If you’re a gadget freak, an underwater scooter has probably crossed your mind before. I rarely come across them when I go snorkeling, and I must say it’s a bit of a luxury item for most of us. You probably don’t need one in order to explore the marine life, however, they do have their advantages. Besides, they can help some people out big time.
So why would you get one? And which one should you choose? That’s what I’ll discuss in this article.
Why Would You Get One?
Unfortunately some people experience difficulty when snorkeling, or swimming in general. Exploring the underwater world requires energy, oxygen, muscles, confidence, just to name a few. If you’re limited in these qualities, a scooter can definitely help you out.
People who can’t swim might find help in these tiny vehicles. However, if that’s your intention, make sure to first read our discussion called “Does snorkeling require swimming“. Safety first!
Some of us experience disappointment when their condition let’s them down, we’re not all athletes in the end. Not being able to enjoy the ocean for a decent amount of time, like getting tired, might even result in skipping snorkeling all together. Which is a shame, right? Holding on to a sea scooter, even just at the ocean suface, can bring back that smile upon people’s faces.
The same goes for a whole lot of other physical issues. As we get older we might experience mobility problems, or a body that’s not as flexible as it used to be. If snorkeling is your passion, why not accept a little help?
I once wrote an article about being scared to snorkel, which you can read here if you like. In order to enjoy this activity, it’s important to have a little confidence in what you’re doing. Some people fear currents, and even though it’s always important to avoid strong currents, minor ones can already be a no-go. Having a little assistance can help to get your spirits up again.
Long Distance Snorkeling
This overlaps the previous argument a little, but long distance snorkeling on it’s own can be challenging for everyone. Let’s say you only have a day to spend in that dream destination, however, the shore seems almost endless. Bringing an underwater scooter could help you out to explore the entire coastline.
Many people enjoy the reefs as it attracts a whole lot of marine life. Long reefs, with all their curves, can add up to quite a distance to check out. Not only does this gadget facilitate reef adventures, it also provides more control over it’s currents.
Even if you wear snorkel fins, long distances can be tiring in the end. Add any physical boundaries and you might consider to only explore a part of the area. The video below will give you an indication about how snorkeling with a sea scooter looks like. It’s filmed by a few people who went snorkeling in Maui. Don’t worry, I will cover the different types of scooters later on in this article.
The first thing that might comes to your mind, is that these sea scooters could be dangerous. You might think “Should my kid have one?”, or “Will it go too deep?”, things of that nature. I’ll go over these specifics later on, but in a nutshell understand this: Sea scooters require you to press a tiny handle for them to work. Once you let go it’ll stop automatically.
The safety I want to address here, is returning to the shore as fast as possible. It could be for any reason, like getting tired, unexpected weather conditions, a shark, you name it. Knowing you’re probably able to quickly find a resting point can be a very calming thought.
In case of emergency, returning to the beach in a rapid pace could be a life saver. If you or your snorkel buddy starts to feel uncomfortable or dizzy, take no chances and use the scooter. Since you don’t have to completely focus on swimming, you will be able to concentrate on health issues and keeping their head above sea level.
Obviously there is no guarantee you’ll be back at the shore within seconds, but at least you’ll get there faster. The lifeguards will notice you sooner which is a good thing in case of any oceanic problems.
Every day is different, and some snorkel locations can all of a sudden change from a calm sunny day into a wild storm. Especially tropical places like Kauai (Hawaii) or Punta Cana (Dominican Republic), just to mention a few.
Often climate changes involve a shift in currents. Currents can go both horizontally and vertically, which means your direction could be in danger. In case you’re out snorkeling, and you notice any unexpected currents, having some assistance could be of great help.
I always advise people to keep an eye out on the ocean since it could be an indication of what’s coming. But checking any direction is of importance too. Are clouds suddenly appearing? Is there more wind or maybe even rain? Why not head back. Your scooter will do the trick as long as things don’t get out of hand.
When thinking about the fun you could have with a sea scooter, diving is the first thing that comes to my mind. I watched a few videos online and added one of them below. It only takes a minute to watch.
If you’re not able to hold your breath long enough, you might be sad to never see that beautiful coral up close. I’m not saying you should go down beyond your personal limits, but having a scooter could be your perfect match.
Most of them don’t speed up too much, allowing you to slowly exercise. Try shallow water first and then, if you feel good about it, try some deeper areas. One step at a time without exceeding your limits. Bring someone to watch your back and to maybe even help you out.
Tip: If you wear a full face snorkel mask, remember that going too deep is not a possibility. The pressure of the mask will result in discomfort or even pain.
Following Quick Marine Life
Once you are used to enjoy this kind of gear, why not enjoy it to it’s fullest. As long as you stay close to fresh air and remember your personal limits, why not go on a little adventure.
Me and my wife went snorkeling in Hanauma Bay for our honeymoon back in 2018. I thought that sea turtles are easy to catch up with, which in most cases is true, but did you know they can swim up to 22 miles per hour? Not that I ever experienced that, but in case any kind of marine life is hard to follow through the ocean, a scooter would be fun indeed.
Some underwater scooters come with a GoPro mount, which takes away the hassle of filming and “scootering” around at the same time. I will show you some examples further down below.
Tip: If you’re curious about snorkeling with a GoPro, consider reading one of my other articles called “The Giant Guide For Snorkeling With A GoPro“. Loads of tips and tricks can be found there, together with some cool accessories.
Off course you need to be cautious with any gadget you buy for your kids. Some kids will be able to ride the scooter whilst others will only get themselves in trouble. Therefore, always do your own research before considering one for your child.
From what I’ve learned, many kids at a certain age can enjoy this aqua scooter big time. Always make sure to teach them how to use it, practice in a pool first, and never take any chances.
If you don’t want to let your kids use one, which could be a wise decision, maybe you like to snorkel with them in a “piggy back ride” kind of way. Save your energy and show them the underwater world without feeling exhausted afterwards. Always make sure to practise and check how they’re doing.
Tip: If you consider to take your child snorkeling, feel free to read my guide about snorkeling with kids.
Which Underwater Scooter Should You Choose?
Now that you understand the basics, and maybe even want one yourself, the next obvious question is: Which one should I get? Let’s start with the most important specifications first.
Most people prefer a scooter that allows them to adjust the speed according to their needs. We don’t all weigh the same, the currents change all the time, and some of us are even beginners. Selecting your speed, and I agree on that, would be a great option to have.
Some of them don’t allow you to adjust how quickly you’re moving through the water. In the end, it’s not that big of a problem. Most sea scooters have a maximum speed between 2 and 3 miles per hour, so even if you can’t influence that, you should be just fine.
Probably one of the most important specifications to pay attention to is the runtime. Running out of batteries halfway is not exactly fun. Experienced snorkelers might stay out in the ocean a little longer than the average snorkeler, so think about your personal situation.
A second battery pack could also be a thing to consider. Most devices provide around 1 – 1,5 hours of snorkeling fun, which should be more than enough for the average person. You could use it 3 times per day for 30 minutes of excitement. An additional battery pack will expand this to 3 hours, but do you really need that?
Being able to comfortably carry your gear towards the shore comes in handy. Since you most likely need to carry other snorkel equipment in one hand, how about checking if the scooter is light enough to carry in other.
On average, underwater scooters weigh between 10 and 20 pounds. Once in the water that’s probably not your concern, but taking it with you might be uncomfortable. Therefore, make sure you check what’s best for you. There even are special lightweight scooters for kids.
For snorkeling, depth is not that much of a problem. We snorkelers stay quite close to the surface anyways. However, for divers, this may be a critical thing to understand.
If you enjoy both snorkeling and diving, it may be best to grab one that can handle 100 or even 200 feet of depth. On average, most underwater scooters allow you to go down between 30 and 100 feet, whereas products for kids are often suitable for 15 feet dives.
GoPro Camera Mount
More and more of these devices come with a built-in GoPro camera mount. Like I mentioned before, taking underwater pictures or even video’s can enhance the excitement. Especially if you like to produce a compilation video of your latest trip.
I will make sure to touch on this topic once I get into all the available products. So don’t worry, I have you covered.
Now this is something to pay attention to as well. If you’re only going to use the sea scooter once in a while, why spend a fortune on getting one? If snorkeling is a weekly hobby that you practice nearby, sure, maybe you don’t mind spending a little extra money on the best available gear.
On average, these gadgets cost you somewhere between 300 and 600 dollars. Some are cheaper, some are more expensive. This is meant to give you an idea. Even those that are designed for kids are still between 200 and 300 dollars, at least if you want to grab a decent product that will still work in the future.
Not all of the available underwater scooters are compatible with both fresh and salt water. If you want to try your new gadget in both a pool and a salty ocean, read the specifications carefully. Especially when traveling with a family, where everyone gets to enjoy it, take this into consideration.
Products Based On The Above
Best Bang For Your Buck – The Yamaha Explorer
For snorkelers, if I may say so, a depth of 30 feet should be more than enough. A lightweight scooter comes in handy, just as a GoPro mount, speeding you up to 2,5 miles per hour. Even if you don’t have a GoPro at the time being, who knows what’ll happen in the future. Compatible with both fresh and salty water, this Yamaha is definitely a “Best Price” scooter to consider. It’s available at Amazon for $319.99, so if you’re interested, here’s the link to read all about it.
Best For Both Snorkeling And Diving – G Geneinno
This product may look a little futuristic, but it’s really an awesome piece of equipment to own. It accepts depths of up to 164 feet and allows you to swim like a fish. It’s maximum speed is 4 miles per hour, which means that at full speed you can use it up to 45 minutes. Get an extra battery pack if you want to use it multiple times, or find a place for recharging (which only takes 1,5 hours). It fits perfectly in your carry-on luggage. The G Geneinno will cost you $249.99 and you can check it out at Amazon here.
Yes, there are a whole bunch of underwater scooters to read more about. I don’t want to list them all for you as I’ve done the necessary research and a Top 2 pick should be a good start. You can also visit our snorkel gifts article where we cover more necessary and luxury gear.
If money is not an issue, you can buy similar gear for over 3000 bucks. In my opinion they’re not worth the investment, especially since most of them don’t differ that much from the ones I mentioned. But sure, always best to do your own research.
Are Underwater Scooters Safe?
As long as you buy a decent underwater scooter, yes they are safe. Quality products come with a protected propeller to avoid injuries. Most of them run on a 12 Volt battery. Besides that, if you let go they automatically turn off. In the end it’s your own responsibility to choose a product that has been tested for safety issues. But this should give you an idea.
What Is A Seabob?
A Seabob is a sea scooter on steroids. In my opinion it looks a little like a jet ski, just smaller and without the seat. Loads of worldwide excursions provide them to snorkelers in order to enhance their excitement. I think they look cool and I definitely want to try one whenever the opportunity comes around. Here’s a clip of “Seabob Jet Australia” to give you an impression. Notice the GoPro’s?
Even though most people consider an underwater scooter as a luxury, there are definitely reasons to get one. Physical reasons could be a very good argument, but also safety and excitement must not be forgotten.
I never tried one before but when I get the chance I’m sure to give it a go. Maybe one day I’ll even try the Seabob. When I’m older, who knows I need a scooter myself. If it allows me to snorkel then why not.
Most of the available sea scooters (also known as diver propulsion vehicles) will do just fine for snorkeling, however, they are not cheap. Make sure to always check fresh and salt water compatibility, especially if the whole family wants to enjoy it.
Some scooters are allowed to be transported in carry-on luggage. If you prefer to travel that way, make sure to also read “Can you bring snorkel gear on a plane?“.
One big downside is their bulkiness. If you’re already carrying loads of other (necessary) snorkel gear, adding a scooter won’t make things easier. Unless of course you own a beach cart for sand, but not everyone has one of those. So think about transportation as well.