Marlin S1 Series Diesel-Electric Submarines

The Marlin Submarines S101 and S102 were custom-built submarines, designed and engineered in the 1980s and 1990s. These vessels were used for various purposes, including training the Royal Swedish Navy and treasure hunting in the Philippines. The submarines’ designs focused on manoeuvrability, safety, and performance.

US Submarines: 1994 to Present

In the late 80’s, whilst hunting for Japanese Gold in the Philippines, Bruce Jones had read an article about S101 and decided that that would be a great business to get into, so he wrote to me. In 1993, Bruce Jones and Ellis Adams formed a small company, US Submarines, trading out of Anacortes, Washington state. One of their first employees was Patrick Lahey (aged just 29), whilst I provided all the mechanical design input. Commissions were thin on the ground in the early days but they survived.

Submarines: 2000 to Present

These series of submarines represent significant advancements in the use of acrylic for deep diving submersibles. The AP6 Alicia, built by Marlin Submarines and featured on the Discovery Channel, allowed passengers to experience a “floating in space” feeling, due to its mostly acrylic hull. The Triton series of acrylic submarines gained fame through the TV series Blue Planet and are highly sought after by marine scientists for their incredible views, manoeuvrability, and reliability.

MSubs: 2006-2012

Initially, was just a convenient email address but MSubs Ltd was incorporated in July 2006 with the purpose of building the S201 2-man submersible for an American client. At that time, it was 100% owned by my wife and I as a zero-asset accounting entity. This would normally have been liquidated upon the completion of the project in July 2007. However, the client was pleased with how the project had gone, and wished to keep it open and put money in to build more submarines. I retained a 25% share and my position as managing director and principal engineer until I sold my interest and left in Dec 2012. Marlin Engineering, later Steel Fish Ltd, continued in parallel during this time renting the production equipment to MSubs Ltd. Part of the sale agreement was for me to trade under a different name in the future, hence the change-over from Marlin to Steel Fish Ltd, which had been incorporated a year after MSubs in 2007.

JFD: Jan 2013-Dec 2017

In January 2013 I re-joined old friends in Glasgow at James Fisher Defence as a senior engineer. Although based in Glasgow, I travelled far and wide, my favourite gig being Sweden for the best part of 3 years. From 1997 and the LR5 project to the present day, I have worked with JFD on a wide variety of projects. My able graduate assistant in 1997 was Ben Sharples who eventually became the MD of James Fisher Defence. Ben moved to Malin Group in 2018 and the key members of his old team joined him a few years later.

Steel Fish Ltd

Steel Fish has been trading as a design entity since 2007. Since then, clients have included amongst others, US Submarines, Triton Submarines, MSubs, JFD, DCE, Deep and SMP.

One of the most unusual commissions was project Pilotfish, a 2-man submersible for a French client planning to cross the channel under entirely human power. Although the vehicle was completed, pressure tested and sea trialled in 2016, it has yet to make the trip.  I feel it needs batteries.