Perry Submarine Restoration Project
by: HighTechScience.org

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   In March of 2008, HighTechScience.org organized, sponsored and undertook the task of restoring the "Perry Cubmarine" that was donated to the South Florida Science Museum in 1973. The sub had been deteriorating under the hot Florida sun for many years and by 2008 it was time for a complete makeover as you can see from the pictures below.  

The Perry Cubmarine as is looked in March of 2008 prior to the restoration
The sub as it looked in March 2008
The fully restored Perry Cubmarine as of May 31st, 2008
The fully restored & refurbished sub as it looks on May 2008

On May 31st, 2008 the South Florida Science Museum held
a christening & dedication ceremony for the restored submarine.
Click Here for Pictures and Information


Here is a brief history of the submarine:

   In 1973, Perry Cubmarine of Riviera Beach, Florida donated a prototype of the company’s famous two-man miniature submarine designed by John H. Perry, Jr.

    For decades these remarkable vessels, first hand-built at Perry’s Palm Beach home and later manufactured in Riviera Beach, were used around the world for scientific, exploratory and commercial ventures. With an operational depth of about 600 feet (and tested for 900 feet), Cubmarines have given scientists easy access to the Continental Shelf, enabling them to study sea life and phenomena as never before. Cubmarines have been used to study whales; observe the effects of repellents on sharks; search for a hydrogen bomb off the coast of Spain, find missile nose cones, spent torpedoes, crashed aircraft, search for wrecked treasure ships, and inspect offshore oil drilling rigs and undersea telephone cables. The Perry Cubmarine is a part of the world’s maritime history, and an integral part of Palm Beach County’s historical heritage.

   As intended with a sea-going vessel, the Cubmarine was displayed outside of the South Florida Science Museum for many years. 

   In March of 2008, Richard Newman of HighTechScience.org and also a museum trustee undertook the task of completely refurbishing the sub to it's original condition. With the help of Hedrick Brothers Construction and South Palm Automotive, repairs were made to the submarine’s undercarriage, metal superstructure, and the fiberglass shell. The entire submarine was then painted  with historical accuracy and placed in front of the South Florida Science Museum.


Here are the original specifications of the sub:

  • Total sub weight is 6000 pounds with an internal payload of 750 pounds including 2 adult crew.

  • The sub is rated to 600 feet but has been tested down to 900 feet.

  • The instrumentation consisted of: a gyro compass, magnesyn compass, analog clock, speed sensor, depth gauge, up & down looking fathometer for depth control.

  • Steering is straightforward through an airplane type wheel post.

  • The speed of ascent & decent for normal cruising is 2 feet per second.

  • The sub can either submerge vertically or cruise on a slant course to it's desired depth.

  • Main propulsion was via a rechargeable battery operated system.

  • The sub could stay submerged for up to 5 hours at a time.

  • The sub's length is 18 feet and is 3 feet wide.

  • The top speed is 5 knots.

  • The range is up to 20 nautical miles.

  • The original name when built was the "Reef Hunter".


Below are pictures of the restoration project

The sub being hoisting by crane and put onto a trailer for the move to the shop.
The sub being hoisting by crane and put onto a trailer for the move to the shop.
Rick Newman of HighTechScience.org watching as the sub gets lifted.
Rick Newman of HighTechScience.org watching as the submarine gets lifted.

Sub at South Palm Automotive in Boca Raton getting sanded and prepped.
Sub at South Palm Automotive in Boca Raton getting sanded and prepped.

More sanding and prepping for the new fiberglass & paint.
More sanding and prepping for the new fiberglass & paint.

Rear electric motor & propeller assembly being repaired.
Rear electric motor & propeller assembly being repaired.

Sanded and Ready for Painting
Sanded and Ready for Painting

Motor Housing & Propeller Guard
Motor Housing & Propeller Guard
The First Coat of Paint
The First Coat of Paint

Getting the First Coat of Paint
Sub getting the first coat of paint

Ready for the second coat of paint and and trim.
Ready for the second coat of paint and trim. 

All painted and ready to go back to the museum. 
All painted and ready to go back to the museum. 

The new propeller installed
The new propeller installed
Bow planes checked for operation
Bow planes checked for operation

The crew at South Palm Automotive that worked on the sub
The crew at South Palm Automotive that worked on the sub

The sub being returned to the South Florida Science Museum
The sub being returned to the South Florida Science Museum

The sub getting lowered into it's new home
Getting lowered into it's new home

Proudly sitting in front of the museum with new domes
Proudly sitting in front of the museum with new acrylic domes

The new look at the South Florida Science Museum as of April 20, 2008
The front of the South Florida Science Museum as of April 20, 2008

The fully restored Perry Cubmarine as of May 31st, 2008
The fully restored Perry Cubmarine as of May 31st, 2008

On May 31st, 2008 the South Florida Science Museum
held a christening & dedication ceremony for the submarine.
Click Here for pictures and info.


Click Here to see the other exciting things we
have done for the South Florida Science Museum.



We would like to thank the following for their donations,
help and support in restoring the Perry Cubmarine.

South Palm Automotive
Boca Raton, FL
S-M-A Communications Hedrick Brothers Construction
Sid's Crane Service
Lake Worth, FL


The History of the Perry Cubmarine

   Perry Submarine Builders, Inc designed and built the Cubmarine in the beginning of the 1960s. Cubmarine was a two-person, battery powered submersible first leased by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in 1962. In addition, Cubmarine was presumably the first sub to explore Woods Hole Passage.

   During 1962-1965 Perry developed the Cubmarine used by the US Navy to recover ordnance on the Pacific Range and an H-Bomb lost off the coast of Spain in January of 1966.

    John Perry's interest in the ocean materialized in 1957 with his first plywood and fiberglass underwater vehicle which led to the 1960 formation of the first of the Perry underwater companies, Perry Submarine Builders, Inc. As this time period coincided with the beginning of a rapid development of the tools and techniques that would take both man and machine underwater, Perry quickly became a viable leader in the subsea industry. Perry Inc has a very interesting history of building many unique submersibles- they now build ROV systems under the name of Perry Tritech, Inc, since 1990.

About John Perry

  Mr. John H. Perry, Jr., a native of Seattle, Washington, was born on January 2, 1917. He graduated from Hotchkiss in 1935, Yale in 1939, and attended the Harvard School of Business Administration. During World War II he served as a pilot in both the Anti-Submarine Service and the Air Transport Command.

   Mr. Perry was Chairman, President and principal shareholder of Perry Publications, Inc., which operated 28 newspapers, as well as magazine publishing and printing operations. He is widely recognized for his pioneering introduction of computers for automated newspaper production in the composing room. This was a forerunner to today's techniques in high-speed newspaper production.

   John H. Perry, Jr. was an early predictor of the ending of the "fossil fuel age" and the beginning of the "hydrogen age." Over 30 years ago, he began devoting time and significant financial resources to the development of renewable energy technologies and a global energy plan.

Click Here for the Perry Institute's Web Site.  He established research facilities in South Florida and on his private island in the Bahamas, testing Photovoltaics, windmills and fuel cells. His companies built the underwater astronaut/scientist training facility off the Bahamas, known as "Hydro-Lab." The Hydro-Lab was recognized for many underwater "firsts", including the dry transfer of men from a submarine (also Perry built).
 He was on President Johnson's U.S. Commission on Marine Sciences, Engineering and Resources.

   His efforts resulted in the creation of a patented system that makes methanol from seawater and he launched the first submarine powered exclusively by a fuel cell power system. His numerous companies, including Perry Oceanographics and The Perry Group, hold the patents on many of the first practical applications of fuel cell technology and were long-standing suppliers of products to branches of the U.S. military and NASA. Today the organization is known as the "Perry Institute for Marine Science" with offices and facilities in South Florida and the Bahamas.

   Mr. Perry founded Energy Partners in 1990 and served as chairman of the board. Energy Partners, Inc. was a developer and manufacturer of clean, renewable and efficient power systems. In 1991, Energy Partners, Inc. was purchased by Teledyne Energy Systems, Inc. In 1993, Mr. Perry developed a zero emission vehicle, known as "The Green Car:", a prototype, PEM fuel cell/battery hybrid electric vehicle developed to demonstrate the feasibility of PEM fuel cells for transportation. His Genesis Zero Emission Transporter, was a concept vehicle designed to address a market niche consisting of limited power electric utility and passenger vehicles.

   Mr. Perry had a long and distinguished career with a common thread always present; he consistently dedicated his resources and efforts towards activities and projects that have value on a human scale as well as a business scale. He was a man undaunted by things that seem to be impossible. All of these things and more have been the result of the works of John Holliday Perry, Jr., a man whose varied accomplishments have been and will continue to be of huge benefit to mankind, in this country and elsewhere, today -- and tomorrow.



Read what the Press say's about the
Submarine Restoration & Dedication

Palm Beach Daily News Article  6/1/08
Palm Beach Post News Article  5/30/08
Boca Raton News Article  4/17/08

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