Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Inventor creates tour boats, submarine

Jungle Queen founder also builds undersea craft

Robert Nolin/Sun-Sentinel
9 June 2015
Soon after arriving in Fort Lauderdale in 1934, inventor Al Starts got busy. He designed and built the Jungle Queen tour boats — six in all over the years — and established the popular New River tours.
Starts' undersea boat, named the Nautilus, was 100 feet long, 14 feet wide, weighed 80 tons and was stressed to dive 100 feet, though he said he would seldom go deeper than 20 feet. A 250-horsepower diesel engine powered the vessl, which could reach speeds of 15 knots. It featured a plush interior and complex navigational instruments.
The sub could carry 120 passengers and featured two-inch think windows on the floor to view the ocean reef and sea life.
The Nautilus for years remained unused until 1980, when Starts launched it at Port Everglades. It went on to serve as a tourist attraction in the Bahamas.

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