DIY $300 Dive Hookah for Boat Bottom Cleaning

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(Parts and sources listed below)
I used to clean my boat bottom by holding my breath with a snorkel. It was a lot of work with constant interruption to come up for, air and my lung capacity is not what it used to be. I wanted the smallest and lightest possible 12v dive hookah. It needed to draw minimal current for one diver working at max 4-foot depth. Ready-made units were too big and expensive and designed for going deeper than I needed. There was one small unit on ebay for $440 but I was unsure of its quality, reliability, and size of components. I spent under $300 on parts.

Warning: Diving at even shallow depths with compressed air can be dangerous. Please do not copy my system unless you have done your own research and take responsibility for your own choices. A diving course is recommended. Here is a list of the materials I used:

1. Pump: ACQ-908 12 volt, 105 watt (9 amp), 150 L/Min, 0.12MPA (this is just barely adequate for me and requires I control my breathing for this small compressor to keep up. It would be a safer choice to use the next size larger pump ACQ-910) – $92 including shipping to US

(Aliexpress is retail side of Alibaba, a Chinese version of Amazon. The link above has the listing mixed up. Under “Color” you need to select the pump size and then click Quantity 1.)

2. Air Breathing Hose 10mm x 20m – Non-toxic Scuba Hookah Diving Hose – ebay $44US plus $61 shipping from Australia.

Gator Gill on Ebay now sells a 50-foot hose with the quick disconnect fittings for $105 plus shipping:

I might have saved $65 using less expensive 3/8″ x 50′ SHIELDS RUBBER Series 162 Polyester Reinforced Clear PVC Tubing – $40 and free shipping at Walmart online:

3. Hanperal 145 PSI Explorer Scuba Diving Dive 2nd Stage Regulator Octopus Hookah – $24 at:

(I tried two different Chinese regulators and both arrived with strong rubber smell and taste when I tested them so I kept the regulator and swapped out the hose for this 22-inch hose for $18 plus $7 shipping:

4. Edge Industrial 3/8 X 1/4 Hose ID brass barb reducer splicer fitting – $8 at:

5. Water and particle filter – $20 plus $7 shipping at ebay Gator Gill

6. Hose disconnect fittings and clamps from Harborfreight.com – about $15

7. 12v 20 amp circuit breaker (or switch and fuse) – about $17 on Amazon but I had a used one on hand.

8. Scrap plywood, aluminum plate to mount switch, two #10 bolts, nuts and washers, #10 AWG wire, crimp connectors, and battery clips, clip to hold air hose to dive belt – about $25

Total about $320 but if I wanted to use the cheaper hose that would bring it under $300. I’m sure there is a more elegant way to connect the various hose fittings with quick disconnects but this is what I had at hand.

Rating: 4.81

19 Comments
  1. Peter Nicholls says

    Oh it probably would if you ran it longer. When it made mine it put about 200 mm of it just in case. I also made a reserve tank out of 50mm PVC pipe with garden HSE fittings each end for about $20 just in case. Good thing with that aside from extra air is captures moisture you can drain

  2. Peter Nicholls says

    One question. Is the hose coming out of compressor heat resistant as it put actual 8mm radiator overflow hose as it can get quite hot.

  3. JustinTrojan says

    Does the pump have a pressure shut-off in case you wanted to add an air reservoir?

  4. Rick Robison says

    I built essentially the same system but used the smaller 906 compressor, I use it for underwater metal detecting to 10/12 ft, I changed to a lighter spring in the regulator for easier breathing, I also have a hose setup without a regulator but use a reconfigured snorkel with purge valve, this is an open system so air is always flowing, very easy to breath and good for when working hard, I used cheaper clear food grade hose. This compressor works well but MUST be disassembled and cleaned up a bit before use, the castings are rough and dirty, don’t use without a filter!!

  5. AQUA ALPHA says

    GREAAT VID YOU CAN OF COURSE BUY ONE OF MY 3000 PSI 207 BAR S.C.U.U.B.I. BIG BUNDLE FULL KITS CONTAINING CANISTER PUMP MASK WET BOOTS WET GLOVES 207 SLIM BOY CANISTER ADVENTURE CASE FAST FILL ADAPTOR 10L DRY BAG ALL THE GOODIES FOR A VEY REASONABLE PRICE GO TO EBAY AND TYPE IN S.C.U.U.B.I. BY MY COMPANY AQUAAPHA JUST A SAFER CLEANER ALTERNATIVE ,UNFORTUATELY YOU MUST BE SOO PARTICULAR ABOUT AIR QUALITY I MEAN WE ONLY REALLY GET ONE ST OF LUNGS ,BUT HEY 100 POINTS FOR CREATIVITY AND I GUESS FOR CERTAIN SITUATIONS COULD BE A LIFE SAVER? BESST REGARDS AND PEACE!!

  6. R Broyles says

    You should buy yourself a portable air tank like people use to air up car tires with so you can run your compressor air into the tank and your air supply hose can connect to the air outlet that way you can at least have a back up supply of air that's in the tank such tanks only cost around $50 dollars . This was a good video

  7. paul dean says

    It works fine if your if you've got lungs of a mouse ,you must struggle with it an everyone who goes to buy one your recomending will struggle ,plus there should be an air bottle in between pump and you ,every system that's good that's on the market use this ,beleave me when I say it don't work ,you struggle ,non of mates could use it either, crap systems do not work ,blow out carbs ,what at 16psi ,probably make expensive inflatable pump

  8. paul dean says

    What's the mpa on it .12 let's see what that is ,say it 16psi and hooka ,browns 3 lung and every other product on the market are 30 psi minimum but average usually anything upto 50 psi .these pumps are not anywhere good enough for doing anything but supply air to pools an ponds . Buy the real deal cause .12 mpa will not do cause that's supplying no air in litres per min

  9. Isaac Bell says

    I was a stupid kid only a couple years ago. I swam under a marina for the hell of it. I never thought about it until after the fact lol

  10. Jay Knight says

    I have always had concerns on diving on my boat while in a marina due to stray voltage from improper wiring in the marina or neighbor boats, this is great, I can scrub the bottom while in a anchorage! Much better than snorkeling! Thanks for posting, I am going to build one for my boat!

  11. Super Wag says

    The only thing you're missing is a safety tank inline with the hose containing some air volume at pressure to compensate for a failed compressor or a failed regulator and prevent flooding. It also prevents the possibility of forming a vacuum in the hose and sucking your lungs out in the event of a compressor motor malfunction.
    As a former naval submarine engineer and scuba diver, i have had the misfortune of seeing and experiencing some nasty incidents. I personally spent a few days in intensive care. Keep it safe

  12. donjvalley says

    Very ingenious, as usual!!! Two questions/thoughts: a) does the double filter take care of removing condensation (which varies due to temperature) from the line, or how do you do that after you're finished cleaning the boat, and b) "Emerald Steel", their two-part Hookah set, reminded folks to not have a generator too close to the compressor so that exhaust gas doesn't get sucked into the compressor…Having seen all of your videos, multiple times, I know you don't take safety/quality issues in a hap-hazard or reckless fashion…

  13. Ken Morgan says

    James, thanks for this….I always look forward to a new video from you and I enjoy your books as well. Ken in St. Pete

  14. Achosenman says

    You are ignorant or mad. If you were a qualified diver, you would know the dangers to your long term health, breathing unfiltered compressed air this type of compressor exposes you to.

    While you're at it why don't you take up smoking?

    Get open water certified, get proper equipment (second hand is cheap) and clean your boat without risking your health.

    Are your lungs only worth $300 to you?

  15. Sail Before Sunset says

    Loved this. Great info!

  16. jim gilchrist says

    Yep, looks like Coastal Georgia water to me. Great idea. I've seen several Cruisers struggling with bottom scraping and holding their breaths. This makes great sense. Once again your common sense is at work.

  17. Sailing Celtic says

    top man LOVE THIS

  18. Icova Rook says

    Very Good.

  19. krrt66 says

    Awesome!!! This is something I have been looking into. Thanks for giving me some shortcuts. 😀

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