William Bourne’s Impact on Ocean Exploration


By: Eileen Elliott, Journalist

William Bourne was an English mathematician and former Royal Navy gunner who significantly impacted ocean exploration. He designed one of the first recorded submarines. In 1578, he designed his submarine. It was an enclosed wooden boat wrapped in waterproof leather to be submerged and rowed from under the water’s surface. Although this design was never built, it inspired many other submarine designs.

Cornelius Drebbel

From 1620 to 1624, Cornelius Drebbel, a Dutch engineer, built two successful designs similar to Bourne’s. He presented his third ship in front of King James I and thousands of civilians. It managed to go 15 feet below the surface and navigated underwater for 3 hours.

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