If you’ve ever tried to swim underwater, you know it’s not exactly the easiest thing in the world to do… especially when you’re loaded down with heavy scuba gear. That’s why underwater scooters are fast becoming a popular accessory for divers and underwater explorers of all stripes. Using a “scuba scooter” lets you travel further underwater, and allows you to do so while expending less energy.
And that means you conserve the air reserves in your tank, so you can spend more time underwater. Even if you’re not a dedicated deep-sea diver, an underwater sea scooter is a handy little tool for the diving novice or interested beginner. Or, like the self-balancing scooter, it can just be a lot of fun. Underwater scooter, sea scooter, and DPV (Diver Propulsion Vehicle) all represent the same thing and are therefore used interchangeably. An underwater scooter is basically a compact, watertight device that is designed with one or more propellers to pull divers through the water.
They are often used by scuba divers to move around seascapes quickly without expending much energy. A diver can thus save a lot of breathing air. Sea scooters are also used for recreational purposes. If you want to perform some simple underwater exploration or snorkeling, DPVs will help you do exactly that.
Sea scooters have taken diving to another level. With these devices, divers can get to depths they could not have reached. Long ranges that were a matter of life and death to humans can now be done safely with underwater scooters. These aquatic technologies offer new and greater possibilities in diving. If you have a dream of becoming a diver, you need to begin exploring different models so that you can identify one that fits your needs.
Top Underwater Scooters of 2021
This is a nifty little sea scooter. The Yamaha RDS250 is capable of propelling you along at 2.5 mph, with a maximum depth of 100 feet. Overall, the device weighs about 18 pounds, and its batteries give it an operational life of two hours of continuous use.
An interesting feature of the Yamaha RDS250 is that it includes a camera mount, so you can attach your GoPro camera to the scooter and film your undersea adventures. It also comes with a detachable buoyancy control chamber for saltwater diving.
Another Yamaha offering, the RDS300 provides you with a somewhat swifter means of propulsion, with a top speed of 3 mph. Its maximum operational depth is also 100 feet, but its running time is only about an hour and thirty minutes.
A big plus to the RDS300 is its heavy-duty rubber hull, which is able to withstand a great deal of wear and tear. It also comes with two-level rotational speed control, which offers you a little more versatility during your underwater exploration.
Like the RDS250, the RDS300 underwater scooter also has camera mounts for your GoPro.
Sublue WhiteShark Mix
This one looks a bit different from the other water scooters on this list.
The Sublue WhiteShark Mix is a powerful, versatile, and lightweight sea scooter—and as an added bonus, it comes in three color schemes. It can attain a blistering speed of 3.35 mph with a fully charged battery and can attain an impressive depth of 131 feet.
Perhaps best of all, the Sublue WhiteShark is light in the hand, weighing only about 6.3 pounds. Like many other underwater scooters, it comes with camera attachments so you can record your undersea exploits.
The Yamaha Seal is a good, inexpensive choice for an underwater scooter, particularly if you’re more interested in recreational activities than rigorous underwater exploration. The Yamaha Seal’s top speed is 2 mph, and its maximum depth is 15 feet.
So this is clearly not intended for the serious deep-sea diver. But it is perfect for beginners and those who are looking to add a little fun to their beach trips. It’s also great for snorkeling adventures.
JetPilot Sea Doo Dolphin
Like the Yamaha Seal, the JetPilot Sea Doo Dolphin is a great sea scooter for beginners and recreational users.
It has an operational life of 1.5 hours on fully charged batteries, and it achieves a maximum depth of 15.5 feet. With a top speed of 2 mph, it may not be the fastest underwater scooter on the list, but it certainly gets the job done.
Another plus to the JetPilot Sea Doo Dolphin, if you’re a recreational user, is that it is suitable for the use of children over the age of eight. This makes it perfect for family use during beach or snorkel outings.
Apollo AV-2 Evolution
The Apollo AV-2 Evolution is designed for the serious underwater explorer. It’s not a cheap piece of equipment by any means—it’s meant to last, and it has some of the more impressive specs for the scooters on this list.
The Apollo AV-2 Evolution can reach depths of 230 feet, and it can attain speeds of 2.8 mph. Its running time is nearly two hours, and a 3-speed prop feature provides the kind of control and versatility prized by experienced divers.
Given its price point, the Apollo AV-2 Evolution is certainly not for the novice. This piece of equipment is intended for professional, experienced users.
Windek Sublue Seabow Smart Underwater Scooter
The Windek Sublue Seabow Smart Underwater Scooter is another sea scooter that is geared primarily to the serious diver.
It has a sleek, torpedo shape, but even so, it has a fairly nice top speed: about 5 mph. This scooter has a pretty slow recharge time, about 6 hours—but again, this is more than made up for by its lengthy operational time of over 3 hours. That’s why the Windek Sublue Seabow Smart Underwater Scooter is perfect for experienced divers intending to do some serious deepwater exploration.
Hoverstar AquaJet Dive H2
The Hoverstar AquaJet Dive H2 has a sleek design that makes it look like a manta ray—by far, it’s the coolest-looking of any of the underwater scooters on this list. It can also pull you along at a breakneck 5.6 mph. It does sacrifice depth rating to attain these speeds since it can only reach about 66 feet below the waves.
It has a running time of a little over an hour and a half, which, when coupled with its unmatched speed, means the AquaJet Dive H2 can allow you to do some serious exploring. It’s also a pricey little device, so bear that in mind.
DET 24V 300W
With its yellow-and-black color scheme, the DET 24V 300W looks like a giant underwater bumblebee.
It can attain a maximum depth of 98 feet, and a fully charged battery will give you an operational time of one hour. Some of its bonus features include leather-covered handles to prevent slippage, and it has easy-to-use switches on both sides to control power and acceleration.
The Yamaha 500Li underwater scooter is another great choice for serious divers and underwater explorers. It’s certainly one of the faster scooters, with a speed rating of 4.35 mph, and it can attain a depth of 130 feet. It comes with 3-level rotational speed control, and—like most of Yamaha’s underwater scooters—it features camera mounts for your GoPro.
But one of the Yamaha 500Li’s best features is its battery level indicators, which means you don’t have to guess how much battery life you still have left in your scooter. So now that you’ve got the lowdown on the top underwater scooters, it’s time to decide which one best suits your needs.
That, of course, depends on whether you’re a serious, professional diver, or whether you’re just interested in something for recreational purposes.
History of Underwater Scooters
The thought behind underwater scooters was motivated by human torpedoes during World War II. They were initially designed as weapons for war by Italy and they included moderate running torpedoes guided by submerged jumpers. Although much less damaging, DPVs follow a similar thought of moving divers under the water. Only that they are today used to enhance diving range rather than destroying ships.
Several other different devices have been created from the first invention and they played a significant role in bringing up the idea about underwater scooters. These comprised of swimmer delivery vehicles (SDVs) that were utilized by the naval force, sub-skimmers (a sort of sub inflatable boat), wet subs (a kind of little submarine), and towed sleds. Towed sleds are more like sea scooters in principle, as they are equally used to propel divers around the underwater world. The main difference is that they are boards towed by a boat instead of being freely controlled.
Over the years, recreational and sporting sea scooters have been developed – providing a convenient tool for divers. Thanks to the wide range of inventions made in the past, generally utilized by maritime forces. Modern underwater scooters are easy to use, effective and accessible. Underground scooters can generally be categorized into two types:
Amateur Underwater Scooters
These are cheap solutions that cost just several hundred dollars. They often have a plastic casing that houses the internal elements. The engines of these scooters are started using a button that is located on the outside. You need to press this button continuously when using the device. You stop these kinds of scooters by releasing the button. Just as their name suggests, the amateur underwater scooters are perfect for starters.
Professional Underwater Scooters
These are very expensive with their prices averaging several thousand dollars. These sea scooters have an aluminum housing and they come with high quality batteries that enable them to operate for long durations. The unique thing about professional scooters is that you can operate them with one hand.
How Underwater Scooters Work?
Basically, an underwater scooter is designed with a propeller and electric motor. These and other parts are enclosed in a housing that offers comfortable handles to hold. You just need to hold firmly on these handles and the scooter will propel you to wherever you want. Most have a trigger for starting the engine on the handle.
Of course, there is a wide range of sea scooters available today. They come in different capacities, sizes, and prices. These underwater vehicles are designed in a way that they cannot damage other equipment or hurt the diver. Besides, they are built with certain security features so that they don’t start accidentally.
Some powerful models enable divers to move faster and cover long underwater distances. With DPVs, it’s now easy to explore marine life and enjoy the beauty of the underwater world. Divers use these devices to discover new exciting places and sites. This is one of the main reasons why underwater scooters are esteemed. As small as they are, they help divers and explorers to make accomplish what was once impossible.
Who Can Use Sea Scooters?
Previously, sea scooters were mainly employed by the cave and technical divers to get to deeper levels and caves. But these days, they are widely available and popular with any certified diver. However, there are restrictions with regard to age and expertise in diving so that children or inexperienced individuals do not risk their lives with these devices.
If you want to use them and experience the excitement of moving underwater, you should have at least basic diving skills such as emergency procedures and buoyancy. So ensure to get the right skills and relevant certification before you begin exploring the underground world with DPV.
How to Dive Using Underground Scooter
To know if you can make a successful dive using a DPV, you just need to make a test dive, of course, under the guidance of an instructor.
Doing so will help you to learn how to operate an underwater scooter. Definitely, you will want to do more dives once you learn how to do it. If you are really ambitious about diving, enroll in a scooter diving course. You will learn the ins and outs of using sea scooters as well as what to do during an emergency situation.
A course on sea scooters is not an option if you want to use these devices for diving, recreation, or sports. Underwater scooter courses offer learners the skills and knowledge they need to use these devices safely. If you mess just a little while under the water, your life will be at high risk. This proves the need to learn all that you need to know before getting your hands on the sea scooter.
You will learn practically how to handle this device and operate it under the water. The good thing about being guided by an expert is that you gain the confidence to learn new things. So if you intend to use DPVs in diving or other purposes in the future, you can begin learning as early as now. Once you complete the course, you will be awarded a certificate and that is what will entitle you to hire an underground scooter whenever you want to dive and fun under the water.
What to Consider When Buying a Sea Scooter
Today there is a wide range of scooter models in the market, and each has certain unique features. This variety can make it very tricky to choose the ideal equipment. Depending on your intended purpose, whether recreational, sporting, or diving, there are a couple of factors to consider. Here are the critical things to look out for as you shop for a sea scooter.
These devices are battery powered, meaning that you can only use them when their battery is charged. Most importantly, your scooter will be as good as its battery. So, it is critical to find out how long a particular underwater scooter can run. Running time will let you know whether the device will suit your intended use. It will also help you understand associated limitations.
If you are a beginner, you should go for a scooter with a battery life of about 40 – 50 minutes. More serious and experienced divers would most likely prefer scooters with a longer lifespan of about 2 hours. Such duration can work best for long ranges and deep-sea divers.
Speed is another major factor to consider when choosing an ideal sea scooter. If you buy a model that travels faster, you will be able to move quickly and cover longer distances. So long range divers should go for faster and powerful scooters. If you are not into long range diving, then a standard model with average speed will fit your purpose.
An underground scooter that can propel for about 3km/h is ideal for first-timers or people who don’t intend to make fast moves. The speed of a scooter dictates its price. This means that more expensive scooters are faster and more powerful. So the kind of diving or purpose you intend to perform should determine the model you choose in terms of speed.
The primary purpose of a sea scooter is underwater use, and so it is essential to consider how deep the scooter can go. The depth range for a sea scooter is between 15ft to 230ft.
It’s also important to consider the model, as the scooter model also varies with depth. For beginner divers, whereby a sea scooter is a surfing accessory, gadget, or pool toy, it’s good to go for a lower depth scooter. However, for great scuba divers, a scooter that can go deeper than 20 meters is the best for them.
A scooter with a 3 – 4 km/ h speed (2 to 2.5mph) works best for beginners since a low maximum speed device ensures their safety. This speed also quenches their thirst for adventure. However, experienced divers may prefer something a little faster. These could be underwater scooters with a high-speed range from 4 to 6.5Km/h (2.5 to 4 mph). Additionally, scooters can attain an incredible speed as high as 9km/h (5.6mph). These are a great fit for expert divers.
A sea scooter with a positive buoyancy label indicates that the device will float up to the surface when you use it in seawater. The contrary is that it will sink when you use it in a pool or freshwater. This situation requires that you carry enough battery to help you go back to the surface if in freshwater. Otherwise, the condition can lead to death if you go to depths you can’t manage swimming.
However, some aqua scooters have zero buoyancy (neutral buoyancy), which means they can neither sink nor float. Whether you are using your underwater scooter in freshwater or seawater, the situation depends on whether you are using your underwater scooter, where floating chances are high. Nonetheless, you can acquire a scooter that floats excellently in water, add ballast (weight) to it and use it in saltwater to weigh it down.
Manufactures indicate on the scooter the type of water their scooter is fit for. Before using any scooter, ensure to read the description on the cover. Underwater sea scooters used in seawater usually have cleaning instructions written on them. Ensure you follow the instruction once you are back on land since salt can seriously cause damage to your device if not cleaned properly.
To be safe underwater, pay attention to the estimated maximum run time for your sea scooter. The majority of the devices have at least one hour of battery life before they need recharging. However, the best sea scooter options offer up to two hours of run time. If you opt for a sea scooter with a lower run time, then it’s good to carry an extra battery with you to avoid running out of battery while in great depths.
The standard battery keeps charge for durations that are enough for you to have fun and explore the underwater world. So the important thing is to choose a scooter with batteries that can serve your intended purpose. More expensive scooters come with batteries that can serve you for long periods. But of course, not everyone might afford them.
The scooter’s weight depends on who the scooter is for and the environment in which to use it. The majority of underwater scooters weigh under 10kg (20 pounds). The weight can pose a challenge with regard to carrying it around when not in use.
It’s essential to know the kind of scooter you are dealing with before you dive. You can run out of battery while you are deep underwater. The situation will force you to swim to the surface with the weight of the scooter. To avoid this, ensure you keep checking the LED indicator status in case your scooter has one. However, if your underwater scooter is buoyant, then you shouldn’t worry because it will float.
Things to Consider During Sea Diving with Scooters
Swimming, diving, or snorkeling is fun and adventurous when using a sea scooter. However, there are some essential things you need to put into consideration when you are diving with sea scooters. Sea scooters facilitate swimming, diving, and snorkeling, especially for disabled people. They increase diver’s range, making it easy to navigate underwater while carrying heavy equipment. The dive scooter makes it easy for rescue divers to explore more expansive fields.
It’s only a trained and experienced diver who should use a sea scooter. You should start by using snorkeling with a sea scooter first if you aren’t trained in scuba diving. The risk of suffering from pulmonary damage is lower if you go a depth of up to 3m(10ft). Below are some other things to consider when you begin diving with aqua scooters:
Depth Control with Sea Scooters
Ensure you know how deep you are when diving with your scooter since most scooters have restrictions on the depth, and going above the depth may cause the scooter to stop.
Before diving, ensure you are aware of the essential techniques for ascending and descending. However, you can still opt for a sea scooter for swimming and snorkeling if you aren’t trained and experienced in scuba diving.
Monitoring of Breathing Gas
The range of your dive tour relies on the capacity of your breathing gas pump. While at deep depth, ensure you keep checking on your breathing gas, as it is critical for diver safety.
It’s vital always to monitor your environment. During your diving adventure, you might get trapped, or sea plants might get trapped in your sea scooter and block the impeller or propeller. Thus, ensure you keep an eye on other divers, obstacles, and boats before your start and throughout your underwater adventure. This prevents unnecessary accidents.
Know your Limits
When diving, ensure you maintain the depth you can reach without using a scooter. It always feels wonderful when you surpass your limits when engaging in a sports activity. However, it’s still good to be cautious not to overdo when the scooter is the one doing the work for you. The scooter might suddenly stop while you are in-depth you can’t handle, and this might cause a catastrophe.
Safety Comes First
Some underwater scooters are pretty fast. If you are using one of the powerful, faster models, you should have a mastery of how to maneuver with the device so that you don’t hurt other devices or yourself. If you are not an expert in diving, useless fast scooter to guarantee your safety under the water.
Making fast moves under the water can make you cover huge distances within a short time. But you need to be experienced in handling a seas scooter to make fast safe moves. Sometimes, you might accidentally exceed your normal speed.
To avoid this, ensure to check the display screen often to monitor your speed and other elements of the device as you use it. You will know when to go deeper, move slower, or get back to the surface.
It can be life threatening if you are caught unaware by some happenings such as over speeding or low battery. Before you get into the water, always check and ensure that your DPV is in good working condition. You would not want your fun to get cut short too soon.
FAQ About Sea Scooters
Are Sea Scooters Safe?
Like other scooters, there are some precautions you need to take to guarantee safety. DPVs are safe so long as you operate them within the limits outlined by the maker. These include charging the battery correctly, respecting weight capacity, cleaning salt and other chemicals, and using it within the specified depth and speed. To observe all the recommendations and guidelines, ensure to read the instruction manual to know how to use it correctly.
Can I dive with an underground scooter without an instructor?
These scooters are readily available in the market such that you can acquire one whenever you want. Besides, it seems simple to learn how to handle a scooter. But, please do not get into the water with the device without an instructor if you haven’t done it before.
Holding on the handles and getting propelled seems simple but it is not as easy as it seems. There is a lot that you need to know in terms of operating the device, and maintaining it as well. It is dangerous to use an underground scooter if you’re not trained.
How to store underwater scooters over some time
If you don’t intend to use your scooter for some time, or you want to store it over the winter, you need to make a checkup. Ensure that the O-rings are still tightly sealed and that the battery is functioning properly. Before you store your scooter, clean it thoroughly to remove any salt residuals or other chemicals the device might have collected while underwater.
Once you complete the checkup process, store your scooter in a dark, dry place where it is not exposed to sunlight and heat. After every three months, remove the battery and charge it. Doing that will ensure the scooter is ready for use when you resume.
Once the batteries are over four years old, replace them since they most likely will not have the capability to hold a charge for long. You would not want to get underwater with batteries that drain very fast.
Are Underwater Scooters easy to transport?
These scooters are lightweight and compact so they can be lifted easily and carried around with ease. You can comfortably lift an underground scooter and place it into a vehicle. Besides, you don’t need a separate trailer for carrying the scooter around. Its small size means it can fit in small spaces.