Our very first order of business when we hit the DEMA 2016 show floor was the 11 o’clock presentation in the Demo Pool of the new SEABOB water sled. The powerful Diver Propulsion Vehicle, all sleek lines and red finish, floated next to Michel the demo pilot as he checked his scuba gear.

SEABOB demo at DEMA Show
SEABOB demo at DEMA Show

The German-made SEABOB comes in two models: for people who like speed, and people who love it!

The F5 weighs in at 29 kg (64 lbs), has four operating speeds and will set you back US$8,900/8,365 Euros. Its faster sibling, the F5S, is a bit heavier at 35 kg (77 lbs), but gives you two more speeds at the top end. You can pick one of these babies up for $12,000/11,279 Euros.

Both feature a battery that will charge in 90 minutes, for 300 minutes of run-time (or an hour at top speed). The drive mechanism inside the unit incorporates ceramic coatings and is made with precious metals that will resist salt water damage. There are no emissions to worry about with the electric motor, which uses an impeller to draw water in and then eject it at high force, driving the SEABOB and its pilot forward at high speed.

Operating the SEABOB is easy and intuitive–the pilot simply squeezes the trigger to move forward and shifts their body weight to steer. Touching the green sensor increases your speed, while touch the red one will slow you down. For a sudden and complete stop, just release the trigger.

The cockpit screen is big and bright and will let you know which speed you’re using, the ambient water temperature, current depth, and remaining battery life. Smart software inside can be programed to limit the SEABOB to a preset runtime or even a preset depth–the engine will reduce speed as the limit is approached and stop completely once it’s reached. The time limit is a great feature to use for rental tours, while the depth limiter ensures that divers won’t accidentally go too deep.

Freedivers and bug hunters will love it, as its 12 kg (26 lbs) buoyancy profile ensures it will float if released by the pilot. This means dives free of the worry that your DPV will sink to the bottom of the sea, but if that’s where you’re going, the SEABOB can take you there too, to a max depth of 40 meters (131 feet).

If you’re ready to invest in a watersled that seems to be more of a sleek sports car, go check out both models at the SEABOB booth (#7064). It’s available in a variety of colors and combinations, and we hear they’ve got some screaming specials just for DEMA 2016.

Erin Durbin-Sherer

Erin began diving in 2012 as preparation for a trip to Hawaii and before the year was out she’d left her old life behind to work in the dive industry full-time. When she’s not out exploring the deep and collecting c-cards, you might find her making art or working on her master’s thesis in cultural anthropology at San Diego State University. Erin is an Associate Editor with DeeperBlue.com.

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