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Q: What is a Personal Watercraft?

December 17, 2013 12:53 PM

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Personal watercraft -- aka, the "Jet Ski" -- are a popular form of summer recreation. These types of vehicles are similar to boats but have some significant differences. If you're curious about what a personal watercraft is and why people use them, read on to find out more.

If you've ever seen someone standing up on what appeared to be a tiny motorboat, you've seen a personal watercraft. Personal watercraft are scooters that you can ride in the water. Depending upon the model, you stand on them or sit straddling them as you would a motorcycle. They are usually motor driven and can be steered by the user. You can also change the speed of the Jet Ski by controlling the propulsion. Personal watercraft are similar to jet boats but are much smaller.

Although these small boats have become super-popular in recent times, they've been around for more than half a century. The first personal watercraft boats were invented in the 1960s, although the original design wasn't very popular. Personal watercraft first caught on in 1973, when Kawasaki began offering single-rider water scooters, and branded the term "Jet Ski. Today, both single-rider and multiple-rider personal watercraft are popular -- you can purchase a personal watercraft that seats three or four people.

Environmentalists prefer these small boats to motorboats because they have the horsepower to move smoothly over the water, but are safer for wildlife because of their lack of external propellers. In addition, these boats have greater fuel efficiency, which saves valuable natural resources.

Lifeguards and rescue workers also use personal watercraft to assist in rescue operations. If a swimmer becomes stranded out in the ocean, a rescue worker can use a personal watercraft with an attached rescue platform to quickly approach the swimmer and bring him or her safely ashore.

Personal watercraft have several benefits for people who enjoy boating and related activities.

-- These watercraft are both speedy and fairly easy to maneuver. Thanks to their small size and superior engines, they can quickly and easily move through water and make turns. Law enforcement agencies sometimes use personal watercraft for patrolling water. Recreational users will find them enjoyable to maneuver and may enjoy racing them.

-- Personal watercraft are usually cheaper to purchase than motorboats and can do many of the same things that motorboats can do.

-- Personal watercraft are easy to master. The controls are not difficult to operate, so almost any adult can learn to drive one.

-- Personal watercraft emit less toxic fumes than other types of vehicles. They are built according to strict emission standards, making their engines more environmentally friendly.

These vehicles are an excellent investment for anybody who enjoys playing in the ocean, lakes and rivers. They are small enough to maneuver and large enough to take family and friends out for an exciting day on the water.

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