Get­ting per­sonal power on board your jet

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

ARI­ZONA banker Clay­ton Ja­cob­son, a keen dirt bike racer, bit the dust one too many times. He loved the thrill of rid­ing but hated the falls. One day, as he watched small dinghies scam­per about his lo­cal wa­ter­way, it oc­curred to him that fall­ing on wa­ter is a lot less painful than fall­ing on dirt.

He gave up his job and spent the next year de­vel­op­ing what to­day is called a per­sonal wa­ter craft or jet ski.

There had been ear­lier pro­pel­ler-pow­ered ver­sions in the late ’50s in Europe called wa­ter scoot­ers but Ja­cob­son’s ver­sion was jet-pow­ered, rev­o­lu­tion­ary at the time.

It wasn’t long be­fore big businesses started knock­ing at his door, with Bom­bardier the first out of the start­ing blocks in the late ’60s, al­though this first de­sign did not prove pop­u­lar.

Kawasaki came up with a sin­gle-per­son stand-up ver­sion that took the world by storm.

These days most per­sonal wa­ter craft are sit-down mod­els, al­though the stand-up ver­sion is still avail­able and pop­u­lar for stunts and trick rid­ing.

The PWC has proven to be one of the most ver­sa­tile boats on the wa­ter. Avail­able in a huge range of sizes, horse­power and de­signs, they are used not only for re­cre­ation but also adapted for surf life­savers, wa­ter po­lice and se­cu­rity of­fi­cers.

If you love the thrill of go­ing fast, the lat­est su­per­charged mod­els will ri­val a race car in per­for­mance, hit­ting a stag­ger­ing 130km/h, which feels twice as fast on wa­ter.

The more pow­er­ful multi-seat mod­els can be used for tow­ing a skier or tube around for great sum­mer fun.

If you pre­fer a leisurely cruise through our wa­ter­ways with the sea breeze keep­ing you cool, there are mod­els with ex­cel­lent sta­bil­ity, mul­ti­ple seats for pas­sen­gers and stor­age for the pic­nic bas­ket that fit the bill.

Own­ers have also cus­tomised their PWC into ex­cel­lent fish­ing plat­forms com­plete with rod hold­ers, ice box and tackle stor­age, mak­ing a ver­sa­tile ma­chine ca­pa­ble of get­ting into a lot of ar­eas. It is not un­com­mon to see PWC off­shore on the shal­low reefs on a calm day trolling for mack­erel with great suc­cess.

They are gov­erned by the same reg­u­la­tions as larger boats, which means you’re re­quired to have an EPIRB when more than two nau­ti­cal miles off­shore and you are also re­quired to wear a life­jacket at all times.

To skip­per a PWC you need an en­dorse­ment on your boat li­cence, but it is a sim­ple course that will also teach you some ba­sic skills.

Whether it is ex­hil­a­rat­ing speed for the adrenalin rush, ex­plor­ing the wa­ter­ways on a hot sum­mer day or a ded­i­cated fish­ing ma­chine with a dif­fer­ence, a PWC has a lot to of­fer and is well worth con­sid­er­ing if you’re in the mar­ket for a boat.

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