The Jet Set

What’s the deal with Jet Boats? Let’s start with what a “jet Boat” is not.  A jet boat is not a boat powered by an aircraft type jet engine nor do they have flames shooting out of the back of the boat like a rocket is attached.   Jet boats, as they are most commonly referred to, are vessels propelled by an internal high pressure water pump.  The pump takes water in from the bottom of the vessel then forces the water, with power from the engine, out the back of the vessel through a shaped nozzle, creating thrust that pushes the craft forward.  By allowing the nozzle to swivel from side to side, the thrust is directed right to left to steer the boat.  There are a number of different kinds of water borne craft that use this “jet drive” system.  Personal watercraft or “jet Skis” are jet drive powered, as well as many other vessels, from small fishing and sport boats to huge ocean going people movers and public transportation.






Why Jet Drive? There are some distinct advantages of the jet drive system, especially to recreational users. First is safety.  Because the engine, pump, and all other sharp moving parts are inside the craft, within the engine compartment, there is nothing outside or hanging down in the water to cut or hurt someone.  Also because there is nothing hanging down below the bottom of the boat, they can operate in very shallow water without worry of damaging a propeller, prop shaft or outdrive of the other types of propulsion systems that are most common in recreational boating.   Next, jet drives produce incredible thrust, which pushes the vessel to a plane almost instantly, and with the short throw steering (only about ¾ turn from lock to lock) turning is very precise, like a sports car.

Personal Watercraft (PWC) or jet skis, waterbikes, aqua sleds and whatever else they are called use a jet drive for all the above reasons and because the engines and jet pumps can be made of light weight materials and configured in a very compact size making them ideal for this type of application.  Great acceleration, extremely nimble steering and a compact, motorcycle style package make for a lot of fun.

Thanks for reading the first installment of this column. I will be providing, in future installments, all kinds of info regarding jet drive propelled vessels including tips, care, types of craft, performance and anything else I discover that is pertinent to “The Jet Set” lifestyle. If anyone has any questions or thoughts, I can be reached at Sun Sports Cycle and Watercraft in Ft Myers anytime. Thanks again.


Steve Schumpert
Sun Sports Cycle and Watercraft

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