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What is Underwater Propulsion?

In order to increase the range underwater of scuba and rebreather divers, they use an item of diving equipment called underwater propulsion vehicle, also known as underwater scooter or diver propulsion vehicle or DPV.

Range is described under three conditions, and these are the limited amount of breathing gas that can be carried, the rate at which the breathing gas is used under efforts while diving, and the limited time imposed by dive tables to prevent decompression sickness among divers.

A DPV has several structures, and these are a pressure-resistant watertight casing that contains a battery-operated electric motor, which drives a propeller. Some factors are considered in the design of this vehicle, and these are that it cannot harm the diver, diving equipment, marine life, and that it cannot run away from the diver or accidentally started, and the vehicle is to remain neutrally buoyant while being used underwater.

DPVs are typically used in cave diving and technical diving where the vehicles serve as a help in moving bulky equipment and thus allowing the diver to make better use of the limited underwater time as stated by the decompression requirements for deep diving. DPV accessories, if mounted on the accessory board of the DPV can make the vehicle more useful underwater. Compasses, cameras, lobster sticks, and also spear guns are some of the accessories that can be mounted on to the DPV.

The delivery of combat divers and their equipment over speeds or distance that are deemed impracticable are being made possible with the use of DPV for military applications.

There is more to simply swimming when you operate a DPV, and it requires depth control, being able to adjust buoyancy, being able to monitor the breathing gas, and navigation of the unit.

There are several types of DPV, and the most common type is that which tows the diver while holding onto the handles on the stern or bow. With the diver placed parallel to and above the propeller wash, this tow-behind scooter is at its most efficient operation.

Another type of DPV is called manned torpedoes which are fish-shaped vehicles where one or more divers can sit astride or in hollows inside.

Described as a submersible rigid-hulled inflatable boat, this another kind of DPV is called a subskimmer that is powered by a petrol engine if on the surface, and when submerged, the petrol engine is sealed, and the vehicle then runs on battery-electric thrusters that are located ona a cross-arm that is steerable.

By now, you would have realized that as DPVs get larger, they gradually become submarines. Small submarines are called wet subs where the pilot’s seat is flooded and thus has to wear a diving gear.

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