NEW YAMAHA WAVERUNNERS FOR 2011
WE ARE SEEING more and more big
boats carrying a personal watercraft
instead of a dinghy or a RIB (rigid hull
inflatable boat). Is a watercraft practical? Is it economical? And, what are the
We spent the day sampling a group of
Yamaha’s newest WaveRunner models to
see what they offered and also to consider how practical it might be to have one
of these instead of a dinghy or inflatable.
In a recent media presentation by
Yamaha, we learned that while there are
both two- and three-passenger watercraft
models, three passenger versions are 93%
of the Canadian market.
Personal watercraft are generally 10 to
11 feet in length on a 4-foot beam, weighing approximately 700-800 lbs. If we
compare that to a similar size inflatable
with a 40 hp outboard, the personal
watercraft is probably about 150 lbs.
more. The weight difference is partly the
all-fiberglass construction and partly the
engine which is typically much more
powerful than a 40 hp.
By Andy Adams
Transport Canada safety regulations
require both a driver and a watcher in
order to tow a person on a tube, a waterskier or wakeboarder; there also must be
a place for the skier to ride onboard the
boat for safety reasons. You cannot tow
with a two-person personal watercraft (or
any other two passenger boat) unless
there’s room to bring a skier on board. So
a three-passenger watercraft like the
WaveRunner VX is legal for waterskiing
and it certainly has the performance!
The VX was one of two new
WaveRunner models that Yamaha introduced for the 2011 model year: the VX
and the VXR, both with big engines but
value pricing. (Incidentally, these
machines can be serviced or get warranty
coverage at any of the 285 Yamaha dealerships across Canada which is a worthwhile consideration when cruising with
If you have never driven a personal
Maybe the photograph conveys how cold it
was that day, but not many other people
would want to be out boating! In spite of
that, with a Yamaha wetsuit and life jacket
over my bathing suit, I was warm, dry and
having a blast!
watercraft (and many yacht owners have
not), it’s actually pretty easy. At rest,
beside a dock or swim platform boat,
these three-seat models are stable enough
for even a large person to step on board
on one side.
Everyone onboard a watercraft must
wear an approved personal flotation
device (PFD); eye protection is certainly a
good idea! Wear a pair of polycarbonate
unbreakable sunglasses or goggles just in
case you encounter a bug in the air.
Compared to an open dinghy or inflatable, you can stay just as dry and comfortable on a personal watercraft except that
the watercraft has side foot wells that can
take on water as you board, so wear sandals or go barefoot and put your shoes in
the storage compartment.
Most watercraft have a storage space
up front as well as a glove box for small-