Call them underwater propulsion devices, dive propulsion devices (DPV), underwater scooters or dive sleds: they’re an invaluable bit of gear to have on your dives. You might want for a specific purpose (like exploring for research), or that purpose might just be to boost the fun and mobility factor of your dive.
An underwater diver propulsion vehicle or scooter will be one of the more expensive items you might buy for diving. There’s a fair bit of tech in these gadgets, but like anything you’re going to get what you pay for here. Prices range from around $500 at the low end up to the low four figures for professional equipment like the Yamaha Seascooter.
What to look for when buying a sea scooter for diving
Most underwater scooters will be very similar when it comes to maximum depth. 30 metres or close to 100 feet is generally the universal capacity, whether it’s a low end or high end product. There are exceptions, for example the AquaRobotMan MagicJet is rated to 50 meters/164 feet depth
Weight and size
The best dive scooters are going to be light weight, compact and not a pain to have with you on your dives. Weight will vary quite considerably across brands and models, but you shouldn’t be put off when looking at scooters that weigh 8kg or more. Smaller (and possibly less robustly built) models can be as light as 3kg.
It’s important to differentiate between serious diving underwater propulsion devices and similarly looking (and similarly marketed) products whcih are targeted at people who might only ever use them in a swimming pool.
Power and speed
How fast can you go? The whole idea of dive scooters is to get you covering more ground quicker. 3mph (4.8 km/h) is where you’ll find yourself with most of these devices. Obviously if you’re going full pelt the entire time, your battery life is going reduce quite a bit.
The inbuilt battery will determine how long you’re going to be able to use the DPV underwater, so you can plan your dives. Most devices will let you switch between high and low speed modes, so you’re able to better conserve battery life. For most of us this will be a big factor in which one to buy and it will vary with, not surprisingly, the higher end products simply having greater capacity for how long you can use it. Some of the ranges you’ll come across are those that use a 4400mAh battery and this will get you about 20 minutes of use at high speed, or 45 minutes at low speed. Top of the line models like the Yamaha RDS300 will let you enjoy around an hour and a half of underwater action when used in standard mode.
If you’re looking to step up and use the device as more than just for propulsion, models with inbuilt cameras