The three person submersible Clelia is launched from the A-frame crane.

As of 2010, Clelia has been retired from active deployment and placed on display at the Georgia Aquarium as the centerpiece of their deep sea research methods exhibit.

Owned and operated by Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Clelia is a PC 1204 submersible built by Perry Oceanographics in 1976 and refitted in 1992 by Harbor Branch to address the needs of the shallow water scientific community. At 23 ft long, 8 ft 3 in wide and 9 ft 7 in high, the Clelia travels at a maximum speed of 3 knots and is classed and certified to a maximum operating depth of 1,000 feet by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).

The vehicle can accommodate two scientists/observers and a pilot allowing excellent visibility through the forward acrylic hemisphere. The proximity of the occupants to the bottom (approximately 18") allows tasks to be completed in areas of low visibility. Researchers are afforded an excellent view of the ocean environment through 10 view ports. A hemispheric, 3-ft-diameter window is located at the front end of the sub. Eight 8-in diameter ports are equally spaced around the conning tower of the sub, and one upward view port is in the center of the overhead hatch.

The Clelia prepares to dive to 1000 feet.

The Clelia prepares to dive to 1000 feet. Click image for larger view.

Clelia is outfitted with active sonar, still and video cameras, as well as a seven-function hydraulic manipulator equipped with a suction sampler, clam bucket scoop and jaws capable of handling bottom cores and other sampling devices. The manipulator can lift up to 150 lbs. The various collections are placed in the rotating sampler that allows for both quantitative and qualitative sampling. The Clelia is equipped with still and video cameras. Two 500-watt metal halide lights, ideal for photography, can illuminate an area to near-daylight conditions.

The highly maneuverable submersible is ideally suited for multiple short dives as well as longer duration, more complex dives. The Clelia can be balanced midwater to absolutely neutral buoyancy, providing an extremely stable platform from which to observe, collect samples and shoot photographs and video.

Typical applications include benthic and/or mid-water observations, photo/video documentation and collection of organisms; dump site inspections and monitoring; punch and box coring; search and recovery; bottom surveys; photogrammetric surveys; archaeological site documentation and recovery; and environmental impact studies.

Maintained and operated by experienced and expert pilots and crew, it is further supported by an in-house engineering staff. Working with the support staff, researchers also can add their own equipment, usually other cameras or sampling equipment, to the Clelia. The additional equipment, however, must be tested and certified that it can withstand deep-sea pressures. Harbor Branch also requires that researchers provide their equipment ahead of time to ensure that it can be interfaced properly with the Clelia’s existing equipment.