Sea scooters are increasingly becoming accessible and popular. If you’ve come here, there is a big chance that you have technical and practical questions about them ! Well, you’ve reached the right place!
We’ve compiled for you valuable information about underwater scooters. All you’ll have to do is to carry on reading below! Let’s dive right in!
Sea scooters: 101
What are sea scooters?
Sea scooters are commonly called aqua scooters, underwater scooters or DPV (diving propulsion vehicle). These submersible devices are part of diving equipment. They indeed are used by scuba divers to increase their range underwater, while conserving their air and energy. Therefore, they are able to increase their potential diving time.
Most modern underwater scooters rely on rechargeable electric batteries as power source. But how can they move forward? Well, sea scooters use a propelling system at the rear to produce forward propulsion. But some models possess 2 propellers that can be located at the sides of the scooter, depending on how it was designed. This is similar to how underwater drones work.
When where they invented?
Like many other inventions, sea scooters were created to be used by the military. The process shaping the DPVs we know today began about 70 years ago. As a matter of fact, during WII, the Italian navy used manned torpedos to attack enemy ships.
Next, the British adopted this technology, adapted it and eventually created it motorized submersible canoes. They were used to stealthily transport soldiers and their equipment during combat operations.
The American underwater demolition teams used this tech as well. They then developed it and deployed in 1972 as SEAL delivery vehicle or SDV. It could be used to land special operation forces or plant mines on the hull of enemy ships.
What are sea scooters used for?
After the military, DPVs were adopted by marine researchers and professional divers. For professional uses, underwater scooters can be used in the following cases:
- Make dives more efficient, less physically demanding. This increases dive times while moving in a quicker manner.
- Help move bulky equipment. This is very important, for instance during underwater caves exploration, technical dives or during maintenance operations of underwater installations.
- Underwater professional videography: camera equipment can be rigged onto DPVs to make the task easier.
- Monitoring athlethes and filming them during water sports events, for example during free diving competitions or training sessions.
Moreover, the last decade, sea scooters became available for the consumer market and more affordable. You can use them for snorkeling, scuba diving and seascape exploration.
Where to use them?
Whether in your pool, in water park resorts or in open ocean, the common factor is water. Sea scooters should be used only in water, otherwise you can induce its propelling system to overheat and irreversibly damage it!
It is also important to operate it in recommended temperatures and water depths.
Who can use them?
In the recent years, as the market for underwater scooters grew, you can find models for adults as well as models for kids!
Sea scooters for adults are usually bulkier, heavier and boast superior capabilities than those for kids. They, for example, can have superior thrust abilities.
On the other hand, aqua scooters for kids, are light and are more compact for further ease of use. However, they usually come with inferior capabilities: less thrust power and limited diving depths as well as positive buoyancy. It means that when left in the water, the scooter will float up to the surface.
Sea scooters: technicalities
How to use them?
There can be differences on how to operate them from a DPV model to another. However, they are very simple to use. The common factors to remember is to continuously push on the trigger while putting both hands on the handles. Some have safety features and stop functioning once you take off your hand from the trigger. Check out this post if you are interested in sea scooters safety.
Are underwater scooters waterproof?
This is a good question, if you consider that electronic devices and water do not get along very well. These scooters, in order to function, rely on powerful electrical batteries and electronic circuitry. And because you use them in water, they come enclosed in water-sealed bodies. This is one of the reasons why you should use them as recommended by the manufacturer.
The water tight housing has a pressure limit, above which it can let water in. So, to answer your question: yes they’re waterproof as long as the housing is properly sealed and as long as you use them in the specified water depth.
How heavy are they?
Sea scooters come in a variety of weights. You can easily come across models weighing 3.5 kg (7.7 lbs), 14 kg (31 lbs) or even 20 kg (45 lbs) and more! Many considerations were taken into account by the designers in regards to the weight. For instance:
- The user: is it for kids or for adults? For recreational use or advanced users?
- Battery capacity and power output
- Depth rating
Sea scooter weight limit
Underwater scooters are not all created equal! Don’t expect a kids scooter to perform well while being used by a full grown adult, even if most humans have near neutral buoyancy in water. Thrust power is the parameter to consider when wondering whether a sea scooter is convenient for your weight or not.
You might want to know more about our selection of sea scooters for heavy adults, in this case just click on the link.
A big majority of underwater scooters can be operated for 60 minutes. Some less capable ones have a battery life of only 30 minutes. But surprisingly, other models can reach 120 minutes runtime, while at the same time having an approachable price. For instance, the Yamaha RDS250 comes at a price of around $410!
3 km/h (1.8 mph) to 5 km/h (3.1 mph) seems to be an average speed most sea scooters cruise at. But some more advanced ones can even reach speeds of 8 km/h (5 mph) to 9 km/h (5.6 mph)!
Some basic sea scooters can’t exceed 4.5 meters (15ft) in depth. However most of them will be able to reach depths of 30 meters (100ft) and even 70 meters (230ft) for some more advanced ones.
There’s one key feature that you should know regarding depth: try not to exceed it when sea scootering at the risk of provoking the failure of the device, namely water infiltration inside the housing.
Is a sea scooter suited for salt or freshwater?
Well, most sea scooters are made for saltwater. Nonethells, that does not prevent you from using yours in freshwater. But keep in mind that scooter buoyancy depends on the diving environment. A certain model can have a positive buoyancy in saltwater (float) at a given depth, but in freshwater it could simply sink at the same depth!
You should be doing adequate research before using or buying a sea scooter in order to make sure it suits your needs.
Where to buy sea scooters?
If you want to purchase and underwater scooter, you might consider the 3 possibilities below:
- E-commerce websites: Amazon, GearBest, AliExpress, and Banggood, just to name a few.
- Specialized stores in diving equipment or water sports: you can access them on their websites or directly in physical stores.
- Manufacturers’ websites directly: some of them sell directly to customers, if not you’ll be at least able to know the certified vendors and distributors.
Here are some tips before you make your purchase:
- Browse the prices on the 3 categories, discounts are not a rare thing, but generally e-commerce websites are the most competitive price-wise.
- If you settled to buy from a specialized store, make sure that it is recognized by the manufacturer. You don’t want hurdles if it comes to using your scooter warranty.
Can you rent a sea scooter?
If you’re the occasional snorkeler or scuba diver, buying a sea scooter can’t be a viable option for you. Lucky for you, some scuba diving or snorkeling resorts offer rental services for underwater scooters (in addition to other equipment). All you have to do is ask whether they offer such services before booking your diving session.
Furthermore, this can be a good opportunity for those of you who think about buying one but want to try it out before the purchase!
Can you take a sea scooter on a plane?
Some of you must travel by plane if they want to use a sea scooter. Hence the question above. Some scooters do comply with some airline policies and can even be placed in hand luggage. But some others do not. You should typically take a look at:
- Battery technology: although most batteries are lithium-ion batteries, some other types may be used and may be subject to different airline regulations.
- Maximum battery power allowed on hand luggage or checked luggage.
We also recommend that you do some research regarding allowed and non-allowed materials on your airline website.
We suggest that you take a look on our post regarding the most portable sea scooters!