“Crazy Submarine Guy” – The Submarine Restorer From Salina, Kansas

US research submarine Pisces IV
US research submarine Pisces IV

Local residents of Salina, Kansas refer to Scott Waters as the ‘crazy submarine guy,’ which is not surprising since he built a two-man submarine from scratch and is now stripping down a Pisces VI submersible.

Put back together, the total cost to rebuild and convert it to use digital technology will be around $250,000.  Since Waters is a business person, he sees a market for the submersible in exploration or for rent to the film industry.  He may be on to something.  How many such vessels are on the market that can dive to 8,000 feet?

He isn’t doing the work by himself.  A few times per year a team of 10 experts meets north of Salina to deconstruct and modernize the machine Waters bought in December for $30,000. It had been in storage for 25 years.

Estimated time from start to launch is two years, but first, the University of Pennsylvania will run tests.  A Pisces VI has room for three passengers and a pilot, is powered by twin seven-horsepower thrusters capable of achieving a 3-knot speed.

Project science ambassador, Grace C. Young, has an MIT-awarded science degree and is working on her oceanic imagery thesis at England’s Oxford University, ABC News reported.

She and the other volunteers are working in tandem with Waters because they believe in his work.  Her interest is climate change, and the oceans are part of that.

Science director, John Smith, of the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL), expressed surprise when he learned Waters had the Pisces VI.  The lab owns Pisces IV and V but does not have a VI although an attempt to acquire it was made.

“That sub is a classic,” he said.  What Waters wants to do will be hard.

The American Bureau of Shipping, which sets standards for maritime safety and operations, will have to certify the sub.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE