Updated Aug 6, 2022 3:48 AM
Craving some added action for your aquatic activities? Look no further than a speedy diver. The best underwater scooters—a.k.a. diver propulsion vehicles or DPV—allow you to skim the surface of the water or fully immerse yourself at speeds up to 9 miles per hour. You use your own body weight to steer, so you’re in complete control. Just grab the handles and go!
Picking the best underwater scooter for you depends on a few different factors. Consider the age and expertise of the rider, how much money you want to spend, and how fast and deep you want your DPV to go. Our guide will help you pick the right sea scooter for adventures under (or just on top of) the sea.
DPVs were originally designed for military purposes during World War II. Using torpedo technology, they were used to quickly transport people and supplies. These days, they’re a cool way to boost your fun quotient at the beach or pool and to dive or snorkel more efficiently. (Moving faster means more time underwater before you need air.)
Like any other water toy, battery-operated sea scooters require maintenance and skill to use safely and dependably. But if you handle them with care, they can provide hours of endless fun and exploration. Some even come with extras — like a camera mount — that allow you to prolong the fun and document your excursions for prosperity. The key to picking an aqua scooter that will deliver fun safely is to know what factors are important to you. Do your kids plan to use it to bob around the pool? Or are you an experienced diver looking to move faster in the depths of the ocean? Here are a few aspects to consider.
How safe are underwater scooters?
Like any water toy, the main responsibility lies with the driver. If you ride smart, you’ll be safe. (That means don’t be drunk, dive in pairs, and make sure everyone using the underwater scooter knows how to swim.) Unlike with scuba diving (which involves using an oxygen tank), you’re not really at risk for the bends (a.k.a. decompression sickness brought on by a too-fast ascent). But if you’re freediving (i.e. without oxygen), it’s important not to go too deep. Beginners shouldn’t venture beyond 10 feet to start; you can gradually increase your depth with experience. And make sure you pick a diver that’s right for the body of water you plan to use it in. Some (like Yamaha sea scooters) are made specifically for saltwater and are less buoyant in freshwater, pools, and lakes — they could even sink. Others are made strictly for pools. Some are fine no matter the body of water.
Can kids use sea scooters?
Yes! But in addition to monitoring little ones closely, you should look for aqua scooters with special features to keep children safe and comfortable. Pick something lightweight, with a low top speed, automatic shutoff, and a caged propeller (to avoid any accidentally clipped fingers).
Do I need oxygen to dive with a sea scooter?
You don’t need a tank if you’re planning to just skim the surface of the water or go for short, shallow dives. But more experienced divers who are interested in heading to further depths, staying underwater longer, and using the sea scooter for an experience more akin to scuba than snorkeling do need oxygen — unless they’re experienced freedivers used to staying underwater for long periods of time. Anyone planning to use a sea scooter to dive with oxygen should have proper training and scuba certification.
Top pick overall: G GENEINNO S1-Pro Underwater Sea Scooter
You get what you pay for with this top-of-the-line aqua scooter: quiet operation (less than 60dB), dual thrusters (up to 26.5 pounds), a camera mount, and a carry bag. At just 19 inches by 8 inches by 9 inches, it’s easily portable.
Runner up: sublue WhiteShark Mix Underwater Scooter
A fun style in multiple colors and models, it comes with an included floater to help ensure zero buoyancy (i.e. neither sinking nor rising) for when you just want to float. A sealed battery can run for up to 30 minutes before needing a recharge. Strong dual lightweight motors make this one easy to steer and manipulate, and a two-button starter provides extra safety.
Great battery life: Yamaha RDS250 Seascooter with Camera Mount
Note that this one is specially designed for use in saltwater and has less buoyancy in fresh water, so it’s not the right pick if you’re planning to use it in the pool. This underwater scooter model weighs 18 pounds, including the battery, and has a built-in camera mount.
Great for kids: Longtime Dual Propeller Underwater Swimming Scooter
At just 5.9 pounds, this kids’ underwater scooter is portable, has an hour-long battery life, can go to depths up to 98 feet, and it’s app-compatible. It works in saltwater and freshwater, meaning it can go from the pool to the beach and back again. A compatible app means that protective parents can keep their kiddos safe from a distance.
Budget pick: Yamaha Seascooter Yamaha Recreational Series
Although just under $300 bucks isn’t exactly a steal, it’s an awfully good price when it comes to underwater scooter models. So, what’s the catch? For one, it’s not designed to go in salt water. It also gets its juice from a sealed lead acid battery, so it requires maintenance every three months to guarantee it continues to function properly.
Q: How do underwater scooters work?
Underwater scooters use battery-powered propellers to propel people forward through the water. The rider grabs onto two handles (one on each side), chooses a speed, and flies through the sea (or pool) with the greatest of ease, steering the machine using her body weight.
Q: How fast does an underwater scooter go?
Depends on the scooter! If, for example, you felt like spending a cool $13,000, you could invest in this Seabob, which boasts speeds of up to 12 mph when skimming the water, 11 mph underwater, and depths of up to 130 feet. If you’re looking for something a little more reasonable, expect speeds ranging from 2 mph to 6 mph, which is still pretty fast!
Q: Can you take a sea scooter on a plane?
Whether you can take a sea scooter on a plane depends on a few things: the scooter must meet carry-on size requirements and the battery type of your particular scooter. According to Yamaha sea scooters, the kind of battery in your diver — lithium-ion or lead-acid — is most important, but always review the specs of the scooter you’re considering to see if it was designed to be airline-compliant. You can always check it!
Most likely, any battery-powered machine that lets you safely hold on while it ferries you around the water at high speeds is going to be fun. When choosing the best underwater scooter for you, the main considerations are price, battery power, and child-safety components if you need them. Beyond that, look for extras like a camera mount, low noise output, and any other factors like design or color that matter to you. Then grab a scooter and head for the water!