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Underwater driving is a game mechanic introduced in Mario Kart 7. When drivers are underwater, a small propeller will pop out from the back of the kart. The mechanic returns in Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, Mario Kart 8, its Nintendo Switch port, Mario Kart Tour and Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit. The game mechanic is implemented on both new courses and classic courses. Underwater sections can also be found on battle courses. Ramps, Dash Panels, Antigravity Panels and water-based enemies such as Cheep Cheeps and Sidesteppers can also be found underwater. Some courses have optional underwater sections, such as the lake in GCN Sherbet Land. Prior to the introduction of underwater driving, entering deep water will usually respawn or slow down the player.
In Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, when driving underwater, the handling, speed and drifting of most drivers, karts and tires are different than usual. Karts such as the Biddybuggy will become faster underwater while karts such as the Gold Standard will be slowed down. The mechanic is not featured in Mario Kart Tour and Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit.
Courses with underwater segments
Courses with optional segments are marked with an asterisk.*
DS Palm Shore is the only battle course to include underwater driving, while Dolphin Shoals is the only course to start underwater.
Tropical Coast from Mario Kart Arcade GP DX also features an underwater section.