Diver propulsion vehicles (DPV), otherwise known as diving scooters, have become increasingly common over the past few years in the underwater world. As technology improves, scuba DPV’s are becoming more affordable for the average diver. However, it is not easy to shift through the technology and figure out what you need in a dive scooter. We will analyze some features you should be aware of when shopping for the most common type of DPV scooter: the torpedo shaped diver tugs.
DPV scooters run with battery powered propellers making battery characteristics the unsurprising most important feature for dive scooters. Power-to-weight ratio is a battery’s single most defining characteristic. Technology has allowed manufacturers to squeeze in more energy in smaller batteries. However, with underwater exploration, manufacturers have to tread lightly. The environment is a key concern for many dive enthusiasts and risk of a battery leak is not only dangerous for the divers but can irrevocably harm marine life.
There are two basic sets of technologies being used for batteries in diving scooters: lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries. Although lithium-ion batteries are lighter, they are still new to the scuba scooter industry and only used by a few manufacturers. The important feature for you is to check the run time (how many minutes a full battery can keep going) of the battery. Run times can go from a low of 45 minutes to a high of 2 hours. Another characteristic that is not as crucial as battery run time, but that you should still consider, is battery recharge time.
Remember that batteries tend to lose efficiency (who hasn’t had an old laptop crash 10 minutes after removing the plug) as they wear so if there is one characteristic of a dive scooter you should pay up for, it is a quality battery.
Speed is critical because you want to use a scuba DPV to explore larger areas underwater. Speed setting is a useful option as it permits you to control how fast you are propelled underwater. Going at less than full speed extends battery run time as well. Generally, speeds for DPV’s vary from 1.5 to 5 mph.
The depth rating of a DPV scooter is the depth to which the vehicle can descend in water. The depth rating also gives you an indication of the quality of the machine since better manufactured diving scooters will have higher depth ratings. Generally, these machines will have better bearings and seals improving reliability as well. Depth ratings start at 15 feet for low-end scuba scooters and increase as you move towards high-end models.
A scuba DPV that is efficient and well built will in theory cost you more than cheaper DPV scooters. However, you need to consider all quality factors before making your final decision. There is a diving scooter to match any budget. Entry-level dive scooters start with a price tag of approximately $200. However, top of the line models can fetch a hefty $4000 to $7000 with “luxury” models, costing over $11,000.
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