Personal Watercraft are typically designed for the rider to either sit or stand on. Some are designed for one person, but can carry two; and now they are made in models for three and four people to ride on. They have become more popular in recent years.
Original models were stand-up watercraft, designed for one person. Now, they are a means of entertainment and water transportation capable of holding the whole family.
They have been referred to generically as WaveRunners, Jet skis and SeaDoos, which are actual models of Yamaha, Kawasaki and Bombardier. But much like the Jacuzzi was a term used for every hot tub made until it was clarified as a brand name, there was some confusion in the past.
They have no exterior propeller and are fairly easy to use and affordable. The larger models can even tow a skier or tube behind them. They get good gas mileage, which makes them more affordable than a boat to operate. They have a kill switch, and will typically circle the rider, once they have fallen off.
While they were once equipped with two stroke engines, the majority of the newer models now use a cleaner burning four stroke engine. There are still some issues regarding the safety of personal watercraft, as accidents and deaths have been on the increase with the burgeoning popularity, and many states now require a rider to be 14 years of age to ride alone.
The other negative about the personal watercraft is normally related to some of the daredevil and careless drivers that jump the wakes of larger boats, cut across in front of bigger watercraft at a dangerous distance, and drive too fast for the water conditions, such as waves, obstacles, or currents.
For the most part, the majority of the riders follow the rules and ride them safely and at proper distance from other, larger watercraft. It is recommended that riders wear life vests and neoprene suits for the safest operating conditions.
The most popular brands are Bombardier’s Sea Doo, Yamaha’s Wave Runner and Kawasaki’s Jet Ski. All of these are similar in features, and are top sellers.
The largest personal watercraft is the Sea Doo LRV model, which is 13 foot long and 5 feet wide with 180 gallons worth of storage space, and the largest fuel tank available at 25 gallons. It has enough power to pull a skier with three riders. Bombardier’s Sea Doo has 50.3% of the United States market of sit-down type personal watercraft.
Several manufacturers like Polaris and Arctic Cat have gotten out of the personal watercraft market, leaving fewer competitors, and only the strongest remain. Bombardier, Yamaha and Kawasaki still have strong sales in the most popular units, and consumers are still in love with personal watercraft for fun and transportation.