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Holland 5 sub gets 3D dive-trail

The protected historic wreck-site of the Holland 5 submarine, which lies nine miles off the Sussex coast, is the latest to become diveable online.

A 3D virtual tour, commissioned by Historic England (HE) and developed by the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS), makes Holland 5 the fifth protected wreck-site to be made accessible in this way, with 13 dive-trails available between them.

Multi-image photogrammetric recording, 3D printing of geophysical survey data and virtual- and augmented-reality techniques have been used to produce the 3D images of the site.

The experimental sub was launched on 10 June, 1902, having been built by Vickers under licence from Holland Torpedo Boat Co to a design by John Phillip Holland. One of the first submarines to be accepted into the Royal Navy, it also carried one of the earliest periscopes, of a British design.

Single-hull Holland-class submarines were made of S-grade steel, at the time otherwise used only in constructing the Forth Bridge. The pressure hull contained the fuel-tanks and ballast, and the vessel’s maximum depth was 30m.

The wreck-site was discovered by chance by Kent diver Gerry Jowd and fellow-divers in 1995, upright in 32m depth and in an “amazing state of preservation”, says the NAS. It was protected 10 years later.

The NAS has been diving the wreck annually since 2010 and recording its condition.

“The development of the virtual dive this year means we can now share the experience of diving the wreck with the rest of the world, including the non-diving public,” said NAS Chief Executive Officer and a current licensee of the wreck Mark Beattie-Edwards.

“We hope it can raise awareness and interest in this amazing piece of underwater cultural heritage.”

Dive the Holland 5 here.