Factors to Consider Before Riding Double on Your Jet Ski…
Related: Choosing PWC Good For Passengers
Three primary scenarios result in riding double on a Sea Doo, jet ski or Waverunner PWC. One, there are more riders than personal watercraft (like when you rent one). Two, you want to take someone for a Sea Doo ride who hasn’t ridden much or is underage. Or three, a jet ski has broken down so the operator needs a ride.
Right off the top, I’ve a confession to make about riding double. I don’t do it much. For the kind of long distance Sea Doo tours we do, my wife and I prefer operating our own Sea Doo watercraft (and Ski Doo snowmobiles). Maybe that’s why, one of the few times we’ve tried riding double ended up with both of us in the water. We had both leaned the wrong way at the same time – while we were sitting still!
Moral of the story: riding double changes the way a personal watercraft handles. It takes some getting used to for both operator (no matter how experienced) and passenger. But many folks we ride two up and thoroughly enjoy it. So here’s what I’ve ascertained and observed about riding double…
The Basics of Riding Double
How enjoyable and comfortable riding double is depends on several factors. It starts with three factors so basic they’re givens – both Sea Doo riders must wear personal flotation devices at all times, be firmly seated facing forward, and the passenger is responsible for holding on. I’ve never been sure what’s best to hang on to, but the choices are any or all of the seat strap, rear grab handles or the driver’s PFD, so take your pick. If you do a lot of riding double, especially with kids, you may want to look at one of the ride belt or harness products made for other motorsports. Unless the passenger’s already familiar with how to operate and ride a personal watercraft, it’s also a good idea to do some basic instruction before starting your Sea Doo ride.
Touring Models More Stable For Riding Double
Next is what model PWC you are riding. Some are designed for high performance, some for play fun and others for cruising and touring. Generally, the touring models are more stable (including at lower speeds) and have enough power to carry two without labouring. The so-called 3-seaters are the most stable of all for riding double. Putting two riders on a jet ski that’s underpowered or designed for one rider is simply asking for trouble on any Sea Doo ride.
Consider Who’s Going Before Riding Double
Another factor to consider with riding double is the riders. Are both Sea Doo riders experienced on personal watercraft or is the passenger a novice? If a beginner, then the first Sea Doo ride needs to be shortened, toned down and adapted to account for their learning curve (and safety). Same may apply if the passenger’s a child, but also take into account that a youngster may not be as strong as an adult, may fall asleep, may not have the endurance, or in the fun of Sea Doo raiding, may simple forget to hold on tight.
If an inexperienced passenger’s used to riding a bicycle or doubling on a motorcycle, then he or she will likely become accustomed quickly to the coordinated balance, body English and leaning into turns necessary to riding double on a jet ski. But don’t forget they may not be used to riding waves and to unexpected or sudden manoeuvres!
A final rider factor that contributes to comfort and enjoyment is how much operator and passenger weigh in total. Does their combined weight exceed the manufacturer’s recommended maximum? The closer it is to the max, the more care will be required for stability, handling and control of the PWC.
Riding Double – What Kind of Ride?
Taking into account the considerations noted above should help determine what kind of two-up ride you should be attempting. Do you want to double with a total novice or child for a full day Sea Doo tour? Are the water conditions too rough for comfortable doubling? How far away from home base do you want to go Sea Doo riding? Is the temperature warm enough for an enjoyable Sea Doo ride? Also, you want to ensure that your passenger has a good experience, so your normal solo Sea Doo riding style may not be appropriate for going double. The suspension on some Sea Doo watercraft models certainly makes riding double more comfortable and is especially beneficial for the passenger who otherwise may bear the brunt of any jarring bumps.
Advantages of Riding Double
There are certainly some advantages to riding double. Top of my list would be companionship. Think about it – most powersports riding is done solo, be it motorcycle, snowmobile or personal watercraft, but doubling up allows direct communication between operator and passenger as well as the physical proximity of another human (to help you stay warm?). Maybe that’s why the side-by-side phenomenon has taken over the ATV industry.
The next advantage is having a helping hand available. Be it for docking, fuelling, launching or going through a lock, four hands are better than two. Four eyes can keep a better watch out for sights, services, channels, buoys, other boats or possible threats like changing weather. On the other hand, two Sea Doo riders on one PWC may have twice the gear to cram into its limited storage space.
Riding double has a style, pace and place all of its own. But remember that as the person with the handlebars in your control, you are always operating the jet ski for two and that’s a responsibility to take very seriously.
If you enjoyed this post, check out my other riding tips.
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.