If you are wondering what those strange looking apparatus' are on the beach at Gaz Cooper's Dive Belize, they are the newest thing in advanced diver propulsion system, the Hydrospeeder K-10. Featured on the cover of the June issue of Skin Diver Magazine riding this machine is a cross between racing a motorbike and flying a fighter jet.
The inventor, Ted Ciamillo, along with his business partner, Martin Dijkema of Marine Gear Corporation met Mr. Cooper at the Diver's Equipment and Marketing Association (DIMA) show in Anaheim, California. Dive Belize was established as the sole distributor and rental operation in Belize. This will also be the first exclusive training facility for speeder pilots in the world. They believe this will promote tourism in Belize, as well as the diving industry.
Mr. Ciamillo would like to inform the public, that this diver propulsion vehicle (DPV) is very environmentally friendly. So friendly, that on his first time out, a very large sea turtle kept following him as he adjusted his buoyancy. (Maybe it was looking for a mate.) It's electrical system (six lead acid dry cell batteries) is encased in a sealed pressurized compartment to make it completely leak proof. Mr. Cooper stressed that dive certification is mandatory, and a minimum of 25 dives is required for divers to sign up for training. A training "runway" will be set up in the shallow sandy area inside the orange buoys for beginners to practice. When the speeder pilot course is completed, open water will be the next step. A combination of the advanced divers already established safe diving habits and the vehicle's built-in buoyancy system will alleviate any harm to the reef. Divers will always be accompanied by one of the five Hydrospeeder traineddivemasters at the shop. Instructors on board the chase boat will operate an on board fish finder screen connected to an underwater communication set, "diver link," to keep in close contact. Depth is limited to 60 feet.
The Hydrospeeder's frame is 82 inches long, 50 inches wide, and made of powder coated aircraft aluminum. Top speed is around eight miles an hour, and has a "burn time" of about two hours. It features onboard scuba and consolidates all dive data on the dashboard. What separates it from other DPV's is it has two times the speed, onboard scuba and flight control. Your hands manipulate the wings (controlling pitch and roll) and your feet push controls for the speed and yaw. An 80 cubic foot tank provides the diver with breathing air and the vehicle with pressurization air. A pony bottle is used for backup.
Interest is building in this new device from TV and movie directors, such as "Baywatch" and the next James Bond film. They've also talked to the man who built the pool for the movie "Titanic." Others include the U.S. and British Navy, U.S. Navy Seals, and West Point Scuba Team. "Between that and the cover of Skin Diver's Magazine, this will be a huge draw for Ambergris," exclaimed Mr. Cooper. There are already 25 bookings for training and more are coming as people see the craft. He went on to say that the Hydrospeeder could also be used in community service work, such as a search vehicle for underwater rescue.
Other goals for the device are developing dive games, underwater tag, "dog fights" and international speeder pilot events as the market grows. There is also hope for being the first to circumference the Blue Hole in one dive. Guiness' Book of World Records has been contacted as well for information on what they could pursue as a "first."
If you're interested in the Hydrospeeder, contact Gaz Cooper at 026-3202 or check out the web at www.divebelize.com because "this is why the dolphins are smiling."
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