own Submarines — What Have You Done Today?

There are a lot of submarine fanatics out there. Some people read books about them or watch all the best submarine movies. Some people go to school to work on them or ride in them. And then there are the people who built their own submarines.

We don’t mean they were part of a team that built a military submersible. Nope, there is a surprisingly large number of people who have pored over old blueprints, collected scraps and used their own tools and gumption to put together a real, live, working submersible.

Here are some of the creative tinkerers who built their own submarines and lived to tell the tale.

1. Justin Beckerman’s Nautilus 

Discovery Channel

Uploaded by Justin Beckerman on 2013-09-26.

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Beckerman was just a teenager when he scrapped together about $2,000 and a bunch of spare parts to build his own submarine. The high schooler had been building things since an early age, and was eager to test his homemade contraption in the lake near his New Jersey home.

According to a Popular Science article about his adventure, the only moment of drama in his first test dive came when he ran out of Oreos.

2. Mikhail Puchkov’s Soviet-Era Submarine

DIY Submarine – Mikhail Puchkov’s homebuilt sub

Video about Mikhail Puchkov and the submarine he built in his attic in Russia, back when it was the USSR. He was caught by the KGB and sent to shipbuilding institute at St. Petersburg. Originally pedal-powered, he eventually refitted it with electric motors after a 40 mile voyage.

In the ’80s, one Russian man skipped nights out with friends and risked punishment from the KGB to design and build his own submarine in his attic — all without ever having even been to the sea.

When he finally did get to test it, the KBG caught him. Luckily, though, rather than arrest him, the KGB was pleased with his creativity and sent him to shipbuilding school in St. Petersburg instead.

Credit: Mikhail Puchkov


3. The James Bond Submarine

built their own submarines
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Osel979

Dubbed the Mantis and built by lifelong inventor Graham Hawkes, this one-man submersible is probably best known for its part in the James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only.”

4. Scott Cassell’s ‘Great White’

Homemade Submarine Makes Virgin Voyage

Homemade Submarine Makes Virgin Voyage SUBSCRIBE: US explorer and counter-terrorism operative Scott Cassell has seen his homemade submarine make its maiden dive. His 1.5 ton vessel – named The Great White – launched off the coast of Tioman Island in Malaysia.

Scott Cassell is a combat diver turned ocean conservationist. He also happens to have made a submarine from mostly recycled materials that’s dove down to 500 feet. Just another day in the life of the kind of person who can build their own submersible.