Robert Q. Riley Enterprises: Product Design & Development

Build it yourself from plans

Get larger images of build-it-yourself projects

Traveling on the surface off the coast of San Carlos, Mexico. Here the photographer takes an under water photo from a different angle. A photographer with scuba gear photographs AquaSub Aquasub under water An exploded view rendering showing how AquaBub is built.  Build Aquasub AquaSub on cover of Mechanix Illustrated Magazine

Dry inside

 No scuba gear

 Powered by
  two electric

 Build for

Order Online
- or -
by Phone, Fax or Mail

Plans Include...

10 - 17 x 22 inch

 24 page photo-
   illustrated book

Price... $45

Shipping and guarantee info

Frequently Asked Questions

The World's Finest Plans-Built Projects Robert Q Riley Enterprises


A One-Man Sports Submarine

AquaSub goes under water

As Featured on Cover of Mechanix Illustrated Magazine

Plans Include ten 17 x 22 inch drawings & a 24-page photo-illustrated instruction manual.

Order AquaSub Plans Now   $45
(order a second item to get a discount & free shipping)

Essential Resources for the Do-It-Yourselfer

Order AQUASUB NowWith AquaSub, you can cruise the near-surface underwater world in a dry, safe, shirt-sleeve environment.  Other subs are what is call "wet subs",  which means you wear scuba gear and the sub becomes flooded with water.  That's not how it works with AquaSub.  AquaSub remains completely dry inside, and no scuba gear is required.  To accomplish this in a practical, low-cost way - without the need for a highly stressed hull -  AquaSub remains at a shallow depth and draws air in from above water.  Submerged, she is down only 40 inches, but it feels as deep as 100 feet. In reality, however, the near-surface environment is where most of the underwater beauty lies. The best underwater photography is normally done at a 3 to 5 foot depth because the colors are most brilliant, the lighting is best, and the sea life is abundant. Even in the clearest water, colors are dull and muted by 100 feet.

         AquaSub is built of fiberglass over urethane foam, and reinforced with a simple steel framework. She is equipped with two outrigger pontoons, which are attached by wing-like structures that are hinged at their connection points to the central occupant pod. When running on the surface, the pontoon-tipped wings are outstretched and level with the occupant pod. As AquaSub submerges, the wings fold at the attachment points, allowing the central pod to slip below the surface. At maximum depth, the wings bottom against stops to limit the depth. As a safety measure, pontoons are large enough to keep AquaSub afloat, even if the occupant pod were to flood with water.

         We coined the name "snorkel-sub" to describe the way air is snorkeled in from above. Air is taken in through a standpipe in the right pontoon where a blower forces it through the wing structure and into the cabin through a vent over the operator's right shoulder. Fresh air is directed across the acrylic windows where it sweeps around and exits through a vent over the left shoulder. Air is then expelled through the left wing structure and out the standpipe on the left pontoon. The continuous flow of air washing across the windows keeps them from fogging, and it lends an open, fresh-air feeling to the inside. Flow rate provides about 20 changes of cabin air per minute.

         Propulsion and direction control come from two electric trolling motors, one mounted under each wing. Propulsion motors, as well as the fresh-air blower, are powered by two 6-volt golf car batteries located in the bow. Batteries provide enough electrical power for about 4 hours of continuous running. Steering is done by switching one of the propulsion motors off, or into reverse, while leaving the other motor running in the opposite direction. AquaSub can travel forward at walking speed, back up, or spin around on its axis.

         Ballast tanks are built into the occupant pod, one along each side. To submerge, a lever located to the side of the operator actuates a valve that lets air out of the ballast tanks through a small vent in front of the canopy. This allows water to rush into the tanks through open flood ports underneath the sub. To surface, compressed air from a cylinder suspended inside the occupant pod is release into the ballst tanks to force water out through the flood ports. Although flood ports are always open to the water, air pressure inside the ballast tanks keeps water from entering.

         The large cylinder suspended underneath the occupant pod (visible in the photos) holds lengths of rebar that provide the extra weight necessary to pull her underwater when the ballast tanks are flooded. And just in case the operator were to submerge without enough compressed air to re-surface, the rebar-cylinder can be released by pulling a lever inside the cabin causing AquaSub to rise to the surface, even with flooded ballast tanks.

 Order AQUASUB NowAquaSub was featured in Mechanix Illustrated magazine, and since then, has sparked additional development by others along similar lines. Cost to build is approximately $2,500.


Pod Length: 112 inches (occupant pod)
Pod Width:  45 inches (occupant pod)
Pod Height: 30 inches (occupant pod, excluding ballast pod)
Overall Width: 202 inches (surfaced, across pontoons)
Power Supply: 2 golf car batteries
Motors: Two 12 volt electric trolling motor
Air Supply: Positive flow via 12 volt blower in pontoon
Construction: Fiberglass over a urethane foam buck
Frame: 1-1/2 X 2-1/2 X 0.120 inch mild steel tube
Ballast Air: 55 cubic feet vessel of compressed Nitrogen
Occupancy: One

Essential Resources for the Do-It-Yourselfer

To Order Plans

  • Online: Click on Order AquaSub Plans or click on one of the red Order AQUASUB Now icons to access the online Order Form.
  • Mail: Use the online Order Form to automatically calculate shipping charges and provide a total amount. Click on the "Order AquaSub Plans" link above, then press "Add Item to Cart." Fill in your shipping information. You cannot proceed to the Confirmation Page (for freight calculations) without making entries in the credit card fields. If you prefer to enter your credit card information later, simply enter a series of spaces in the Credit card fields then press "Proceed to Confirmation." Print the Confirmation Page and enter any missing information.  Mail your confirmation page to us, along with your check, money order, or credit card information. (Outside the U.S., please make payment in U.S. funds using a credit card or International Money Order.)

  • Order by Phone: Weekdays 8:00 am to 6:00 pm MST:   480-685-3225.

                   -   Shipments to U.S. destinations go by First Class or Priority Mail (depending on weight).
                   -   Shipments to destinations outside the U.S. go by mail: "Airmail, Letter-Post."
                   -   Arizona residents, add 10.2% sales tax.

Robert Q. Riley Enterprises, LLC.
P.O. Box 14465
Phoenix, AZ 85063-4465
Phone:  480-685-3225

Design Services | Plans | Forum | Downloads | Resellers & Educators | Press Room | Internet Resources | Contacts

Robert Q. Riley Enterprises: Product Design & Development
Copyright Robert Q. Riley Enterprises, LLC.
P.O. Box 14465, Phoenix, AZ 85063-4465
All rights reserved.