BACKYARD SUBMARINE SUPERBOY DOES IT AGAIN!
Karl Stanley built his first submarine as a teenager, and is still
When I last spoke with Karl on the phone around January or February of
2003, he was living in an aircraft hangar in Idabel, Oklahoma, building another
submarine. Karl told me he’d returned
from operating CBUG in Honduras, and spent about six months touring the United
States looking for a place to set up shop.
Along the way he’d made contact with a famous subber
(whose name escapes me at the moment, but at the risk of being called a
“name dropper” I’ll include it here if and when I recall it in the future) who took an interest
in his project, and helped him acquire a brand new spare acrylic dome viewport
he just happened to have laying around.
Karl will no doubt put it to good use, too: he’s set his sites on a new World Solo Depth Record.
This picture of Karl Stanley was published with
his recent article in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE. I think it says a lot about what sub building
is all about: a lot of hard, dirty work.
Karl started building his first submarine, CBUG, in High School and
finished it in College. He’s no stranger to what torching, welding,
and grinding inside a pressure hull is like.
Not glamorous, but worthwhile when it’s finally done.
Here we see two of the three spheres that will
comprise the hull of his new submarine, IDABEL (named to honor the town in
which it was built). In the foreground
is the main passenger sphere, which will seat two people and provide visibility
through a large viewport and an even larger acrylic dome. To the left is one of two combined spheres
the pilot will stand in while operating the submarine. The white cylindrical object between the
spheres is a submersible electric motor.
we see the three major hull components assembled as the project begins to take
This end-on view of the forward section of the
sub shows how the two passengers will be seated in the observation sphere. Karl will operate the sub while standing in
the two aft spheres: the top one of which is ringed by multiple viewports for
That’s Karl in the background, walking towards
the completed IDABEL as she sits on her trailer. This photo was taken at Broken Bow Lake,
Oklahoma, when the submarine was undergoing initial proving tests. At the time of this writing, I’m advised Karl
is operating the submarine at THE HALF MOON BAY CABINS RESORT in Roatan,
August 27, 2004. Karl just sent me this picture of IDABEL on
the job in Honduras. To my knowledge,
this is the first image on the internet of this remarkable submarine underwater. Karl reports he has taken the boat down to
2020 feet so far; an amazing accomplishment, but all in a day’s work for Karl
Stanley. IDABEL carries a pilot and two
passengers; OK, three if you count the pooch!
This is a “purpose built” submersible: designed specifically for the
mission and locale it operates in.
Passengers have a great view of the seawall through the main viewport,
and there’s a large viewport below that, too.
Contact Karl via his website for information on how you can dive this
NEW! April 29, 2006. Karl sent us a new picture of IDABEL in operation at Roatan, Honduras.
Karl snapped this picture of a shark eating a pig head at a depth of 1,800 FSW.
UPDATE Thursday, March 26, 2015: Karl's newest picture of Idabel in the waters off Roatan.