Tried & Tested in Thailand: iAqua Sea Scooters, Part 1
Yachting Pages’ Tried & Tested series evaluates the AquaDart Nano sea scooters in Phuket, in the first part of a two-part series on iAqua’s sea scooters.
It’s not feasible for yacht owners, captains and engineers to try out a whole range of toys in a real world situation before making a purchasing decision, so we do the hard work for them. In this Tried & Tested, we joined forces with iAqua in Phuket to test its complete range of exhilarating dive scooters.
With over 25 years of design and manufacturing experience, and as a leader in lithium-ion battery safety, iAqua creates high-performance, technologically advanced underwater scooters that can be used with or without scuba diving equipment.
A team of experienced testers (including professional scuba divers) rated and reviewed the AquaDart Nano and AquaDart Pro series in line with useful metrics to help buyers determine which of the eight models is best suited to their requirements.
The following report runs through the pros and cons of each luxury scooter before revealing the overall winner. Without further ado, here are the reviews of Tried & Tested with iAqua.
RANGE: AQUADART NANO
Ranging in price from US$5,830-$7,490, the AquaDart Nano series includes the 450 Sport, 520 Explorer and 620 Max. Nano models are 50 per cent lighter than their competitors, 30 per cent smaller than AquaDart Pro models and easily transportable, all without comprising on their excellent performance. Even our child tester was able to lift the Nanos out of the water without help!
The market’s lightest sea scooter, the Nano weighs in at just 22kg due to its patented Dual-Jet technology, allowing it to glide through the water effortlessly and making it easy to store on board and move on/off the yacht or tender. Despite requiring less space, it still delivers outstanding performance, reaching 20kmh in just three seconds.
The Nanos are easy and safe to use, with single-operation control triggers and a bright five-inch display that’s visible even in strong sunlight.
Front and rear lights on all the Nano models allow for risk-free and enjoyable night-time riding, and with a system that intelligently manages the power level, it’s capable of delivering an excellent performance in any depth up to 45m without the fear of being caught out with a flat battery.
It can also be used for scuba diving with weight belts to counteract the buoyancy. With a run time of up to 100 minutes (depending on the model), the Nano models may not operate in the water for as long as the AquaDart Pro range, but make up for it with convenient weight and size. It can be used anytime, anywhere and by anyone.
So, what did the testers say about the AquaDart Nano range? “Much lighter and smaller” … “Very user friendly” … “More buoyant than the Pros” … “The battery life is super impressive” … “Although not as fast as the Pros, I felt much more comfortable moving it around the rocks”.
AquaDart Nano 450 Sport
Available in white, the AquaDart Nano 450 Sport is quick and nimble. Although it might not meet the speed and power levels of the other Nano models, it can be stored away easily and is extremely light when it comes to manoeuvrability. This makes it a great option for those looking for quick, easy fun with family and friends.
For convenient and effortless fun in the water, the AquaDart Nano 450 Sport rated highly with our testers for its smaller size and fun factor. Voted ‘Best for Children and Beginners’, it’s light and agile, and therefore easy for children to manoeuvre in and out of the water.
Its lower speed also reassures parents about their child’s safety, although the speed and depth can be restricted on all iAqua models. This model would not be the first choice for scuba divers looking to dive at night or in murky waters due to the lack of on-board gyroscope.
AquaDart Nano 520 Explorer
With a practical low weight ideal for transporting and storing, the AquaDart Nano 520 Explorer offers a unique experience, delivering a speed of up to 17kmh and a thrust of 520 Newtons. Although it may not be the fastest Nano model, it’s an excellent choice for those looking for a water scooter that boasts range and endurance. This model is available in white, orange, blue and silver.
The AquaDart Nano 520 Explorer was well received by our testers, who found it easy to use and fun to ride. This model is ideal for rental companies and great for those wanting to use it at the beach due to its convenient weight and size, as it’s easy to transport and move in and out of the water.
Although it doesn’t quite reach the speeds of the Nano 620 Max, it’s a great all-rounder. It’s also recommended that an AquaDart Fast Charger is purchased alongside the toy to allow for quick charges in-between uses.
AquaDart Nano 620 Max
The AquaDart Nano 620 Max is all about the speed, with six gears and a thrust of 620 Newtons. While it may not live up to the power of the higher-spec AquaDart Pro models, it certainly delivers an excellent performance considering its light weight.
This model can be fully charged from empty in just 60 minutes (10 minutes faster than the other Nano models) and has an extra five minutes of run time. This speedy dive scooter comes with an AquaDart Fast Charger and is available in white, orange, blue and silver.
Agile and easy to manoeuvre, the AquaDart Nano 620 Max was a hit with our testers due to its light weight and impressive speed. As it can easily be moved into the water, testers could still enjoy the pace and power it has to offer without compromising on convenience.
Awarded ‘Best for Yachts Less Than 20m (65ft)’, the AquaDart Nano 620 Max is small enough to be easily stored on board, but still fast enough to please those who want an adrenaline-pumping experience.
RECOMMENDED RETAIL PRICES*
AquaDart Nano 450 Sport: US$5,830
AquaDart Nano 520 Explorer: US$6,660
AquaDart Nano 620 Max: US$7,490
* RRP excludes local sales tax/VAT
Note: Part 2 of the article reviews the AquaDart Pro models.