50m-Deep UK Pool In The Planning
An ambitious entrepreneur has announced plans to build the world's deepest indoor dive centre outside of London this year
John Vickers, a former IT consultant from London, revealed his plans for the Blue Abyss on Facebook earlier this month. The pool is set out to be 50m deep and 40m wide, holding 22,000m3 of water - five times the capacity of Y-40 which opened near Padua, Italy last year.
Belgium's Nemo33 (33m) and Germany's Dive4Life (20m) have proven to be popular with divers in the past but market research has revealed a niche in the market, Vickers explains.
'We compliment them [existing indoor diving pools] by adding the layer of training not currently available to the diving community; namely indoor, 360+ days a year, in a totally controllable environment.'
Next to recreational divers, the pool is designed to be a training facility for tech and freedivers, police and fire service rescue teams and commercial dive operators. While both the European (ESA) as well as the North American Space Agency (NASA) have confirmed the unmet need for such a facility, researchers and students of human physiology programmes and underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) developers are also believed to benefit from the controlled underwater environment.
Features of the £25 million project include a permanently installed loading crane to heave vehicles and other obstacles in and out of the water to create a range of underwater scenarios. Water temperature and light will be regulated manually and high-definition cameras installed to record all training sessions.
With a hyperbaric chamber on site, class rooms and a hotel, the vision of the Blue Abyss will be the world's most comprehensive underwater training facility if the project goes ahead.
A team of financiers, lawyers, dive professionals, construction and financial advisors are currently negotiating the terms of projects in preparation for a two-month long ground evaluation of the Essex site.
The team aims to realise the project by October 2016, given that the funding comes through and the ground survey delivers positive results.