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Underwater scooters (also called diver propulsion vehicles) are becoming increasingly popular among freedivers and scuba divers who want to maximize their time underwater – covering more distance while conserving energy. You can use an underwater scooter to explore caves, dive deeper on one breath, and help you safely navigate through wreck dive sites.
We’ll share the best underwater scooters on the market, cover the benefits of owning one, and reveal what to look for when choosing a sea scooter for yourself.
Best underwater scooter for multiple divers Buoyancy: -.5 lbs (-.23 kg) Depth Limit: 230 ft (70 m) Weight: 45 lbs (20.4 kg) Speed: 2.8 mph (4.5 kph) Battery Limit: 80 minutes
This underwater scooter is one of the best with responsive speed control, can accommodate multiple divers without greatly hindering performance, hands-free riding saddle, a great all-around underwater scooter for most divers.
One thing we love is its progressive acceleration system that allows you to change the speed while in motion. This allows you to easily adapt to just about any condition, making it a great pick for safety divers and those diving in a group.
Best value underwater scooter for professional divers Buoyancy: Adjustable Depth Limit: 130 ft (40m) Weight: 21 lbs (9.5 kg) Speed: 4.35 mph (7km/h) Battery Limit: 90 minutes
The Yamaha 500LI is one of the best underwater scooters in its class when it comes to speed and power. It has specific features for camera assembly and is easy to adjust. The scooter is easy to maneuver and a prime tool for underwater photographers. Yamaha is one of the best brands to choose from thanks to their reliability–you rarely have to worry about one of their scooters going down mid trip.
Best value underwater scooter for recreational and budget divers Buoyancy: Adjustable Depth Limit: 130 ft (40m) Weight: 17.6 lbs (4kg) Speed: 3.4 mph (5.5 km/h) Battery Limit: 30 minutes
The Sublue Shark Mix underwater scooter is one of the newest underwater scooters to enter the scene. This sea scooter has a wing design, where users hold onto the wings, each with a propeller underneath. It is highly hydrodynamic, allowing the diver to go further without exerting much energy. The downside to this scooter is its short battery life.
The biggest benefit of diving with an underwater scooter is that they’re simply fun. You can go faster, cover more distance, and increase your bottom time all while feeling like you’re on a ride. Everyone from child snorkelers to freedivers to recreational scuba divers to technical divers will enjoy exploring the sea with an underwater scooter. Here are the specific benefits of owning one for yourself:
Less air/gas consumption
Since you won’t be exerting yourself as much as you typically would during a dive, you can stay down longer and surface while still feeling refreshed.
Sea scooters help counter against currents
If you love drift diving, you’ll enjoy it even more with an underwater scooter in your hands. The scooter allows you to maneuver in and out of currents. Or, it can simulate the feeling of a drift dive — just hang on and enjoy the ride.
Since freedivers can descend and ascend without worrying about speed limits, freedivers can use an underwater scooter to reach new depths or as a piece of safety equipment for a safety diver.
Underwater scooters are fun to ride even as a snorkeler. You can ride them over colorful reefs without feeling tired. Kids can hang onto them and ride along side their adult family members while saving energy.
Wreck and cave diving
Trained wreck and cave divers can use the underwater scooter to see compact spaces safely and while staying hydrodynamic.
Scuba divers and freedivers should get additional training on how to pilot an underwater scooter before riding one. Untrained divers may risk exceeding safe ascend and descend rates with an underwater scooter. While scuba diving, an underwater scooter should only be used for horizontal movement. Ascend and descend using your fins instead. TDI, PADI, SSI, and other dive agencies offer DPV/underwater scooter specific training courses. These courses will also teach you what to do if a scooter is stuck in the throttle position, becomes flooded, and how the sea scooter may affect buoyancy.
What to look for in an underwater scooter
The best underwater scooters are made from durable materials like thick polymer or non-corrosive metals. Underwater scooters that are designed to dive deeper tend to be more robust than those meant primarily for shallow recreational divers and snorkelers. If you are traveling with your underwater scooter, you’ll want an even more sturdy underwater scooter that can handle
The buoyancy of the underwater scooter will affect your overall buoyancy while you dive. It’s essential to adjust your weights accordingly when diving with a DPV — especially for underwater scooters that are negatively buoyant. You will need to adjust your BCD to account for you and your sea scooter.
If you’re a recreational scuba diver, you’ll want an underwater scooter that can reach your maximum depth. It doesn’t make sense to dive with a scooter that has a 15 foot limit at a 50 foot deep dive site. Technical divers will want an underwater scooter that can work on their deepest dives.
Some underwater scooters are faster than others and have throttle capabilities. If controlling your speed is important, invest in an underwater scooter that has multiple speed settings or a responsive throttle. Many scooters have just one speed setting.
Underwater scooters range from weighing just a few pounds to over 50 pounds. If you’re traveling with your underwater scooter, make sure it’s light enough for you to carry. You’ll also need to factor the weight for loading the underwater scooter onto the boat and walking with it if you’re venturing out on a shore dive.
Underwater scooters typically last from 45 minutes to just over two hours with consistent use. If you’re doing back-to-back dives, ensure that you choose a sea scooter that can handle at least 90 minutes of consistent use. Travelers also need to check that their battery type is allowed to fly on airplanes.
In the underwater scooter industry, the price of a quality DPV can range from $250 to $4000 and tends to have a strong correlation to its durability and features. If you are a recreational diver, a mid-range underwater scooter will probably meet all your needs. Technical and cave divers will want a very robust and high-end DPV to ensure that it doesn’t break while in a harsh underwater environment. Snorkelers and shallow divers will probably be happy with the lower priced underwater scooters. Most scooters that are below the $250 price point often break after just one or two uses and might be a waste of money.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions about Underwater Scooters
Are underwater scooters safe?
Underwaters scooters are safe if you are already a comfortable scuba diver or freediver. One of the risks of using an underwater scooter is descending or ascending too quickly as a scuba diver. You will want to primarily focus on moving forward, within the same depth, than up or down. It is also important to check on battery levels. For example, never enter a cave system where there is a risk of your scooter battery cutting out before you can turn back.
Freedivers and snorkelers also need to be conscious of equalization when using the scooter. Descending too quickly can lead to squeezes (ear, lung, and mask). You should also be aware of your breath hold and battery level–if the DPV battery dies at depth, you will need to fin yourself and the scooter to the surface.
What is the fastest underwater scooter?
The fastest underwater scooter that we have found is the Yamaha 500LI that reaches a maximum speed of 4.25 mph (7 km/h).
How fast do underwater scooters go?
Most underwater scooters move at speeds ranging from 2 to 4 mph (3.2 to 6.4 km/h).
How do underwater scooters work?
Underwater scooters use a small propeller with a waterproof engine to propel the diver through the water. Most sea scooters are made to be hydrodynamic, allowing for maximum efficiency.