New Hawaii Submarine Shuttle Tale Sparks Massive Internet Buzz

Last week, we got alerted to a Facebook post that alleged a new interisland submarine was being launched that would be connecting Maui and Oahu. Crazy idea, right? Or perhaps an early April Fool’s. Well, since then, the notion has gotten a whole lot of notoriety, and today, it went even further.

The post from a fan page entitled The State of Hawaii announced that a “Submarine Shuttle Service Launched Between Oahu and Maui: A Revolutionary Underwater Journey.” It was popular enough to have garnered 10k reactions, 9k shares, and 2,600 comments since it was published. At first, it looks real, but then look at the state seal attached that says, “We Go Surf.”

The post said Subsea Transit Inc. was launching a “submarine shuttle service” between Oahu and Maui. Who wouldn’t be at least curious about the idea? It caught our attention.

What it reported would be a “unique and cost-effective alternative to traditional air and sea travel, while providing an unforgettable underwater experience” turned out to be nothing more than a spoof. In that regard, Snopes, which calls itself the “Definitive Internet reference source for researching urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation,” also just chimed in.

The now obviously fake “state-of-the-art submarine,” the “Aqua Voyager,” was said to be preparing to begin service for up to 100 passengers per voyage while providing comfort and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.

In a further entertainment move, the page announced that the company’s CEO, “Dr. Marina Deepwater,” said the company would provide the 115-mile underwater journey in four hours. The Facebook page said pricing for the submarine service would be “on par with high-end ferry services.”

Hawaii is, however, truly starved for alternative transportation.

Hawaii faces severe interisland transportation challenges due to its geography and infrastructure limitations. The distance between islands and the high cost of developing and maintaining infrastructure pose significant obstacles to the development of alternative interisland transportation. So it comes as no surprise that this page and post, apparently entirely designed to entertain, caught tens of thousands of people by surprise.

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Hawaii’s existing transportation system via air travel has long been entrenched. It is “the bus” for those of us who live here. Its ease, familiarity, and relatively low cost make for a less urgent need for alternative transportation solutions. And yet, there is still a need and a desire for something different.

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Don’t rock the Hawaii interisland flight boat.

What is indeed on the horizon, however, is the Seaglider Initiative. If successful, which remains to be seen for many reasons, it would be a complete disruptor to interisland transportation. That project, which is being supported by the airlines, including both Hawaiian and Southwest, is due to launch by the end of the decade.

While there have long been discussions, proposals, and attempts to achieve alternative interisland transportation, including the Superferry, these initiatives have all faced many obstacles, from financial to environmental and resistance from residents and existing transport providers. It isn’t clear whether Seaglider will meet the same fate, especially given its airline and multi-industry backing.

In conclusion, it’s no wonder that this spoof would have garnered so much interest despite it being entirely false and misleading. That being said, Hawaii’s challenges to establishing alternative interisland transportation options due to unique geography, entrenched transportation systems, economic considerations, and infrastructure continue to cause great interest in potential developments.

Snopes take on Hawaii submarine.

In its investigation, here’s what Snopes had to say: Our research uncovered no company named SubSea Transit Inc. — certainly, at least, there is no company with that name that has successfully launched a submarine shuttle service in Hawaii. Because the post comes from an entertainment page pretending to be associated with the state of Hawaii, Snopes rates the announcement ‘False.'”

Furthermore, it’s interesting, if not strange, that Facebook allows the page to exist, given that it also spoofs the official State of Hawaii Facebook page.

Do you want alternatives to interisland flights?

Lead image: Facebook.

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20 thoughts on “New Hawaii Submarine Shuttle Tale Sparks Massive Internet Buzz”

  1. I’ve followed the mentioned spoof account on Facebook for years, and I really enjoy the humor and creativity of the posts. It’s so clearly a spoof page that I’m shocked anyone would think it’s legitimate.

  2. It would be like the super ferry..environment crazies would say someone might give an endangered fish the stink eye

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  3. I don’t understand why turboprop planes haven’t got traction in Hawaii. They are prevalent on mainland short hops and are more cost effective than jets for these flights. I know companies have tried (Mid Pacific, Island Air, Ohana). I guess the consumers opt for the quicker jets but I would imagine there would be a market for cheaper flights.

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  4. This

    “unique and cost-effective alternative to traditional air and sea travel”

    should have given it away. Maybe when the Fed decrees that all commercial airliners be electric that might be true.

  5. Too bad it’s a spoof. It would be a fun voyage.

    We’ve encountered tour subs while diving in Mexico. The passengers seem to like us waving at them from outside.

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      1. Mike,

        Airbus is not without its problems:
        “As of March 2024 , 180 aviation accidents and incidents have occurred, including 38 hull loss accidents, resulting in a total of 1490 fatalities.”
        en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_accidents_and_incidents_involving_the_Airbus_A320_family

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      2. Those don’t run too deep underwater. If that happened I can swim to the surface.

        Much better than plummeting 35,000 feet!

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        1. Meghan,

          You have to escape the sub before you can get to the surface. This would depend on the nature of an accident or system failure. I would hate to be the last in line to get out of the sub—I probably wouldn’t make it.

          I didn’t see the post you were replying to. So, I’m assuming this is about an accident or something similar. If the sub starts to sink, goodbye surface.

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          1. I was replying to Mike J’s comment about doors blowing out on Boeing aircraft, I assume he was referring to the recent Alaska Air incident.

            Of course if such a thing happened on a submarine the hatch would come inside the vessel, followed by a lot of water. If you were struck by the door or knocked against a bulkhead by the water your goose might be cooked. But otherwise once the water pressure had equalized theoretically you could get out & swim to the surface. Not unlike how they show people getting out of submerged cars. Assuming you are a halfway decent swimmer, that is.

            When we’ve encountered tour subs we were about 25-30 feet below the surface. Several hundred feet down would be another matter, of course.

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  6. Imagine if Hawaii outsourced transport to Elon Musk the same way NASA is using Musks’ SpaceX to launch rockets.
    Big Government always fails to produce anything useful. Look at the 10 billion wasted on the Honolulu Skyline Rail with only 3100 riders a day subsidized by taxpayer money at $74 per trip.
    That $10 billion would have purchased a fleet of subs or sea gliders.
    Sad State.

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  7. Maybe this is the “Hawaii Five-O’s Russian Spy Submarine” in disguise.
    This is where the submarine could be seen off the coast of Waikiki.
    I loved that series’ episode.

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  8. Okay, here we go again! Electric flying boats first, next a submarine. Sure. Yes, it’s probably a ‘spoof’, but let’s face it, it would be soooo cool!! Maybe they could equip it with torpedos and it could also be used by the Navy to interdict Chinese submarines lurking about the islands. Imagine, being on board enrounte to Maui, and have the Captain broadcast on the 1MC, “All crew, man your battle stations!” Well, give me some slack here. I could happen, couldn’t it??? ;0)

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  9. The State of Hawaii has clearly created a page for hysterical satire. What’s funny, to me, is all the people who join the page oblivious to it’s satirical nature. Their reactions are off the wall!

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    1. Yes! It’s clearly not operated by the actual State of Hawaii, and is equally clearly an Onion-type satire page (da Onion kine!)… well, at least “equally clearly” to perceptive people; some of the comments there by people who appear to take the content seriously are hilarious!

  10. one of the reasons I bought in West Maui is to be able to take a flight to Oahu from the Kapalua airport. I would love to see a small, local airline taking on the flights we are now missing …alternatively, I like the idea of the seaglider, as long as they only touch the water when absolutely necessary, since protecting whales, dolphins and turles would still be a priority.

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  11. Haha, snopes is definitely not the definitive source of truth, but I’m sure we all know the submarine was a joke.

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