Jet Ski vs WaveRunner or Sea Doo: what are the differences?


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The jet ski vs waverunner, jet ski vs sea doo or even waverunner vs sea doo is a war that has been going on for years. 

Do you want to stand-up or sit-down? Are you looking for speed and acceleration or seat and storage capacity? In this article, we explain all  differences between Jet Ski, WaveRunner and Sea-Doo.

Most of you probably refer to all sea doo, waverunner and other types as jet ski”. However, their exact technical name is Personal Water Craft (PWC) or water scooter. In fact, Jet ski is only one brand’s name among a broad range of PWC models.

Here are the differences you should know about these personal water crafts.

A quick history about Personal Water Crafts

Historically, the first PWC prototype was a stand-up model that Clayton Jacobson II invented. He then entered a licensing agreement with Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP). The Canadian company gets credit for introducing the first sit-down Personal Watercraft in the 1960s, although it encountered limited success at the time.

Shortly after the introduction of PWC, Kawasaki registered the trademark for a new stand-up model: the Jet Ski.

And this is how the stand-up vs sit down PWC or Jet ski vs Waverunner arguments began.

When it comes to luxury yacht charter, three notable brands of recreational watercraft are almost always available onboard: Jet Ski, Waverunner, and Sea-Doo.

Let’s find out which one is best for you.

Kawasaki Jet Ski

Since Kawasaki introduced the first commercially successful PWC called “Jet Ski”, it has gradually become a generic name for all types of Personal watercraft and stand-up models.

Kawasaki Jet Ski is famous worldwide for its high-end performance simulating in many regards fast motorcycles riding experiences.

Wave Runner yacht charter water toys

For a long time, Jet Ski was the only PWC model available.

Until the introduction of the sit-down WaveRunner by Yamaha.

After witnessing the tremendous success of sit-down PWC, Kawasaki decided to start producing sit-down Jet Ski as well. 

As experts, we always recommend the stand-up Jet Ski. If you are looking for extreme fun and a wild adventure, you will not be disappointed.

Read also: Luxury On The High Seas: Celebrities Aboard

Kawasaki Jet Skis characteristics:

  • Best for: Performance. Kawasaki focuses on fast PWC.
  • Prices: Lower-end Kawasaki Jet skis start at $9,500 and go up to $18,000
  • Pros: Fast and powerful PWC with exceptional quality.
  • Cons: Limited range, no recreation or rec-lite PWC, and more expensive than other brands.

Yamaha WaveRunner

In the mid-1980s, Yamaha Motor Corp joined the PWC industry. At that time, Kawasaki and its stand up models were dominating the industry. But Yamaha’s line of PWC brought a real change to the market. 

The WaveRunner from Yamaha was the first sit-down PWC able to carry either one or two-persons. After its commercial success, the brand’s name WaveRunner has become a generalized trademark for any sit-down PWC. 

WaveRunner water toys

Yamaha was faithful to its traditions in motorcycles production. The WaveRunner is a perfect combination of cutting edge performance and luxury. Which is why its WaveBlaster and SuperJet models are two of the most popular PWC produced by Yamaha. 

The Yamaha SuperJet is highly regarded among stand-up enthusiasts and stands as a real competitor to the Kawasaki Jet Ski. All the models are hand-built in Japan!

To sum up, the Jet ski vs Waverunner’s argument is almost the same as Kawasaki vs Yamaha. The only difference is that Yamaha has a broader range of PWC, and can therefore satisfy more needs outside the pure performance.

Share the fun time with your family and kids with the multiple-person sit-down WaveRunner. You can find various models of WaveRunner on board some of the finest yachts which are all available for luxury yacht charter in the Mediterranean.

Yamaha Waverunner characteristics

  • Best for: All-around use and families.
  • Prices: Yamaha Waverunner start at $6,700 for their recreation and rec-lite models, and go up to $17,000 for their most luxury ones.
  • Pros: Fast, low maintenance engines and broad range of PWC.
  • Cons: Not the cheapest PWC brand

Bombardier Sea-Doo

20 years after its withdrawal from the industry, Bombardier Recreational Products came back on the market to challenge PWC manufacturers. As an “new old” competitor, it quickly became a real challenger for both Yamaha and Kawasaki.

Produced from 1989 to 2003, the Sea-Doo XP model was a revolution in PWC world. The XP was even named “Watercraft of the century” by Watercraft World magazine. It was the first high-performance version of a sit-down PWC.

Bombardier Spark water toys

The success story doesn’t end here. In late 2014, Bombardier launched Spark. The idea was to change the whole industry by bringing a cheaper and lighter PWC that would guarantee a maximum of fun for everybody.

Different models of Sea-Doo Bombardier are available on Seven Sins and Memories Too for example.

These three companies are currently the most active in the personal watercraft market. They are also competing to attract more adrenaline enthusiasts among yacht charterers!

Read also: 5 Yachts For Charter You Can Book Under 70k€

Seadoo characteristics

  • Best for: Value for money and beginners.
  • Prices: Seadoos range from $5,400 to $18,000
  • Pros: Cheap entry-level PWC, broad range, some models are ideal for beginners
  • Cons: Low prices comes from less comfort

Jet Ski vs Seadoo: the main differences

The main difference between a Jetski and a seadoo is that Jet skis are usually faster than Seadoo. Jetski focuses mainly on performances while Seadoo is geared towards users with more casual practice.

Seadoo range is therefore the best for the ones who don’t want to invest too much on their PWC and don’t necessarily want the fastest one available. Jetski range is another hand perfect for the ones looking for beast-like PWC, even though they are more pricy.

Jet Ski vs Waverunner: how different are they?

The main difference between a Jet Ski and a Waverunner is that Jet Ski are mostly performance PWC, while Waverunner range is broader, catering to beginners and experts alike.

Waverunner are perfect for casual users that still want comfort and good performances, such as families. Their PWC can be as cheap or as pricy as PWC can be, depending on comfort and performance you are looking for.

Jetski are ideal if you want machines that can go as fast as they come. Even if it means paying premium price for it.

Waverunner vs Seadoo: differences to know

The main differences between a waverunner and a seadoo are the price, the comfort and the performances.

Seadoo are among the cheapest PWC you can find on the market, and they are usually enough for most users that rarely need cutting-edge machines and breathtaking speed.

Waverunner has a very broad range of PWC available. Some in the lower-end range will compete with Seadoo range in many regards including price-point. They are great for casual riders that don’t want to invest much in their PWC. The higher-end models from Waverunner tend to be more comfortable, perform better and of course be more expensive than their Seadoo counterparts, which brings them closer to PWC like Kawasaki Jet Ski.

Conclusion: Jetski, Waverunner or Seadoo?

If you are a total beginner and don’t want to invest, pick a low-end seadoo. If you want a more comfortable jet ski with a good balance between comfort, performances and price, then Yamaha Waverunners should be good for you. If you want the fastest jet ski, then Kawasaki lines will have what you are looking for.

These are of course general guidance, each of these three brands have jet skis that can accomodate a large variety of uses, and the final choice for most people is usually a simple matter of personal preferences.

Read also: Top 6 Motoryachts Around 80 Feet

FAQ regarding Kawasaki Jetski, Yamaha Waverunner, and Bombardier Sea-doo

Which is best : a Jetski or a Waverunner?

Both are great PWC. The Jetski was the original PWC produced by Kawasaki while the Waverunner was the one from Yamaha. Both offer a powerful riding experience. The best depends on personal tastes and preferences between Kawasaki and Yamaha brands.

Which is best : a Yamaha PWC or a Kawasaki PWC?

Yamaha PWC is called a Waverunner while Kawasaki PWC is known as a Jetski. Both are powerful PWC brands similar in nature. Yamaha have some cheaper options while Kawasaki focuses more on performance PWC.

Which is best : a Jetski or a Seadoo?

Jetski was the brand name of the original PWC produced by Kawasaki while the Seadoo was the one produced by Bombardier. Both are great PWC. Seadoo range is larger, while Kawasaki range of jetski focuses on performances. Seadoo are usually more recommended for beginners.

What is the fastest between a Kawasaki Jetski, a Yamaha Waverunner and a Seadoo?

Kawasaki Jetskis are usually the fastest, followed by Yamaha Waverunners. Seadoo tend to be less powerfull which is why they are usually recommended to beginners.

Which PWC are onboard of luxury yachts?

Three notable brands of recreational watercraft are almost always available onboard: Jet Ski, Waverunner, and Sea-Doo.

Do I need a license to drive a jetski?

Every country has its own regulations regarding PWC. Some have age restrictions, others restricted areas and sometimes mandatory equipment or licenses to carry with you while riding.

How fast can a Kawasaki jetski go?

Kawasaki slowest jetski have top speed around 55mph while the fastest jetski can reach 67mph. Most Kawasaki Jet skis can go over 60mph.

How fast can a Yamaha Waverunner jetski go?

A Yamaha Waverunner top speed ranges between 50mph to 67mph. Most waverunners can go around 55mph.

How fast can a seadoo jetski go?

A few low end seadoo have a top speed of 42mph. Fastest seadoos can go up to 67mph. Most of seadoos models have top speed between 50mph and 55mph.

Which is best: a stand-up or a sit down jetski?

Stand-up jetskis are less popular than sit down jetskis as they are harder to ride. Stand-up jetskis are usually bought by racers. Beginners should stick with sit-down PWC.

Which brand is offering stand-up jetski?

At the moment, only Kawasaki and Yamaha have stand-up PWC. Sea-doo does not produce any.

Which jet ski brand requires the most maintenance?

Kawasaki, Yamaha and Sea Doo all require basic yearly maintenance, as well as the continual care to keep them running. As mentioned above Waverunners are known for their low maintenance engines. However, we generally cover our waverunners and other PWCs when we won’t be using them for a long period of time. A high quality PWC cover is a must to keep your waverunner in top shape. We recommend getting a trailerable jet ski cover so you don’t have to take the cover off unless you are putting it in the water. This will keep your PWC clean in between uses. A good cover has bungee edges so you won’t need to use straps to keep the cover in place.

Which one is your favorite? The stand-up or the sit-down? The single or the multi-person family craft?

Water toys and leisure amenities play a crucial role in the choice of boats for a yacht charter. We talked about the novelties in the world of water toys in our previous articles:  the Freestyle cruiser slide, the Seabreacher, and the Jet Capsule.


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