DISBELIEVING walkers on the Leeds and Liverpool canal were confronted with a bizarre sight this week — a fully kitted out submarine.
The craft, which has been moored close to the Botany Bay attraction, near Chorley, comes complete with a turret, periscope, torpedo bay and ‘stealth’ paintwork.
The converted narrowboat, which contrary to its external appearance, cannot submerge, has been created by a Lancashire businessman as a 50th birthday present to himself.
The sub’s owner, who would only identify himself as Steve, said the creation of the craft had been a ‘longstanding dream’.
He said: “Some people will spend £250,000 on a boat or a yacht and just sit in a marina all weekend having a gin and tonic on deck.
“I wanted a submarine, so I thought I’d build it as authentically as possible.”
Over the last six months Steve said he has spent about £25,000 having the boat’s exterior panels fabricated and fitted and the same amount again making the interior as submarine-like as possible.
“I bought a lot of the equipment from Bob’s Bits , who supply hi-tech, futuristic set props,” he said.
“They have produced equipment used on Doctor Who, the Star Wars films, Tomb Raider and the last two Bond films.
“Some of the panels in here were used on episodes of Torchwood.”
The sub is kitted out inside with airlock doors, a periscope and 360 degree video monitors which enable it to be steered from the inside.
There are also authentic sonar and radar systems, infra -red emergency lighting and storage for dummy torpedoes in the sleeping quarters.
Its registration number, emblazoned on the turret is U-8047, which appears to read U-BOAT.
Steve said plans to take the submarine around the country’s inland waterways to different maritime events.
He said: “My dream is to spend time taking it to places like Whitehaven maritime festival or Henley Regatta.
“I’m sure people would be interested to have a look aboard and I’m sure it would put a smile on their faces.”