Johnson Sea Link (JSL)

Photo Credit: NOAA

Description: The Johnson-Sea-Link I and II were retired by Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in 2011 after their support ship the R/V Seward Johnson was sold to Cepemar Environmental Services of Brazil.The Johnson-Sea-Link (JSL) I and II are owned and operated by Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. At 23.6 ft long, 10.9 ft high and 8.3 ft wide, these highly maneuverable submersibles can dive to a depth of 3,000 ft and travel at a maximum speed of one knot. Edwin Albert Link, engineer, inventor, and friend of Harbor Branch founder Seward Johnson, working at Harbor Branch, designed and built the JSL in 1971, at Mr. Johnson’s request. Harbor Branch constructed the JSL II, which is virtually identical to the JSL I, in 1975.The JSL has two separate pressure hulls and can accommodate four people. Aft compartment occupants enter the sub through a bottom-facing 20 inch-wide hatch. The front chamber, which contains the sub’s controls, is a 5-ft-diameter sphere made of five-in thick, clear acrylic. It provides a panoramic view for the pilot and one observer. Because acrylic is a good insulator and hampers conductivity of cold ocean temperatures, the front compartment actually requires air conditioning. The second chamber, the stern compartment, houses another crewmember and a second observer. The occupants have access to two side view ports and a video monitor.