A diver propulsion vehicle (DPV), also known as an underwater propulsion vehicle or underwater scooter, o is an item of diving equipment used by scuba divers to increase range underwater. Range is restricted by the amount of breathing gas that can be carried, the rate at which that breathing gas is consumed, and the battery power of the DPV. Time limits imposed on the diver by decompression requirements may also limit safe range in practice. DPVs have recreational, technical, scientific and military applications.DPVs include a range of configurations from small, easily portable scooter units with a small range and low speed, to faired or enclosed units capable of carrying several divers longer distances at higher speeds.
Myself and my brother of Adventure the infamous Neil Farmer headed to Portofino to train as DPV pilots with our friend and underwater god Luca Zanzotto. His dive centre was to be the perfect playground to learn the art of technical scootering. Its fair to say that there is far more than meets the eye to safely using a DPV. These can really fuck up your day if they are not handled correctly.
We flew to Milan , they are very relaxed on dive equipment going through customs there , none of the usual questions , Neil was anal probed but for something different entirely 😀 Soon we headed south in our heavily laden rental car to Portofino where we would stay in Luca’s hill top Villa above St Margherita Ligure. First we needed to get to the dive centre and drop off our equipment. We arrived to a beautiful night of pinks and blues , IL Grande Blu truly is a spectacular dive centre.
After unloading we headed to stock up with food and drink before eating with Luca. Its breathtaking both above and below the sea here so I couldn’t wait to get going the next day.
We arrived at the centre early and looked forward to a fantastic day in the sea, the weather was certainly on form. Our plan was to enjoy our trip with a DPV course first then dive what ever wrecks we could using the DPVs.
Everything taught in the course has a reason , no matter how simple you , from where to stow it temporarily, permanently , angles , rope lengths , speed , etc etc etc anything you think ill just do this , or this … NO!! do it properly or your tangles , sinking , floating , bending !! You need to understand the seriousness of this zoom zoom machine in front of you! Its a highly technical piece of kit with the potential to kill you if used improperly.
We trained on the basics of stowing , set up , driving , turning etc .. then progressing into DPV dive planning, line laying and solid rescue scenarios. The course was fantastic , both for DPV handling and all round dive skils. Neil and I both learnt a lot. What a fantastic course !
To celebrate finishing the course we headed to my favourite restaurant in Portofino (the beach snackbar) I am a poor man !! and did the tourist thing , amazing place ! Although If I was spending ten million for a little apartment I wouldn’t want all the tourists gawping at me 😀
Soon it was time to put all our training into practice and we were out to sea in search of wrecks … yessssss!! The Lust for Rust was consuming us ! The wrecks of Mohawk Deer , Bettloini and Cargo were visited but a return trip to the fantastic Haven wreck had to be cancelled due to sea currents but no worries there is always next time !
The mix of huge wrecks and sea walls and reefs around Portofino makes it an ideal destination for all divers from rec to Tech and Il Grande blu will cater for the most relaxing to the most extreme with ease …
AS usual it was all to soon to say our goodbyes to both Luca and the mind blowing Portofino area and head North to Milan ….. See you soon Luca and the crew!