Lanzarote’s Submarine – The Definitive Guide

We’ve known the team behind Lanzarote’s famous Yellow Submarine for many years, and they recently asked us to visit to check out a load of changes they’ve made to the experience and to enjoy a dive to the sea bed with them.

Everyone knows it as the “Yellow submarine,” but the vessel’s name is actually Sub Fun Tres, and she has a sister sub, based in Tenerife, called Sub Fun Cinco. Between the two subs, around 1.5 million people have enjoyed dives.

Lanzarote’s sub cost over 3 million Euros. She arrived on the island in 1997 and is based in Puerto Calero. She seats 48 passengers and crew and weighs in at an impressive 106 tons. One key feature is that atmospheric pressure is maintained throughout the dive, so nobody has ear problems, pregnant passengers and even heart patients are perfectly safe to enjoy a dive.

What’s New?

The offices and reception area has been expanded, and there are now fabulous, large information screens which give you valuable information about the ocean around us and what is being done to sustain it. The company, Submarine Safaris, is strongly committed to sustainability, ocean education and protecting the environment.

You’ll also find a spacious shop now, which sells items of clothing, local gifts and trinkets, as well as a locally made Malvasia wine, which is aged on the sea bed. There’s a green screen photo booth, where you can take a photo of yourself and put yourself into various backgrounds – great fun!

There’s also a new multi language audio guide, and every seat in the submarine has a pair of headphones which will give you a running commentary of what’s happening and what you can expect to see, as well as a small screen which gives information about depth, water temperature, and switches to the outside cameras at relevant moments.

How do I get to Puerto Calero?

You can either make your own way there in your hire car, or via public transport, or you can take advantage of the free pick up and drop off coach service from all three resorts.

What’s it like?

We arrived for our dive about half an hour before the scheduled departure at 12:00. We had received an SMS a few days before, and a link took us to a registration screen where we were able to confirm our details for our dive certificate. A QR code is generated, which allows you to build a portfolio of photos from the green screen and also from the photo taken just before boarding.

Having checked in, we were issued with a boarding card, and then had some time to browse the shop before we watched the compulsory safety video, which is in multiple languages and easy to follow along with.

Once our group were all ready, we were taken to the dock to begin the boarding process. There are two hatches aboard and you climb down a ladder into the hull. Each seat faces a huge viewing port and there’s a pair of headphones in front of you – you can select your language on the screen.

Once everyone is aboard, the submarine, accompanied by the safety boat, motors out of the marina, and almost as soon as we were past the sea wall, the hatches were closed and the two pilots started our descent. It feels very much like being in an aircraft, but without your ears popping!

We dropped close to the sea bed, and then moved along the harbour wall, before going further out and deeper, to glide past three shipwrecks, one of which was host to the cage that holds the wine being aged on the sea bed we mentioned earlier. From the moment we left the harbour wall, there were fish to see all around us. There were various types of Jacks, sea bream and bogues, and ornate wrasses. We also saw a lone barracuda on the prowl, as well a “field” of Garden eels. Scuba diving in the area, I’ve often seen Angel Sharks, Sting and Manta rays, as well as really large grouper, but we didn’t see the larger fish this time. There are fish identification photos close to the viewing ports, so you’ll know what you’re looking at.

After we reached the last shipwreck, the pilot settled us on the sea bed at just under 30 metres depth, and we were able to stand up and walk around, so everyone could see the cockpit and look out through the huge stern viewing port.

Finally, we returned the way we had come, so we could each see the “Other side” of the view from on our way out. Once on the surface, we motored back into the marina and all headed back to the reception area to collect our dive certificates and photos, and buy a few souvenirs.

Things that struck us:

  • The submarine is so quiet – just the gentle hum of the electric motors and the occasional hiss of compressed air going into the ballast tanks
  • There were loads of fish!
  • The audio guide is brilliant, and brings what you’re seeing to life in real time
  • The viewing ports give the most amazing view out

I can’t overstate how cool it is to be able to say we’ve dived in a submarine. Given only 14 of these commercial subs have ever been built, the percentage of the world’s population who have done a dive is tiny!

Is it safe?

It’s a question we’re often asked, and the answer is, of course. Some days, the sub does 7 dives. They take safety very seriously, and have had no incidents. There’s a safety boat above at all times, and the submarine maintains radio contact with them throughout the dive.

The submarine has a full out of the water inspection every year, and things like the viewing ports and batteries are replaced at regular intervals. The dive takes you to 30 metres, but Sub Fun Tres can operate at double that depth. All the systems aboard are duplicated, just like in an aircraft, so if anything fails, there’s a back up.

In fact, it’s very much like flying in a plane, so if you’ve flown to Lanzarote, you’ll be fine in the submarine, and you certainly won’t suffer from claustrophobia.

Can you take photos and video?

Absolutely, in fact you’re encouraged to do so. The viewing ports are rounded, so they don’t suffer from refections.

Who can dive?

Everybody over the age of two is welcome. You need some mobility to get up and down the ladders.

if you’ve dived in previous years, I’d encourage you to do so again, so you can enjoy the new audio guide and see the changes that have been made.

How much does it cost?

It’s 59 € for adults and 39 € for kids. The daily bus service from Costa Teguise, Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca is free and if you want to use the service, you’ll be given details of the closest pick up point.

How do I book?

You can book online here: Submarine Dive.

Note that divers are not allowed to dive around the submarine currently. Click any image to see them in large size.

Video

Here’s the video we shot on our day out on the submarine

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