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Old 29-10-2016, 09:06   #1
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Goofy idea- underwater port

Having grown up in Florida, glass bottom boats were part of my reality. I've seen sailboats with ports lower on the hull, but have never hear about an underwater port. We love to snorkel and scuba dive, explore reefs and marine life- why don't we have viewing ports to enjoy sealif from the main cabin?

Obviously, there would be technical obstacles to overcome, but good thick acrylic is "clear"ly as strong as a fiberglass hull. Has anyone seen such a customization?

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Old 29-10-2016, 09:22   #2
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Re: Goofy idea- underwater port

Alternatively, doe anyone have an underwater camera wireless to their monitor?

That would be pretty cool.
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Old 29-10-2016, 09:31   #3
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Re: Goofy idea- underwater port

Jacques Cousteau's famous ship "Calypso" is a former minesweeper. He added a vertical tunnel on the bow, and it had several glass viewing ports at the bottom of the bow.

As for a clear viewing port on the bottom of a production boat? I would not be surprised to see that in the future, as a few brands now have ports in the topside of the hull, above the waterline. It was not long ago that sailors would never expect to see sliding glass doors on a boat, but they are seen on the cockpit of most cruising catamarans today. And as I recall, there is some Megayacht that was recently built with a transparent dance floor so the guests could see underwater.
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Old 29-10-2016, 09:39   #4
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Re: Goofy idea- underwater port

Don't I remember correctly that there was a production sailboat around 38' or so that had a featured clear view port. I remember seeing one in about 1975,- I think it was a Pearson and I don't think it was customized. 'anyone remember this or am I dreaming?
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Old 29-10-2016, 09:52   #5
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Re: Goofy idea- underwater port

Might be an ok idea for a hard bottomed dink but it is really a dumb idea for your big boat!
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Old 29-10-2016, 10:18   #6
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Re: Goofy idea- underwater port

A lot of racing sailboats have them so that you can check the keel & rudder for kelp or other obstructions hanging on your foils, slowing you down. But even in the clearest water there's little enough light that using them to see any distance or detail is problematic. Plus the price for the window's seals failing is pretty high. Especially when a camera can see underwater night & day as easy as you can look out of your house's front windows at noon. What with computer enhanced footage & all.
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Old 29-10-2016, 13:53   #7
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Re: Goofy idea- underwater port

Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
A lot of racing sailboats have them so that you can check the keel & rudder for kelp or other obstructions hanging on your foils, slowing you down. But even in the clearest water there's little enough light that using them to see any distance or detail is problematic. Plus the price for the window's seals failing is pretty high. Especially when a camera can see underwater night & day as easy as you can look out of your house's front windows at noon. What with computer enhanced footage & all.
I raced on an X 119 that had one. In daylight, you could see the keel bulb just fine; at night it was a different story.
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Old 30-10-2016, 08:28   #8
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Re: Goofy idea- underwater port

Met a guy in Cabo with one....useless....covered up with algae unless heavily maintained
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreaminFred View Post
Having grown up in Florida, glass bottom boats were part of my reality. I've seen sailboats with ports lower on the hull, but have never hear about an underwater port. We love to snorkel and scuba dive, explore reefs and marine life- why don't we have viewing ports to enjoy sealif from the main cabin?

Obviously, there would be technical obstacles to overcome, but good thick acrylic is "clear"ly as strong as a fiberglass hull. Has anyone seen such a customization?

Be gentle with me.
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Old 30-10-2016, 08:30   #9
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Re: Goofy idea- underwater port

We have a standpipe in the middle of the boat (offset by the keel, of course). The view isn't great, but it's interesting:
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Old 30-10-2016, 08:34   #10
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Re: Goofy idea- underwater port

Don't forget you can also make yourself a portable viewing tube.
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Old 30-10-2016, 11:25   #11
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Re: Goofy idea- underwater port

Good idea, and of course it can be done, but.... It is just another point with a higher potential for trouble/disaster. How much higher probably depends on more factors than I can think of or list. Any hole in the hull can leak, and at some point probably will. I have no clue as to how marine life would affect clarity (after all you won't be using bottom paint on it) either by being there, chemical etching through living and growing, or removal by you brushing or scraping All that said, the next problems are location and size, Where can you place it so you can see in a direction you will probably want to look? Possibly not the bilge, and probably not in a deep locker (although it must be a place where glare is avoided). I really do not know, although the side of the hull below the waterline seems to be a candidate. I could write on and on and waste more space, but if someone figures it out and wants to try it, good! It is your dime, and the freedom to try is one of the benefits of life at sea. BTW maybe LEDs could be an integel part of the installation? Have fun and give it a go if you are so inclined.
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Old 30-10-2016, 12:34   #12
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Re: Goofy idea- underwater port

Most charter cats have escape hatches in the main saloon, not an underwater port per se but affords nice viewing in clear water. And, where else would you sail but in clear water. Buy an ex-charter cat or buy a new one and use your owner's time. Where else can you get a 4-bedroom, 4-bath over-water bungalow for less that a thousand a week (owner's rate)? Certainly not on Bora-Bora. Even if you never left the marina this would be a bargain in any tropical local.

I don't recommend compromising the hull with an underwater port.
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Old 30-10-2016, 13:10   #13
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Re: Goofy idea- underwater port

I just wrote on this thread for several minutes as we have a window set up, and once again the sevor deleted my input. This is Mana signing off
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Old 30-10-2016, 13:40   #14
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Re: Goofy idea- underwater port

Raced on a bulb keel race boat in the late 80s that had a underwater view port to check for weed on the keel.
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Old 30-10-2016, 13:49   #15
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Re: Goofy idea- underwater port

Reid Stowe had one on the Schooner Anne, the boat he spent 1,152 days at sea on.
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