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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi!

I'm working on a a 11 person student project at the University of Houston. We are studying the feasibility of running a submarine as an adventure cruise with a route between, for example, Galveston, Texas and Pensacola, Florida.

One of our members has built a seaworthy prototype. That sub exists, works, and did not cost millions to build. It is not a military sub but it's very capable for transiting navigable waterways.

For most of the transit, the sub will be surfaced and behave just like a power sailboat or schooner. The dives would be carefully scripted events (no crash dives, sorry) in shallow water (less than 100 feet) where there are no rigs, traffic, or potential obstructions (as well as can be determined).

The main concerns for surface travel would be traffic, unlighted rigs, and draft. That is not much different from the thousands of power sailboats who spend their time in the ICWW and Gulf here.

I welcome your feedback on potential problems with this venture.
Thanks!
 

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I didn't think you had the sub in the USA. I have sort of followed the project on subsim.com website. I assume the sub is one in the same. If you are ever in Canada or i am in the part of the USA you have the sub you can count me in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I didn't think you had the sub in the USA. I have sort of followed the project on subsim.com website. I assume the sub is one in the same. If you are ever in Canada or i am in the part of the USA you have the sub you can count me in.
Holy cow, small world, eh? Yeah, this is Neal, doing due diligence, exploring the costs, logistical needs, and using cruisers as a template for the sub cruise project. :) Sailboat and cruiser enthusiasts are the subject matter experts for this kind of thing.

No, the sub is still in Copenhagen, I am going there to visit Peter Madsen and see the sub in Sept.

The whole concept of this submarine cruise ship adventure is to provide the WWII submarine enthusiast a Das Boot experience.
YouTube - Das Boot - U-Boat on the Hunt

Only in a safe fashion, of course. It's not a "explore the depths" cruise, like they have in Hawaii. I believe there are people who will enjoy the experience of taking the vessel across open water, conducting dives, competing as lookouts for the "most planes and rigs spotted" contest, living a few days in the confined space to recreate the experience the submariners in WWII had.

I think of rock and mountain climbers, tall sailing ship cruises, and other similar hobbies as similar to this.
 

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Ok, that answered most of my questions, too.. Thanks and good luck..

Holy cow, small world, eh? Yeah, this is Neal, doing due diligence, exploring the costs, logistical needs, and using cruisers as a template for the sub cruise project. :) Sailboat and cruiser enthusiasts are the subject matter experts for this kind of thing.

No, the sub is still in Copenhagen, I am going there to visit Peter Madsen and see the sub in Sept.

The whole concept of this submarine cruise ship adventure is to provide the WWII submarine enthusiast a Das Boot experience.
YouTube - Das Boot - U-Boat on the Hunt

Only in a safe fashion, of course. It's not a "explore the depths" cruise, like they have in Hawaii. I believe there are people who will enjoy the experience of taking the vessel across open water, conducting dives, competing as lookouts for the "most planes and rigs spotted" contest, living a few days in the confined space to recreate the experience the submariners in WWII had.

I think of rock and mountain climbers, tall sailing ship cruises, and other similar hobbies as similar to this.
 

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What is SSBN 506?
Ballistic missile submarines are often referred to as SSBNs and i am a sub nut. But most time the name SSBN is in use so i add my area code after it. I have used that name or a version of it for as long as i have been on the internet. I think back in 94 was when i had my first 14.4 modem and used the name on a few BBS.
 

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I wouldn't recommend you start with a survey. A long, long time ago when I was a junior management consultant a venture capitalist hired me to help him evaluate a new business opportunity. Having recently graduated from one of the nation's top business schools I knew exactly what to do first. "Ok," said I, "as a first step we'll have to do some market research to determine what people want and how big the market might be."

My client said, "No, build me the financial model first."

Being a really smart young consultant and knowing the first line in any financial model is "sales / revenue", I asked the VC how I could possibly build a financial model if I didn't have any idea what the sales figures would be. "We'll have to start with some market research -- it will let us estimate the market size, then we'll make a reasonable assumption of what market share we'll get, and voila, we'll have the first line in the financial model -- Sales!"

"No," he said, "we won't start there." He went on to tell me that we already had a good idea of what the costs might be to operate the business, and how much capital he needed to invest to acquire the needed assets and operate the business, and given the capital required, he knew exactly how much profit the business would need to generate to justify the investment.

"So," he said, "we'll start with the bottom line I need, add costs and voila, we'll have the sales number we need to make it work."

"Then," he continued, "knowing what our product costs we can estimate the margins and volumes needed to generate the net sales line. At that point we will have an reasonable idea of what the market and management have to do for us.

"And, then after we've done a 'gut check' on the feasibility of those numbers will we go into the market to test demand, prices, etc. Trust me, I've done this before."

I swallowed hard, and ran the numbers as he requested -- and what do you know? The required top line was so big and the number of customers needed to make it work so large, that it was first order obvious that the market would not support the venture. End of story.

I suggest you do something similar before you run your survey. Knowing the costs of the sub's operation, figure out how many passengers you'll need in a month / year (at a given price) to make the venture work. Then you have a hypothesis to test in the market place.

Good luck with your project!

PS I couldn't get to a survey from your link -- only a website that offered to help me create a survey.
 

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I am very familiar with SSBN’s having spent four years on SSBN 610 Blue Crew.

SSN 571 was, of course, the first nuclear submarine and SSBN 598 was the first of the SSBN’s.

Hull number 506 didn’t exist but would not have been a nuke if it did.

Sooo, got it. Thanks.
 

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Ballistic missile submarines are often referred to as SSBNs and i am a sub nut. But most time the name SSBN is in use so i add my area code after it. I have used that name or a version of it for as long as i have been on the internet. I think back in 94 was when i had my first 14.4 modem and used the name on a few BBS.
Why, Oh, why did you not get yourself into the navy?
I was a ship nut and when I turned 17, off I went. I learned it all: Flags, Morse code (visual & audible), semaphore, seamanship...all of it. I served on both coasts, Viet Nam, hydrofoils, ......18 countries in all. I have never recovered; I still tell Navy stories. I served 9 active years and was discharged in '71. You should have gone. Or maybe you should go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I wouldn't recommend you start with a survey. A long, long time ago when I was a junior management consultant a venture capitalist hired me to help him evaluate a new business opportunity. Having recently graduated from one of the nation's top business schools I knew exactly what to do first. "Ok," said I, "as a first step we'll have to do some market research to determine what people want and how big the market might be."

My client said, "No, build me the financial model first."
I suggest you do something similar before you run your survey. Knowing the costs of the sub's operation, figure out how many passengers you'll need in a month / year (at a given price) to make the venture work. Then you have a hypothesis to test in the market place.

Good luck with your project!

PS I couldn't get to a survey from your link -- only a website that offered to help me create a survey.
Wow, thanks for that! I will take use that approach. Of course, for the sake of the "project", I have to attempt to make the venture look feasible, otherwise no project, no grade, and unfortunately, the college did not give us a realistic amount of time to find alternatives.

But for the sake of the real life concept, sound advice.

I fixed the link, vB didn't link the first one: link:
Das Boot Experience customer research

Thanks! looking forward to hearing more from experienced cruisers and sailors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
You don't really think that people who have seen "Das Boot" would really want to replicate the experience, do you?
Yes, I do. ;) Well, the "good" parts, anyway.

Have you investigated getting US Coast Guard Certification as a passenger carrying vessel?
That is one of the items on my list. Do you have any experience or can you point me to it? I am checking the USCG website.
Charter Boat Captain Information - USCG National Maritime Center
 
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