Setting the Record Straight on Misconceptions About Today’s Jet Ski Riding…
What are the top PWC myths? While riding my Sea Doo GXT S 155 watercraft, I’m always amazed by some of the popular PWC misconceptions that people have. Some may have been true once, but these myths aren’t anymore. Others may have some partial basis in fact. Some are simply bogus. Most often, I hear these PWC misconceptions from folks who’ve either never driven a personal watercraft (or at least not recently) or who have some other agenda to push. It’s time to take a crack at separating fact from myth about riding Sea Doo, Jet Ski or Waverunner personal watercraft, including beginners advice…
PWC Myths – Too Noisy
Take noise for example. Perhaps the most popular PWC misconception is that they’re all way too noisy. In reality, today’s personal watercraft are quite quiet. The early units were louder, but not any more thanks to considerable sound suppression technology. Certainly, they now aren’t as loud as many other powerboats – unless the rider is playing or wave jumping. In these PWC activities, the intake jet underneath can break contact with the water and so emit more sound than normal. But most of the time in normal cruising operation, PWC’s don’t sound loud at all.
PWC Myths – Wet Ride
Most non-riders seem to think that being on a personal watercraft is synonymous with getting wet. Certainly, the manufacturer’s promo brochures and videos reinforce this PWC misconception by showing lots of happy folks in waves, splash and spray. Sure, getting wet is a great way to cool off on a hot day, but on any of the full size touring or performance models you only have to get wet if you want to. It’s rare for me to get wet on a Sea-Doo tour except by choice or unless a riding-buddy deliberately soaks me.
PWC Myths – Too Much Wake
So what about wake? Compared to large stern drives, outboards, cruisers, and especially ski and wake boats, a PWC doesn’t put out much wake. Its generally smaller displacement and under water jet drive propulsion keep wake to a minimum, but some people seem to think that PWC’s are real tsunami makers. I’d argue that the size, power and longevity of PWC wakes are on a much smaller scale than most other boats of similar power.
PWC Myths – PWC’s are Toys
Too many people approach a PWC as if it’s nothing but a toy. They are playful and fun, but as with any other motorized recreational vehicle, their operation is serious business and so is boating safety. But too many owners treat their PWC’s as toys and pass that mentality along to their kids and friends, who end up annoying their neighbours by doing donuts all afternoon in front of the cottage. This “toy” mentality can lead to the dangerous misconception that PWC’s are not boats, subject to the same rules and etiquette on the water as any other recreational craft.
One other consequence of seeing your PWC as a toy is that you’re unlikely to really appreciate its incredible potential. Today’s fully featured PWC’s are among the most technically advanced vessels on the water – perfect for day cruising and multi day tours – something no mere “toy” can do. If you’re only using your PWC for play, you’re missing some amazing experiences on the water.
PWC Myths – Bugs and Sunburn
Two other quick PWC misconceptions before I end this rant. One is that there are no bugs on the water. Maybe you can escape those pesky blackflies, deer flies and mosquitos on your PWC, but I strongly advise against riding with your mouth open. Why? Because at any time you could be whapped in the face by some large flying insect – and better for it to splat against your skin, than lodge down your palette (yuck)!
My final PWC misconception is that with all that fun and water, some people think they’ll magically be immune to sunburn. Don’t believe it, because riding on a PWC offers little protect from the rays, so lather up and cover up or fry!
As with anything else on the water, most PWC operators are responsible boaters, but a few bad apples give all of us a bad name. And so do people’s PWC misconceptions. So the next time you hear someone spout off negatively about personal watercraft, speak up to set them straight!
The tips and advice in this article are the opinions of the author, may not work in every situation and are intended only for the convenience and interest of the reader, who has the personal responsibility to confirm the validity, accuracy and relevancy of this information prior to putting it to their own use.