Personal Watercraft Statistics
A category originally defined by the single-passenger, stand-up personal watercraft have evolved into a broad market now characterized by craft more similar to a snowmobile, featuring a saddle and handlebars and capable of hauling one-to-three passengers. Modern engines are clean, quiet four-strokes. That engine’s power continues to be delivered via an enclosed jet pump, enhancing the craft’s safety. Options run the gamut from inexpensive, entry-level craft to high-horsepower machines designed to thrill performance enthusiasts. Modern features include braking/deceleration systems, electronic reverse, cruise control, no-wake modes, and theft-prevention systems.
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Activities You'll Most Enjoy
Just the sheer act of riding a personal watercraft is an activity in and of itself. With their “personal” size, advantageous power-to-weight ratio, and exceptional handling, these machines offer an experience like no other boat on the water. Personal watercraft, however, aren’t just toys but have grown increasingly versatile, with individual models now geared toward touring/cruising, tow sports, and high-performance. Those looking for the ultimate performance challenge can check out a thriving race scene. Group outings, poker runs, and long-distance excursions are also popular activities.
Which Engine is Right For Your Boat
Jet drive eschews propellers in favor of an impeller housed within an enclosed jet pump. Water is drawn into the pump through an intake under the hull (the boat’s bottom). That water is then pushed out through the pump’s venturi, a funnel-shaped cone that reduces the outlet diameter. The concept is much like placing a finger over the end of a garden hose. The velocity of the water is increased, and it’s that force that pushes the boat through the water.
Jet drives are touted for their safety advantages. There’s no exposed propeller, and the lack of hardware below the hull allows jet-drive boats to run in shallower water than their prop-driven counterparts. Jets also typically boast impressive acceleration and, thanks to a directional nozzle that redirects the thrust, nimble handling.