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We present a new approach for creating and implementing an ad-hoc underwater acoustic sensor network based on connecting a small processor to the serial port of a commercial CDMA acoustic modem. The processor acts as a "node controller" providing the networking layer that the modems lack. The ad-hoc networking protocol is based on a modified dynamic source routing (DSR) approach and can be configured for maximising information throughput or minimising energy expenditure. The system was developed in simulation and then evaluated during field trials using a 10 node deployment. Experimental results show reliable multi-hop networking under a variety of network configurations, with the added ability to determine internode ranges to within 1.5 m for localisation.