DPVSeeDoo SeaScooter GTI
Its a shame when a man is better known for his failures than his successes. Sir Clive Sinclair was a star technocrat of the 80s. Some might say he was iconic.
     He invented the pocket calculator, the digital watch, the pocket-sized television and the best-selling British-made computer of all time - one that could be used at home - the Spectrum. Then, accompanied by a massive fanfare of publicity, he launched the ill-fated Sinclair C5.
     The Bombardier SeeDoo SeaScooter GTI, which Sir Clive has also apparently designed, is a Sinclair C5 without wheels. Twentieth-century man did not take to the inventors electric-powered pedal-car, mainly because truck drivers were in constant danger of turning them into hedgehogs, the flattened type. But Bombardier must hope that the 21st century diver and snorkeller will be more sympathetic to its new electrically driven diver propulsion vehicle (DPV).
     The trouble is that its not really that different to other low-priced DPVs that we have reviewed in these pages. It begs comparison with the SeaScooter Dolphin we tried about two years ago, though that was in fact far more expensive.
     Certainly its a much better-looking bit of kit. We thought the Dolphin verged on looking crude. The SeeDoo SeaScooter GTI looks far more manufactured and, at around 8.4kg, weighs a lot less.
     Of course, if it simply weighed less, it would have a buoyancy problem. No, its a much leaner, meaner machine.
     First I had to charge its sealed lead-acid battery. Taking the unit apart was not easy - until I discovered that a small pump was supplied so that you could increase air pressure inside the watertight battery compartment and force it open from inside.
     The forward chamber is available for some lead ballast that you will need if you use the SeaScooter GTI in the sea. I guess that lead shot in bags would be the most suitable.
     I tried the scooter out in Wraysbury Dive Centres lake in west London. I reckoned the viz would just about have settled since we went round with the Dolphin, which was like travelling with a Kenwood Chef, churning up all the sediment. The boys at Wraysbury were very good about it.

Two hot triggers
The Bombardier SeeDoo SeaScooter GTI is still simply an electric motor with a propeller. It has two hot triggers and both must always be depressed if you want to go. Dont expect a mask-wrenching performance - this is not like JetBoots.
     The GTI is rated to 30m deep and is claimed to be able to tow a diver at up to 2.5mph for around two hours. Less than 30 minutes was long enough for me before the novelty began to pall and I shared the time with Nigel Wade, my buddy for the test.
     My progress round the lake was quite sedate. In fact it had a lot in common with the C5, which was only motor-assisted - you still had to pedal. I found it best to fin with the GTI too, or Nigel could easily keep up by finning alongside me. So the only benefit was that my legs didnt get tired. My wrists didnt get tired either, which I put down to the ergonomics of the design.
     It seemed very important to ensure that the wake from the prop was not interrupted by my own body. I achieved this by holding the DPV at arms length below me and pointed in the direction of my intended travel.
     It wasnt fast, but it had plenty of torque. With Nigel hanging onto my tank, it seemed to drag the two of us around just as quickly once we had got up to speed. I did this effectively by accelerating downhill for a bit before levelling off.
     Before we got into the water, Nigel had offered the unsolicited opinion that the SeeDoo Seascooter GTI was nothing more than a pile of poop. I noticed that when we climbed out, he enthused about how light and easy to carry it was. If the lake stays churned up, well know that he has treated himself to one!
     DPVs are, I hear, very popular in the Bahamas for wall-flying, and in the northern Sinai for getting around holiday resort reefs. I can imagine divers hiring SeaScooters on holiday, and becoming as irritating as those people who use jet-skis around boats.
Its hard to say what great technological advances have been made possible in consultation with Sir Clive. What has been made possible is a price that will be more tempting and a finish that is more factory and less garage-built. Its made in China, and costs around £380.
  • Bombardier,

  • Divernet Divernet
    + An effective DPV

    - Depth-rating unsuited to technical diving