Story at a glance

  • A man in British Columbia built a submarine in his garage as a pandemic project.
  • Hank Pronk has no formal training or engineering background.
  • The submarine can reach depths of 400 feet.

While many spent the coronavirus pandemic hopping on to trending projects such as baking bread, making tie dye clothes and working on puzzles, one man took the lockdown to work on a different project: building a submarine in his garage.

Yes, you read that correctly. Hank Pronk of British Columbia created the foundation of the sub with leftovers from a project he started eight years prior.

“I spent the summer fixing it all up and upgrading the hell out of it, and now it’s a nice, working little sub,” Pronk said.


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The sub can reach a depth of 400 feet, carrying enough oxygen for one person to breathe for 72 hours. Propelled by golf cart batteries, with a separate battery for the lights, it can cruise for about four to five hours. Pronk has successfully taken it to the bottom of Premier Lake in British Columbia.

“Because it has an acrylic cylinder for a conning tower, the visibility is fantastic,” he said. “You can see all around.”

The sub does have an escape system in the event it were to get tangled in something and stuck at the bottom of a lake. 

Pronk, who owns and runs a house-moving business, didn’t finish high school and had no training or engineering background when he embarked on the project. 

“It was difficult,” Pronk said. “Once the internet came along, then I could really build submarines, because then the world is your oyster. I just researched the hell out of everything.”


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Published on Apr 29, 2021