“This unique underwater experience is very safe and definitely something you should do at least once in your lifetime, "says Gary Gordon, President of Aqua Star USA. “It’s an incredible experience that will open your eyes to an amazing new world. The scenery is unbelievable with countless species of fish and an array of bright and varied colours in an underwater tropical paradise. And if you bring along your waterproof camera, your experience will surely last a life time”.
Gordon was talking about the AS2, the two person underwater scooter that his company has developed and rolled out recently. An improved version of its earlier single seater AS1 model, the company says that the sleeker, faster and lighter AS2 has been designed keeping in mind boaters, diving enthusiasts, leisure dive operators - and couples that simply want to enjoy underwater thrills together.
Aqua Star’s sea scooters were created to provide the scuba diving experience to anyone who wanted to explore underwater without diving experience or certification. The new underwater scooter allows two people to sit comfortably in their own breathing environment and travel at speeds up to 4 mph down to a depth of about 12 metres for up to 70 minutes 'air time' and 2.5 hours battery life. Batteries run two electric motors- for speed and depth- with controls similar to those on a land scooter; the driver turns the handlebars for direction and pushes 'batons' for speed and depth. A diving type helmet is part of the scooter body, and is made of flat fog resistant 99% distortion free glass for clarity. The breathing apparatus and scuba bottles are scooter-mounted, with pressure and depth gauges placed on the handlebar. Air will last for seventy minutes. A rider can even dismount, swim around and climb back aboard!
The company says that the depths the scooter can operate in are ideal for shallow reefs and caves. The scooter is environmentally friendly and quiet, they say, and anybody can master the controls in a training course that can be completed in just a few minutes. Safety divers control ascent and descent into the water, and the scooter is tethered to the world above with a rope that can be tied to a buoy. Even people with minor disabilities- or those more timid- can ride as passengers. The only noticeable difference in 'driving' the underwater scooter, when compared to a normal one, is the dual motors that make both vertical and horizontal movement simultaneously possible.
The Aqua Scooter may not be in the same class as Jules Verne's 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea' or a Jacques Cousteau expedition, but we think it will be a big hit wherever diving enthusiasts or thrill seekers are found- or at tourist hangouts that boast clear surrounding waters, right from the Caribbean to the Andamans.