Just like we have different modes of on-land transportation to fulfill different needs and allow us to commute faster or use just for recreation, the underwater world has its own such equipment. A diver propulsion vehicle (DPV) is also referred to as an underwater propulsion vehicle. This marine equipment is basically the equivalent of a scooter for the deep sea.
Diving underwater with simple scuba or rebreather equipment does not afford a big range of mobility to the user because the diver is limited by the oxygen they are carrying and are only propelled with the power of the human motor. Limits are further necessitated by how much gas is consumed when the diver has to apply a greater effort while swimming (such as when currents are stronger) and by the need to avoid decompression sickness.
In a recreational role, DPV’s are helpful for increasing the distance divers can cover on a single dive, giving them a greater experience by allowing them to discover more of the underwater world. DPVs are particularly helpful for specialized diving activities, such as cave diving and technical diving, during which the underwater scooter can help move cumbersome dive equipment more efficiently to maximize the limited time available to divers underwater.
On a more sinister note, comparable to the on-land scooter being a part of military arsenal during World War II, the underwater scooter also has military applications. Like the American scooter helping transport marines and paratroopers in the battle field of Europe, DPV’s helped bring a navy’s combat divers along with their gear over long distances and at speeds that would not be possible without this important piece of diving equipment.
Deep waters are not a natural environment for the human body, so a DPV needs to adhere to some strict guidelines to be approved for underwater usage. A properly designed DPV’s propeller should not turn on inadvertently, move afar from the diver and should always be neutrally buoyant in water, which means that an object’s average density is the same as the density of the water in which it is submerged so the object may ‘float’ at a particular level underwater. More practically, it means the DPV should not continuously sink or rise but remain stable at the depth the diver plans to explore.
The main component of a DPV is a propeller which is driven by an electric engine that is battery powered. The DPV design has to be tested to ensure the propeller in particular or any other part in general cannot harm marine life, the diver or other diving equipment.
Although many divers enhance their dives via the use of DPV’s, not all recreational divers enjoy using this machinery. Marine life includes many small organisms that like to hide in corals and reefs and if a diver is zipping by they will not get to catch the diversity of underwater life. Some divers prefer to be propelled by their own muscles to they can swim slowly and admire this majestic beauty of this unearthly world.
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