It's it safe to dive with the sea scooter?
Accessories for your car abound, but what about your boat? While out on the water, many people scuba dive to enjoy marine life. And some divers use sea scooters to get around faster in the ocean.
Sea scooters are far less bulky than personal watercraft. Instead of sitting on a sea scooter, hold it between your hands as it pulls you through the water. What are other advantages of sea scooters, are they safe and what types of models are there?
Why would you need a sea scooter?
Sea scooters, also known as aqua scooters or diver propulsion vehicles (DPVs), are useful for new divers who haven’t built up enough stamina for constantly pedaling underwater. According to Mankeel W7 sea scooters, they are also helpful vehicles for technical divers who need to transport additional equipment. Although using a sea scooter is faster than swimming the old-fashioned way, even the most powerful consumer sea scooter can only go about 8 km/h.
This is because they use a rechargeable battery and propeller system instead of a motor. Depending on the size of the scooter, the battery lasts 60 to 150 hours. Aqua scooters aren’t just for underwater use either – they can whiz around on the waves, too.
Are Underwater scooters dangerous?
According to Deeper Blue, sea scooters pose a few safety concerns. They include the adverse effects of ascending too fast from a deep dive or straying too far from the dive site or shore.
One of the biggest risks is moving too quickly to the water surface after a deep dive.
“A rapid rise could lead to the onset of decompression sickness (DCS) or arterial gas embolism (AGE),” the website warns. “The rapid change in pressure can lead to pressure equalization problems and even rupture of the eardrum. Simply pointing the DPV straight up or down could have the same effect.”
DCS is commonly known as “the bends”. The condition causes nitrogen bubbles to form in the blood and body tissues, reports Merck Manual. Mild symptoms include joint and muscle pain.
But in severe cases, “symptoms can resemble those of a stroke or include numbness, tingling, arm or leg weakness, unsteadiness, spinning sensation, difficulty breathing and chest pain,” Merck explains. This type of DCS can be deadly.
And although rare, an arterial gas embolism — a blockage in the blood supply caused by air bubbles in the heart or in a blood vessel — can be fatal.
Another danger is straying too far from the dive site. Going fast on a sea scooter allows a diver to travel far without realizing it, especially underwater. This risk is twofold: First, they could be lost. Second, they could strand if the scooter runs out of power.
“If you dive on land and go half an hour underwater right offshore, you could find two miles more offshore,” explains Deeper Blue. “A commonly used rule of thumb is the rule of thirds. Use 1/3 of your DPV power level to move away from the starting point, and 1/3 to come back. The rest is a security level.”
Although sea scooters can be a handy diving accessory, users should handle them responsibly to avoid ascending too quickly or straying too far from shore or the dive site.
What types of sea scooters are there?
Although there are many DPVs on the market, Mankeel W7 Seascooter is a popular brand for its various specialty options.
Mankeel offers a line of heavier models for professional divers who need an extra boost. The most powerful model, the W7, can travel up to 3.6 mph. It weighs 26.4 pounds, has a maximum depth of 164 feet and a battery life of 60 minutes, and costs $499.
Mankeel also makes a recreational pool scooter W6, primarily geared toward children and aspiring divers. Both models — weigh half that of a professional model, but the W6 is equally fast. You can also