Gavin Water Sports, Inc.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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Safety, Procedures, and Planning with Our Sea Scooters

Gavins - Contact us in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for the best underwater sea scooters for your cave diving and exploration excursions.

Mechanical Safety Precautions 

  • Do not get any kind of solvent or hydrocarbon vapor anywhere near the open scooter because it sinks into the motor compartment and ignites when you start the motor.
  • Be careful not to get propellants from spray cans near the motor compartment.
  • Leave the nose O-ring out when not in use to reduce risk of hydrogen buildup if the batteries off gas.
  • Do not put the nose O-ring in within an hour after charging the batteries.
  • When you get out of the water, take out the nose O-ring.
  • Do not spray any conductive lubricant into the motor. 

Scooter Dive Planning
It is imperative that you know your scooter's burn time with the gear you are using. You must burn test the batteries on a regular basis to be sure you can depend on this. I calculate my burn times based on full cave gear, stages, towed DPVs, dry suit and full prop pitch when stating burn times.

You never want to run one DPV to its max. The best bet is to run one scooter for about 40% of its burn time and then switch to the next scooter on the way in, reverse the procedure on the way out. This way you always have something that will get you back to your last scooter. You do not want a situation where you have one scooter with depleted batteries and another that has a full charge but then breaks blades or otherwise gets messed up. Want to go further? Get more sea scooters and take more gas.

Beyond short dives, we require dive teams to tow scooters in the WKPP. Three-man teams can tow one for a moderate dive, two-man teams must tow two, and long dives must have full coverage. The number of scooters needed for a dive can be figured using the 40% guideline.

Gas management for scooter diving is not a function of whether you can swim out, except in rare cases of high outflow, shallow springs, where your ingoing scooter gas will likely equal your outgoing swim gas. Scooter gas management is a function of common sense. You will not swim out of a 300-foot deep siphon, like some that we dive, or a 300 foot deep non flowing cave, or 300 feet of anything. The correct way to handle this is to breathe only the stages, saving the back gas for emergencies, and to place safety bottles in the cave at the same intervals as stages. You must assume that with everything going wrong and towing with no primary lights, you will take twice as long to get out so you will need twice the gas. For instance, on light failures, you will have to be on the line and moving more slowly. If the line is on the floor and you rode the ceiling going in, then you will need much more gas. If you have one problem, expect several more. DIR is designed to prevent, anticipate and or handle anything that gets thrown at you. When, not if, you have a problem scooter diving, you will either learn why I am so insistent on following Rule Number One, or you will die finding out how right I am.

We dive 1/2 plus the amount of gas needed during a bottle switch on our stages, usually 1/2 plus 300. We deduct 300 from our starting gas due to the fact that you will not drain that last 300 without using the purge button in real deep water. If the bottle has 3300 in it to start with, you consider it to have 3000 "effective", so the halfway mark is 1800, and adding the 300 for switching, you would then only go to 2100 before dropping the bottle.

On the way out, you either switch bottles with each stage recovery, or be sure you are proficient enough to switch without stopping if you keep breathing a bottle past the next pickup on the way out (only done if there is excess gas in the bottle relative to the depth of the water). Usually, this is not a good idea since you will not get enough additional time to make up for the Charlie Foxtrot you will cause if something goes wrong that needs your attention in the middle of an on-the-fly switch. Play it by the book. NEVER pass through a difficult area

Towing a Diver
The correct procedure for towing a diver is for the towed diver to store his own DPV behind him above his legs by the tow leash clipped to his front crotch d-ring, and for himself to hold the crotch strap of the towing diver. He must keep his head down and leave the driving to the front diver. If there is some other emergency, leave the dead DPV and go get it later.

In the event of a gas-sharing situation, NEVER leave a working DPV to go to a towing position. ALWAYS keep the good DPV with you. Let the out of gas diver do the driving. It will keep his mind occupied and will prevent his gas source from getting away from him. 


Contact us in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for the best underwater
sea scooters for your cave diving and exploration excursions.