Dive Propulsion Vehicles – Not Just for James Bond!


What do you get for the diver that has everything? A dive propulsion vehicle, of course!

You may have spotted these high tech toys in a James Bond movie or in a “Making Of” YouTube video of a Jacque Cousteau documentary, but these trendy gadgets are bouncing off the screen and are landing at the top of divers’ Christmas lists everywhere.

So what are Dive Propulsion Vehicles, or DPV for short?

HollisH160Vehicle - dive propulsion vehicleEssentially it’s a way to cover much more ground with hardly any effort. Similar to a scooter or a super-fast Segway, (but infinitely cooler), DPVs allow divers to grab onto a steering wheel or handles, hang on, and cruise through any underwater region with ease.

They’re a little pricey, (with some of the most popular models clocking in at a few thousand dollars), but for the die-hard diver that wants to see it all, they’re a pretty amazing method of accomplishing that goal.

How Do Dive Propulsion Vehicles Work?

Depending on the model, a DPV can resemble an underwater sled or personal torpedo with handles, and they work just like a miniature submarine. DPVs have propellers that are encased to protect your equipment and the local wildlife, which are powered by a typically electric motor with a set battery life underwater. Once the DPV is on, all a diver has to do is steer, maintain speed, and enjoy the ride.

What Are the Benefits of Dive Propulsion Vehicles?

  • The biggest benefit is having more ground to cover. With a DPV, the range of terrain – whether it’s a wreck, an underwater cave, or a coral reel – automatically expands, as DPVs are much faster than standard swimming, and also allow divers to conserve energy, and therefore air, resulting in longer dives.
  • Another frequently mentioned benefit is the ability to relax and look around. DPVs can generally handle strong currents, which lets divers take a breather and actually enjoy their environment. It’s easy to slow down and linger, or speed up to check out another spot, all while expending very little effort on the diver’s part.
  • Finally, they’re fairly easy to use. Cautious and more traditional divers might imagine a DPV, and have visions of this mini-torpedo having a malfunction, picking up speed, and suddenly slamming into a reef wall with the diver in tow, like a bad Tom and Jerry cartoon. But this isn’t the case at all. Despite their tough exterior, DPVs are buoyant, and are designed to be almost impossible to accidentally operate or set adrift into the unsuspecting path of other divers and wildlife.

Any Precautions to Keep in Mind?

Yes, dive propulsion vehicles are easy, but divers shouldn’t just expect to take it out of the box, turn it on, and start cruising under the water. Read the instructions very carefully, test the battery and make sure you have 100% before diving, and try to head back when the battery level has reached 40% so you don’t have to tow it back at the end of the trip. After all, the DPV is meant to give you a ride, not the other way around.

A better bet is take a lesson with a dive shop — the DPV rental cost is often included in the lesson and you’ll master your cruising much faster than on your own.

An amazing scuba toy that’s becoming the newest “must have” item, DPVs are gaining credit in the diving world as the ultimate boost for lengthy explorations. Essentially, a DPV — or even a gift certificate for a course on how to use one — is a holiday present that your avid diver will go mad for — unless, of course, you understandably decide to keep it all for yourself!

Check out our dive propulsion vehicles at ScubaToys.com! We also give lessons. Call us at (972) 820-7667!

Article Name
Dive Propulsion Vehicles – Not Just for James Bond!
Dive propulsion vehicles used to be for sci-fi movies and the military - but no longer! Not only are they fun, they allow you to see more with less effort.

3 responses to “Dive Propulsion Vehicles – Not Just for James Bond!”

  1. Andrew Nelson says:

    I used a buddy’s DPV and it was amazing. They’re a little out of my range at the moment, but I’ll have one within the next couple of years for sure.

  2. C. Wills says:

    These look awesome. I haven’t tried one but would love to. On our next dive, I may see if I can’t rent one.

  3. Paulo says:

    Ironically, this was the #1 item on my holiday list and I got it. Now, I just have to wait a few months to put it to use!

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