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Scooter Rigging 101

Since I started this blog, people have been asking me to put various things up on it, talk about cave training, my expectations, student’s expectations, skills and drills or simply pass on some neat tricks and in general provide info that they can’t seem to find elsewhere! Hopefully these upcoming training blog posts will oblige their wishes!

Today I figured we’d talk about scooter rigging since I was just teaching a scooter class and helping my bud rig his Silent Submersion in the process! Trying to come up with a visual and written portrait, we took some pics while rigging his ride in the shed and hopefully this’ll explain why I have my SS rigged the way I do…..

Rodney and Susie make absolutely wonderful scooters, to take a closer look at their fantastic selection of products click here.  Anyways, they come direct from Jupiter with a tow rope run from the 3.00 to 9.00 position using two Prussic knots for length adjustment and a sliding bolt snap to attach to the crotch d ring. This is the set up I used for many years and I liked it a lot, but one thing I noticed is that when getting off the trigger and carrying multiple stages, the tow rope (due to its orientation) liked to get hung up in the stages if I wasn’t careful.  After talking to some older and wiser heads than mine, a solution was presented. What if we were to run a piece of rope from the 3.00 to the 9.00 position that was just long enough to pass over the handle and then attach a free swinging quick link attached to another cord that went directly to the pilot using a double ender for attachment? This kept the cord on a much shorter leash so to speak… 🙂 and also stopped it from dropping behind the stages when one got off the trigger. All of this was probably just user error on my part to begin with but after trying this new idea, I really fell in love with it! We also decided to knot the rope going to the scooter pilot at various intervals, thereby providing attachment points for those who wanted a shorter leash and of course if you wish to lengthen the leash you can just add more double enders…..

Now remember, one of the most important things we need to have while operating our scooter is a tow cord. This enables us to tow or be towed in case of a mechanical failure within the scooter. I’m not going to get into the drills and protocols of towing as it’s outside the scope of this article, but if you have any questions or comments please feel free to post them here or send me an email at rich@divecaves.com.

Another thing that we need to have on our scooter is a way to clip it off when we’re not using it. Of course we can always cradle the scooter behind us with our legs but this seems to be a bit impractical when all you’re doing is placing a 5 ft jump spool! One of the things I like, is for my gear to be as alpinist as is prudent for the situation. I’m not a big fan of having handles on my scooter to lift it etc; I just want to have what I need to dive on there. After all, they’re such sleek machines; it seems a pity to cover them with extraneous stuff, although a couple of cool stickers do go a long way to adding character….

Now, if we could just combine these two cords, we’d be all set right? Well, here’s how….. Grab a 1” d ring and place it in a small d ring holder on the SS webbing hose clamp directly above the shroud strut that is 90 degrees counter clockwise from the shroud strut that sits below the handle. The reason for this is that the SS is designed so the handle sits at 90 degrees from the vertical at rest (and comes up to the top via torque when the handle is rotated) so this gives us an ideal attachment point to clip the scooter off with when we’re not using it! Now this also means that the ideal tow point for the scooter is 180 degrees from where that attachment point is, so we can now attach a tow cord to the ideal towing position and then run that through our 1” d ring, when we’re not using it to tow, then use it as to clip off the scooter while running a jump since by running the tow cord through the d ring we’ve now created a different attachment point!  When the tow cord needs to be deployed it is simply a matter of pulling it out from through the 1” d ring and running it straight up as demonstrated in one of the pictures.

I then also add two double wraps of shock cord around the body of the scooter up by the nose cone which can be used for various things, cookies, clothespins and line arrow storage and also to clip off our tow cord when it’s not in use to prevent it from dangling.

Last but not least, I attach a double ender on a loop to the end of the cord where it’s attached to the shroud. I do this for a couple of reasons, one is so I have an extra double ender with me at all times and the other is to be able to attach the scooter “shroud first” like a stage bottle. This can be extremely useful when pulling a line in a high flow situation as it gives you the ability to get your elbow in front of the shroud to stop it from being blown past you during a high flow exit. When traveling, the double ender is simply clipped back to the tow rope which keeps it out of the way.

The picture of the scooter with the blue tail cone is how it should look after all the rigging is completed, but please remember to add the nose cone before putting it in the water! Seriously though, note how the one rope comes just up over the shroud and then is attached to another knotted tow rope via a quick link. If you look closely, you can also see the loop (on the rope by the shroud attachment) where that extra double ender goes. The tow cord up top is run through the 1” d ring but not clipped off on the shock cord as it would be if you were traveling. In case you were wondering what the yellow duct tape on the top of the blue coned scooter is, its data from the burn test that I pull every three months on all my scooters. It’s a great way to keep track of individual scooter battery burn time and should be common practice for all those that own scooters.

Anyways, I hope that you were able to make sense of all of this and that the photos have helped. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to write them below or contact me and I’ll do my best to help you out. I’ll publish some more things like this as soon as I have some more spare time, but for now, it’s time to put Kaley to bed and get ready for scootering Manatee tomorrow…

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