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   Diver Propulsion Vehicles (D.P.V.)
You don't even have to be a diver to realize that DPVs are fun. They look like fun, especially in a video. It's like riding a motorcycle, flying a plane and steering an astronaut jet pack on a space walk, all in one. That's all the reason you need to get one.




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But suppose you have to convince a nondiving spouse or something like that, and "cool underwater ride" doesn't cut it. No worries. Besides the obvious adventure benefits, your DPV provides two significant, practical advantages for recreational diving.

First, with a DPV you'll cover more area. Although you don't necessarily go farther away (more about this shortly), you'll see more of the diving within range of the boat. This combines well with other activities. If you're engaged in a search, a DPV can let you cover the pattern more quickly. If you're an underwater photographer and take care not to disturb aquatic life with your DPV, you may find more top-notch subjects. If you're into wreck diving, a DPV lets you see more of a big sunken ship on one dive. In short, a DPV is a tool that helps you get more out of a dive. If you have a physical challenge that limits your swimming, a DPV's travel advantages proves an especially big benefit.

Second, a DPV will usually make your dive longer because you use less air. Because you exert yourself less, you don't breathe as hard so you stay down longer (no stop time allowing, of course). Not only can you see a wider area, but you have the air to do it.

DPV Types and Features

If you've yet to invest in your own DPV, when you visit your local Dive Center or Resort, you may find several to choose from. Among other things, you may notice two types: some that appear fairly compact, and others that are really huge and substantially more expensive. The smaller units are recreational diving models, intended for easy maneuvering, reasonable transportability, modest range and a general compactness. The huge scooters are technical diving models. They're intended for very long range, and built for rough handling and depth. Tech diving DPVs tend to be very heavy and more cumbersome to take from place to place.

Components of all DPVs. Regardless of what DPV you look at, you'll find it has these five components: trigger mechanism, propeller and housing, handles/grips, battery access, and buoyancy characteristics. It's the variations in these that you consider in picking your DPV. Beyond these, you'll have accessories to consider, which may include chargers, lights, lanyard/tether options, T-bar "seats" or other riding attachments, instrument consoles and shipping cases.

When looking at these components, think in terms of these eleven features in choosing which DPV best suits you:

1. Ruggedness and construction. Will the scooter hold up to the type of traveling and diving you do?
2. Seals. How many o-rings and other seals do you need to maintain? How hard is it to get to them?
3. Warranty and servicing. If you have a problem, can your local dive operation handle it, or will you have to ship it somewhere?
4. Battery type. Different batteries offer different advantages in terms of cost, duration and maintenance.
5. Variable speed. This costs more, but it offers the option to save batteries and drive longer. It also makes it easier for you and your buddy to set the same cruising speed.
6. Maximum depth. Can the scooter go as deep as you want to take it? Although most will be rated to 40 metres/130 feet, there have been models with shallower ratings. It shouldn't be an issue with modern models, but it doesn't hurt to be sure.
7. On-off switch. Some are handles, some are triggers, some are magnetic activators. Each has a different feel and advantages and disadvantages.
8. Handle design. Do the grips feel comfortable in a riding position? Imagine maintaining that position for an hour or more.
9. Buoyancy characteristics. You're less likely to lose a DPV that floats during entries and exits. But you can "park" one that sinks slightly while you do something (like take a picture.) Some models let you adjust the buoyancy to meet your needs.
10. Weight out of the water. Even the small ones are moderately heavy; how much vehicle can you easily get from your car to the boat?
11. Accessories. Can you get extra accessories you want or need (if any) for the type of diving you like to do?



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