Updated: December 2017
Sea Scooter Reviews:If you like to go snorkeling or scuba diving, you should consider buying a sea scooter. Sea scooters are becoming more popular with underwater enthusiasts who want the extra propulsion to move them along. On a recent trip to Hawaii I was introduced to the Sea Doo Dolphin Sea Scooter on a snorkeling adventure. Sea Doo produces over 6 of these underwater propulsion machines. You will see the term DPV associated with these, it is short for diver propulsion vehicle, also called an underwater scooter. The idea behind these sea scooters is to increase the underwater range for the diver. The less exertion necessary by the diver means their air supply can last longer.
Although the DPV's are most often seen with cave divers and technical diving expeditions, you will see them in use for snorkeling and recreational diving. The guy who had one on our snorkeling trip in Hawaii was able to use much less energy while diving below the surface to get a better look at the marine life. I find that when snorkeling I can go down to about 15 feet a few times during the time in the water before I start losing lung capacity. With the use of a sea scooter, you are able to maximize your breathing and get more time down with the fish, turtles, rays, and eels. Some of the diving and snorkeling operations rent them by the hour - ask about them next time you go diving.
Choosing a Sea Scooter- A diver propulsion vehicle is really quite basic in design with an electric motor that is battery powered. Behind the motor is the propeller which has protective grilles or a cage so that no diving equipment or body parts can get entangled with it. Most underwater sea scooters have dual trigger controls and all that we researched have auto shut off for safety purposes. The waterproof circuitry is a key feature on sea scooters - obviously you don't want water to harm the inner workings. Buoyancy is another factor that all divers and snorkelers need to consider. The more buoyant the DPV is the more you will need to work to keep it underwater and going in the direction you want (down or even in a straight line). The Sea Doo GTI Sea Scooter has an adjustable buoyancy making dives of all depths much easier. SPEED - The Aquanaut is the slowest we found at 1 MPH and it's meant for kids 8-10 years of age - basically a training tool for future snorkeling and diving. The Sea Doo Dolphin goes up to 2 MPH and still meant for swimming pools and basic snorkeling along the waters surface. The Sea Doo Seascooter Explorer can reach speeds up to 3.3 MPH with a run time of 2 hours. The new BladeFish 5000/7000 Turbo DPV Sea Scooter claims speeds of up to 4 MPH.
The Bladefish has a slightly different design and runs on an 18 Volt lithium ion battery. The few reviews we could find for this model are positive and owners mention the ease of use and rapid charge battery. Battery Life - Any good diver knows how much time they will have underwater so they can manage the trip length and make sure they have plenty of oxygen left in their tank just in case. The high end Explorer from Sea Doo gives you up to 2 hours of run time based on normal use. The Seascooter Pro has 1 hour of battery life associated with each charge. Expect between 1 hour and 2 hours of battery life as the range available in most DPV's. DEPTH - The popular Dolphin Seascooter goes to about 15 feet (or 5 meters) - perfect for snorkeling in shallow waters. The GTI Seascooter will go down to 30 M (100 feet). The Explorer has the capability to reach 40 meters. The high end Tusa SAV-7 Underwater Scooter has a depth rating of up to 230 feet. Weight - The deeper they go, the more weight they are. The Tusa weighs over 50 pounds (probably due to the lead battery). The Dolphin weighs 12 pounds, but keep in mind that weight in water is not that big a deal as there is a big buoyancy factor. Other Features - Look for models with variable speed control, LED battery indicator, and one hand operation or in some cases the saddle allows for hands free operation (like with the Tusa SAV-7 Evolution). Top brands include Sea Doo, Tusa, Kaze, Bladefish, Hollis, and Apollo. Prices - The Apollo SVX Elite Diver Propulsion DPV Scooter will set you back $10,000 but the Sea Doo Explorer X is priced at just over $700. It really comes down to your overall needs in the water. Sea Doo is the best website to start with since they offer the largest inventory with the best range of DPV's. Sea Scooter Reviews - Besides going to your local dive shop to ask questions, we found extensive reviews available online at Amazon.com, Seascooterexpress.com, Scuba.com, and Scootermotion.com. We thought the review done by Greg Blair (a professional diver - article was on Scootermotion.com) was the most in depth. He rates the Sea Doo Seascooter. Amazon.com also has dozens of postings from owners with solid feedback and pros and cons for several brands. You can browse the best selling sea scooters online here.