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Personal Watercraft

A personal watercraft, or PWC, is a recreational watercraft where the rider either sits or stands during operation rather than operating from inside a vessel as you would in a boat. Sit-down personal watercraft can generally accommodate an operator and a passenger whereas a stand-up PWC allows for only an operator. Common personal watercraft manufacturers include Kawasaki, Polaris, and Yamaha.

How do personal watercraft work?

Understanding the basics of how a PWC functions can be useful for both proper maintenance and safety. A personal watercraft works similarly to a car or motorcycle, but it functions on open water rather than asphalt roads. This means that instead of spinning tires, youre spinning an impeller. Most personal watercraft operate on the these basic reactions:

  • The engine of a PWC powers the water pump and the impeller.
  • An impeller is similar to a propeller in that is contained entirely within a pipe.
  • The impeller pipe intakes water at one end and expels it out the other end, propelling the personal watercraft forward.
Do fuel additives work for personal watercraft?

Some watercraft can handle additives. However, although there are fuel additives designed for the inboard engines of personal watercraft, it is advisable to consult with the specific manufacturer, such as Kawasaki, Polaris, or Yamaha, before using such an additive in your watercraft.

Whats the difference between a two- or four-stroke personal watercraft?

Knowing whether your PWC has a two- or four-stroke engine is necessary for proper maintenance and to keep it running on the open water. A quick way to determine whether your PWC is a two-stroke or a four-stroke is to check whether it has a dipstick or not; a two-stroke engine burns oil and will not have a dipstick whereas a four-stroke will have a dipstick. Additionally, you can always contact your manufacturer to find out whether the make and model of your watercraft is a two-stroke or a four-stroke.

What kind of personal watercraft can tow a skier?

Knowing what type of PWC to buy for towing a skier is important in regards to both safety and compliance with the law. A sit-down personal watercraft that has the capacity to hold three people is generally acceptable, by most state laws, to tow someone for skiing. There must be an open seat available on the PWC in case the skier becomes tired while holding the tow line. Check your states guidelines before engaging in towing.