Jet Boats Are Making A Comeback


Sales of jet-powered Boats fell steadily partly because of Bombardier Recreational Products' [BRP] conclusion that was sudden to abandon production of its own jet boats. A year later, this past September, Sea Ray declared after moving so much as displaying prototype models to consumers and traders, it would enter the jet boat market. With this recent history, reasonable market observers might think that this is the marine industry foray into jet technology's conclusion. As it might seem logical, they would be wrong.

Starting this year Wave of jet models are coming out from major producers that marks a reinvestment into the alternative, high-energy electricity supply that's set to shake up the whole marine industry more.

Welcome back to the Jet era.


Jet-powered boats have Been in existence since the 1950s, but did not go mainstream until the large manufacturers jumped in and sales of jet boats and personal watercraft took off in the 1990s. As it always has been their allure remains the same thrilling a more compact powertrain acceleration and the absence of a spinning propeller .

Yamaha and Sea-Doo Were the players in the jet boat market until Sea-Doo's departure in 2012. Before the group was left by Sea-Doo ahead of its parent company's initial public offering last spring boats have included a small fraction of the marine market.

Together with personal Watercraft jet propulsion accounts for nearly 45 percent of their powerboat market that is American. According to data supplied by Info-Link jet boat sales have shrunk between 3,300 and 4,000 because 2009. Sales declined 15.6 percent over 2012 through June of 2013 with a total of 3,396 units marketed.

Even without sales Growth, the last 12 months have seen an explosion in interest in the technologies from boat builders including Rec Boat Holdings.

Following its Departure, BRP agreed to allow its jet powertrains to Rec Boat Holdings and Marine Products Corporation, also it is possible BRP could market the technology to companies later on.

However it plays out, The industry is put up for an unprecedented introduction of boats which will shake the market and, according to specialists, will spur innovation to further progress the industry's latest jet revolution.


Roch Lambert President in Rec Boat Holdings, has had a eight months because his company announced May that it entered the flying boat marketplace.

RBH showed off its Products to consumers for the first time in the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show in October. The Glastron GT187, as well as three Scarabs had begun rolling down the assembly line a few weeks before, and the first versions were delivered to dealerships soon thereafter.

Three entirely new Scarab models are all variants of the 195: HO, Standard and Impulse. Standard, the foundation version, will be powered with a 200-horsepower Rotax engine, while the HO and Impulse, the sportiest version, will be powered by 250 hp engines -- all licensed from BRP.

The Impulse will Include a tower and be dressed in bolder, more energetic color approaches to appeal to some young or young-at-heart demographic with titles like Laser Red, Sunburst Orange and Vivid Green. HO and the Standard both will be available in blue or black colorations. The GT187 model of glastron is a spinoff of an runabout design, sporting a redesigned hull to accommodate the jet propulsion system.

Lambert is Particularly enthusiastic about the styling of the Scarab models. The bright colors and sharp angles take a cue in the organization's recent movement toward sportier designs, as evidenced by the latest SS and RS from Four Winns along with the Glastron GTS series.

Talking about the Accelerated timeline from statement to production, he said the firm"didn't have any time to get hiccups." Lambert added that his group has been overwhelmed with the first success of this project, namely positive reception from customers and dealers, including MarineMax, the nation's biggest dealer group, registering as a distributor.

"There's no question That when you've MarineMax on board it sends a huge message of credibility, not only for Scarab, but also for us as a company and management team," he said.

Personal friends Outside of company, MarineMax CEO Bill McGill was immediately interested in RBH's jet , and known as Lambert back a few minutes after seeing Scarab renderings for the first time to arrange plans to get together to work out a deal.

Lambert supposes Sea Ray's aborted jet plans assisted in supporting MarineMax to sign on. In total, RBH has approximately 130 dealers confirmed to carry its jet products, with the other 20 to 25 in the works, shortly bringing its total North American dealer community to 150.

"Every single one of Them was hand-picked, and we believe we have probably one of the, if not the most powerful, distribution network in the marine sector at this time," he said.


At Marine Products Corporation, Jim Lane and his staff are busy deciding the best way to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. At the exact same time, the business has just completed its distribution model for its upcoming push into the jet boat market.

After electing to Provide its own jet versions to the Chaparral seller network, Lane said the company had been"overwhelmed with the amount of positive responses that we got back from our traders indicating their interest, their wish and their desire to carry the jet boat product lineup... we got quite a few rounds of applause from our dealers for choosing that course of action"

Chaparral introduced Its initial jet ship model in December during its dealer sales training event near the business's Nashville, Ga., headquarters that brought more than 150 of the company's dealers.

"We didn't pick up any Of those layouts that BRP had using their merchandise and we began with our own designs and also have developed a ship that I think is going to be well accepted in the marketplace and the main reason for this is that boat will take the Chaparral DNA, it will have the same styling, the very same innovations, it is going to be a true bowrider, that is unusual from the jet boat market because a lot of those products have come from the private watercraft," Lane explained. "We will be introducing a beautiful boat with exceptional styling as we introduce our first model and we're planning on being in creation with that boat by early January."

The company is Anticipating a total of three jet boats, 20-, 22- and - 24-foot iterations, all ready for production by April. They'll be named Vortex by Chaparral and, such as RBH's models, will be powered by one and twin jet powertrains licensed from BRP.

"We're Taking a Look at Different price points, and I think as the ship gets bigger, twin power is going to be the alternative for the majority of those clients," said Lane. "What we're attempting to do is fit the ability to the boat so that the customer has the best possible performance and he is happiest with the product."

Chaparral anticipates its Jet models to be costly"as sterndrive," and its testing has revealed jet fuel economy to be like sterndrive in all scenarios, besides when running at wide-open throttle, where sterndrives take the advantage.

"We feel as though there's Great potential for growth in this marketplace and... our traders are projecting some quite good numbers that they believe that they can do with the jet boat product," he said. "I believe with Sea Ray being outside of the current market, it merely gives us a greater opportunity to promote our product."


Having a lineup of 12 boats ranging from 19 to 24 feet in length, all powered exclusively with jet power, Yamaha is a little of an outsider at the North American marine sector. After starting from the 1990s building"what were effectively big personal watercraft," the company shifted its strategy in 2000 and chose to concentrate on what it requires the family-fun section.

Comprised of three Sections -- towable sport boats, runabouts and deck boats -- Yamaha sees its goods such as the ones of mainstream vessel builders. Rather than being defined by powertrain, Yamaha feels that its products rather just happen to be powered by jets -- equally double - and - single-jet engines.

"We can bring some Previously unfound benefits in that market due to our very streamlined driveline, therefore in 2003 we launched the first of what we call a family-fun ship, and they've been hugely successful," explained Yamaha WaterCraft Group President Mark Speaks. "We found a way to deliver a better product to that client in that category and it had been pretty successful, and there's been no reason for us to alter our driveline of selection."

Even though the jet market The project comprised acquiring more property, a brand new R&D building and a brand new hull and deck assembly line that increased production capability by 25 percent.

As part of its Expansion release last August, Scott Watkins, the company's product planning director, said,"Our unique approach to boat building, which comprises our boats being Yamaha all the way through -- the search engine, the manufacturing and the dealer foundation, has taken hold with customers and propelled us to the top of every size range we all compete in. As a result our jet drive systems have grown to become the standard for performance, functionality and reliability from which all other family recreational boats are currently measured."

2 years ago, the Company unleashed another jet investment: the Thrust Directional Enhancer [TDE], which was designed to improve the low-speed maneuverability of its boats -- a regular knock against jet boats.

"It effectively functions Kind of like a hydraulic steering apparatus, almost similar to a hydraulic rudder in the water. The water thrust is diverted in a downward direction at which it gets more traction, and it's a remarkable influence on the ability to steer a ship at low rate without having to apply more throttle," Speaks said. "Any jet boat is very maneuverable if you are willing to apply more throttle, but for a first-time operator we can make the whole experience easier, and when we could make it even easier, all they have to do is turn the steering wheel as they do in their automobile."


As BRP stays in the Market -- minus its Sea-Doo jet boat production -- the company intends to keep its investment in research and development to continue to keep its Rotax Jet Propulsion system.

"While we can't Comment on particular development projectswe can say that we have an R&D team devoted to the Rotax Jet Propulsion business which we intend to keep our standing as the technological leader in the current market," said BRP in an announcement to Boating Industry.

The company sees that Investment in innovation as a key selling point that has helped the Quebec-based company quickly attract interest from former competitors in the marine sector.

"The fact that we at BRP have made the total Rotax 4-TEC Jet Propulsion system as a system sets it apart from most other offerings," the firm said. "The Rotax 4-TEC engine was first created as a marine engine to operate only with jet propulsion. We did not'marinize' a car engine nor did we adapt a jet pump to operate an'off-the-shelf' engine. Our entire system was designed by us to work collectively in the smallest possible package to maximize the available space in the ship."

Its setup is now The only whole lineup of C.A.R.B. 4-Star-rated jet programs available on the current market, covering its assortment of 150-, 200- and 250-hp jet powertrains. Each option is also available with CE certification for global markets, and also the company cited the benefits of its closed-loop cooling system which retains"raw" water from ever being inside the engine, which aids in salt water performance.

The Business stated its Drive-by-white -- Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC) -- system is a significant asset that permits Cruise, Ski, ECO and Docking modes that make the system much easier to work with and, sometimes, more enjoyable to ride and drive behind than comparable jet boats.


Jet aviation Tech was a moment ever, encapsulating the innovative technologies, modernity and upward mobility which, for a moment, just America could provide.

In the world, Programmers have always promised exciting functionality, sharp handling and a much more compact drive system which enables better access to the transom, especially vital as recent usage polls show boaters spending more hours than ever parked in the water and having fun off the back of their boats.

While RBH has lately Focused on producing its merchandise young, Lambert believes design appealing to an even younger demographic and Scarab customers are going to take that mindset further with its colors.

"I think Scarab really Takes it to a different level where it really is not only graphics and color schemes, but the lines of the boats, the design of the ship," Lambert said. "It all really targets a bunch of individuals that we think might not have considered a sterndrive boat in the past."

The company has no Plans to inform consumers that one power source is better than another, but may rather concentrate that each propulsion system provides. For jets, that means talking about the acceleration that is superior, absence of maneuverability that is overall a propeller and also the elimination of bow rise in takeoff.

With more flexibility Scarabs will appeal to a crowd irrespective of age, To look a low, uncluttered transom.

"You do not purchase a jet Ship simply to cruise around, you purchase the ship to typically be more active with it and, certainly if we made the stern place, we did that with the busy family in mind certainly," Lambert said.

Compared to its own Marine Products Corporation anticipates its Chaparral jet boats skew younger compared to its other products, as well as to appeal to enthusiasts with previous experience likely through PWC.

"A lot of individuals that Have used personal watercraft have become accustomed to the jet engineand since they move into a boat some of them favor the jet motor, some of them don't, and I think that by offering a jet-powered product that we're likely to pick up both sides of the marketplace," said Lane.

"Obviously some folks That have experienced a jet move to sterndrive, but I think with a sterndrive merchandise and having a jet product with both carrying the Chaparral DNA, we are likely to hit both sides of the market and we're going to be able to give the customer what they want."

Lane likens the allure Of his jet ship roster to that of his company H20 sterndrive lineup, likely attracting. He added that the jet drive aligns with the business's desire to bring younger people to boating.

"Certainly the goal of The National Marine Manufacturers Association is to bring more folks into boating and that I feel that jet boats have brought more people into sailing," he explained. "If you examine the numbers, only in 2012, then the amount of jet boats that were sold it was quite significant and the market share had been increasing to a level and there was expansion in this market."

Like Chaparral, Yamaha's study shows many people have previously experienced watercraft, however, Speaks said that has changed in the last few decades.

"We find our Customers often have possessed sterndrive- or outboard-powered boats in the past and the combo of features and advantages that have jet drive allure to them now," he explained.

To Yamaha, it doesn't Matter the number of boats sold which are jet drive. What is critical, Speaks said, is the number of boats sold in its self-defined family-fun category, such as sterndrives, inboards and outboards.

"The very fact that there Are new businesses getting into the family-fun class with jet drive product is going to be a great thing since it helps take jet drive mainstream," he explained.


Since the wave that is new Of jet boats begin hitting the current market, the market shift's consequences stay unclear. RBH has set sales targets for its own jet lineup, with the expectation that its jet-powered goods will become a portion of earnings and the company's volume within five years or even earlier.

"We have fairly Aggressive goals [and] there are a lot of elements that will perform a part in determining exactly how big that is going to be," Lambert said. "We are ramping up new versions just about every two or three months within the following year, so the full impact probably isn't going to be seen till calendar year 2015. At that stage, there's no doubt that jet is going to play an extremely substantial part in the overall earnings of our enterprise."

He added that in 12 months there will be a total of 8 to 10 brand new jet boats below the Scarab and Glastron brands, with more coming later on. When asked about the contest and the possibility of other brands leaping in, Lambert stated his firm isn't intimidated by additional jet gamers, and would have left the investment regardless of Chaparral's intentions.

RBH is focused On the particulars of its multiple product launches, satisfying production orders which have and rebuilding the Scarab manufacturer far outstripped capacity.

"I have launched a Great Deal of products in my livelihood And I don't think I recall one that has been so unanimous in its own reception with everybody who has seen it so much," Lambert said. "We didn't get into this match... because we believed that jet boats were planning to boom. We feel this is a choice which we may master here and develop a success story that is fantastic from it for our company. Should you ask me today five years from today how big jet boats will be... I frankly don't understand. All I know is we're very convinced that our staff will make it a victory for our firm."

As production is set to Start on Chaparral's jet boats, Lane was reticent about his company's earnings projections. His team is preparing an aggressive marketing plan because of its own jet products which will coincide with the organization's 50th anniversary party. Where they will find the chance to drive the boats as well, he is eager to show the merchandise off to the dealers at its south Georgia centre.

"Dealers are very Intuitive, and we're anxious to see how they approve of what we've done," Lane said. "I think that they're in for quite a positive surprise."

No matter what, 2014 Will be a watershed moment for Marine Products Corporation since it unveils additional new models, such as also two Robalos and a H2O.

"We love to be Advanced," Lane explained. "We like to offer goods we understand our traders have an interest in where we can create decent market share with them and decent market share for us, so our firm has developed itself about quite solid engineering section, and... we have introduced 24 models in the previous 6 to 8 decades and I believe that's essential to any company, because something is always true, we are aware that new sells"

Yamaha, Its recognizable market is awaiting further competition inevitably driving both customer interest and technological innovation, and remains optimistic about its 20-year head start in the category.

"I'm not arrogant Enough to feel that some of the players won't bring some fresh ideas to Market that we haven't thought of in the past, and I think that is a great thing," Speaks said. "People adore new Solution, so the very fact that Rec Boat Holdings and Chaparral are about to enter the marketplace with a few new jet-powered Product means that some of the marketplace with brand-new goods are likely to gin that."