A fun and low-cost electric underwater sea scooter: Testing the Outdoor Master Marlin
Every summer recently I’ve been fortunate enough to get the chance to try out some new form of electric watersport gadget. Sometimes I’m flying through the air on an electric hydrofoil board. Sometimes I’m skimming the surface on an electric surfboard. And sometimes I’m being dragged along by a semisubmersible personal electric tugboat.
Somehow I managed to fit all three of those into this summer (aided by the fact that summer doesn’t really end in Florida until mid-November), turning it into the trifecta of water toys. And the final piece of the puzzle to make that happen was the Outdoor Master Sea Scooter, which is an electrically powered personal water vehicle design to tow your uncoordinated butt around the water with the elegance of a robotic dolphin.
Check it out in my video below where I explore the reefs and become one with the fishes, tricking them into thinking I’m one of their own on account of my new electronic enhancement. Then keep reading for all the wet and juicy details on this odd little undersea gadget.
Sea scooter video review
Scootin’ on (and under) the water
When I first walked into the water, electric salad spinner in hand, I expected to be able to get my butt dragged along the surface just like that electric boogie board I tested last summer.
But as it turns out, the Outdoor Master Sea Scooter Marlin is a bit like a freshmen poetry class – it works better the deeper you go.
The surface treatment was a bit underwhelming, as if your friend was holding your hand and just sort of tugging you along at a couple of miles an hour. But as soon as your point your double-barreled food processor downwards and take in a big gulp of air (not in that order), the magic of a sea scooter comes alive.
Under the surface, the devices feels much faster than its true 3.4 mph (5.4 km/h) top speed. As you spin and bend your body, it steers and pulls you along behind it. It’s like the nose of a dolphin and you’re the rest.
The anemic performance on the surface is somehow greatly magnified underwater once the propellors can stop sucking in a bubbly mixture and instead start throwing heavy water backwards.
There are two triggers to control the motors, one on each handle. You have to pull both at the same time to work the device, meaning you also have to keep both hands in place.
Once you pull in both triggers simultaneously like two NORAD officers each turning their launch keys, the motors spring to life and you get that instant “well this is what a fish must feel like” sensation.
You’re zipping through the water as if you were an elegant swimmer, except that it takes almost no exertion. You’re free to just enjoy the sea life and sandy bottom around you instead of huffing and puffing as you quickly burn through your lungful of oxygen.
There are three power levels that can be accessed by double tapping on the right trigger to increase power or the left trigger to decrease power.
While the instructions say that you’re supposed to keep both triggers held down to keep the motors spinning, I found that once you’re going for a few seconds, you can actually release one trigger and the motors will stay on.
If it’s the left trigger though, that action will be interpreted as a “downshift” and you’ll be zipping around in gear two instead of three.
If you release the right trigger and keep holding on with your left hand, you can stay in top gear while operating the Outdoor Master Sea Scooter one handed.
For power, there’s a cute little power drill-style battery that is removable. Theoretically you could have a few batteries to swap in as the power runs down, which I’d actually recommend.
The full power run time of the Sea Scooter isn’t impressive, at close to 12 minutes. I let my nephews play with it and didn’t explain how to change gears, meaning they got around 30 minutes of action in low gear.
It was still fun for them, but that’s because they didn’t know that more speed was an option. Once you know there are higher power levels, the lower power levels aren’t quite as fun.
But then again, if your goal is to check out pretty coral reefs and enjoy the sights down there, going fast might not be a priority. In that case, 30 minutes of run time in low power mode doesn’t seem so bad, especially when your main goal is to actually take in what is around you instead of blowing past it quickly.
In fact, it’d be fun to combine with one of those cheap mini-SCUBA kits with the little tank containing 10 minutes of air. You could scoot around a reef or other snorkeling area without even having to bob to the surface. Plus you wouldn’t get exhausted from holding your breath for as long as possible to avoid having to dive back down.
Another thing to keep in mind is that after 30 minutes, you’re going to be fairly spent. This isn’t a low-effort activity, even if it seems like it. You’re not exactly playing a passive role back there. It’s more than just getting dragged around the sandy bottom like a fish that never learned to swim.
You’re constantly steering with your body movements, and just holding on uses some decent hand and arm strength after a while. Plus if you’re like me, you’re holding your breath for as long as possible because you’re having so much fun that you don’t want to keep coming up for air.
After draining a full battery I was surprisingly tired, both from exertion and breath holding.
So after a 30-minute session, you’re going to be fairly exhausted anyways.
Many of these electric watersport gadgets are surprisingly expensive, often costing several thousand dollars. But for a current sale price of $299 for the Outdoor Master Sea Scooter Marlin, you get an experience that you really wouldn’t have any other way.
As just a toy, it’s slightly pricey but not nearly as much as some other electric sea scooters we’ve tried.
But if your goal is to go places you couldn’t normally go, stay down for longer to explore things that you normally couldn’t see for very long, or just for feeling like a dolphin for a day, then the Outdoor Master Sea Scooter will get you there. It feels well built, well balanced, and works well to boot.
And it was a great cap to my summer of electric watersports testing!
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