PWC Buyers Guide

Buyers Guide for Offshore (Ocean) Personal Watercraft (PWC)

 We receive many emails and questions asking us “what is the best craft for riding hard in the ocean?”  The intent of these observations is to provide you with PWCOFFSHORE’s unbiased assessment of:

These are Personal Watercraft / Jet Skis that we believe are best suited for enthusiasts who are riding aggressively, at high speeds in the ocean in straight lines (not lakes, not glass water, not closed course, not for watersking, not for doubling up).  The ocean/offshore riding denotes riding aggressively in chop, rough water and waves at higher speeds for long distances. 

There is absolutely nothing scientific about how we generated the information, feedback or the observations you see on this page.  These observations, the pros and the cons of each craft are strictly our opinions.  We could be wrong and if you read this page, you’re welcome to take our input at your own risk.  We base our opinions on riding these watercraft in the ocean and/or subjective feedback we hear from other aggressive offshore riders and racers.  Candidly, we don’t have any brand loyalty whatsoever.  It’s very simple; we will purchase the craft that gets us across the ocean as fast and as reliably as possible.  These opinions will change as the products, time on the water and the aftermarket evolves over time.          

Please note that we will only mention the watercraft that we believe are best suited for aggressive offshore use.  If the PWC is not on the list and you want to ride hard and fast in the ocean, we believe that your money is better spent on a craft that is on the list from 1 through 5.  We’ve also ranked the craft from top one to five.  If it were our money, we will buy the craft that reflects as #1 on the list.    Note – just being on this list is quite an accomplishment! 

We congratulate the manufactures of the watercraft that made the list.  Please note that we rank these craft from our first choice down.  As of 7/2013,  they are:

  1. 2011, 12 or 13  Kawasaki ULTRA 300X (three seater) 2011, 12 and 13 Mark Hahn 300 Champ, Long Beach to Catalina and Back Offshore National Champion in 2011, 2012  
  2. Kawasaki ULTA260X (three seater) 2009 Offshore National Champ, 2010 Mark Hahn Champion  
  3. 2008 Kawasaki ULTRA250X 2008 US APBA Offshore Champ / 2009 Mark Hahn Winner
  4. 2011 Yamaha FZR
  5. SeaDoo RXT-X 

     Scoring (note that the scoring is based on how these craft compare to the other seven craft on this list only) 

5 = Superior
4 = Good
3 = Acceptable
2 = Below Average
1 = Not good
N/A = Unknown        

Categories:

  1. Speed
  2. Stability in the ocean
  3. Hull for speed in the rough
  4. Reliability in the ocean
  5. Opportunities to upgrade performance w/aftermarket
  6. Agility
  7. Quickness out of the hole
  8. Riding comfort / Ergonomics 
  9. Fuel consumption and range

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#1 Kawasaki ULTRA 300X (price approx 14,800.00)



#2:  Kawasaki ULTRA 250/260X (Price:  11,700)
 

  • Speed: 3
  • Stability in the ocean: 5
  • Hull for speed in the rough:  5
  • Reliability in the ocean:  4
  • Opportunities to upgrade w/aftermarket:  2
  • Agility:  3
  • Quickness out of the hole:  4
  • Riding comfort / Ergonomics:  5 
  • Fuel consumption and range:  1 (but, keep in mind you have 250 hp!) 

 

Above, Craig Warner at the 2009 LB2CAT piloting th Kawasaki UTR260X
 
 250/260X: Highlights and other observations:  Supercharged, Intercooler 1500 cc, 250 horsepower (260X has 260 hp), 4-cylinder, 4 stroke, three seater.  Possibly the best hull ever produced for offshore use.  Large, heavy craft lends to stability and comfort.  Top speed on stock craft is approximately 64.5 to 66 mph.  Great hookup in the rough. Very heavy consumption of fuel, very large fuel tank.  Suggest you purchase the R&D Fuel Pickup Valve if you purchast this craft, will give you access to that last half gallon in the tank.  Quick out of the hole.  Nose down angle of attack can lend to greater hookup.  Very stable at high speeds, great craft in the rough (the best).  Deep V hull lends to a surprising affinity to lean and turn for a craft of this size.  If ridden hard, some of these craft could experience gas in oil (GIO) issue that could result in the need for frequent oil changes (my 2007 did).  Guages are hard to see.  Kawasaki got a lot right with this craft, most remove and replace modifications do very little to augment performance with this craft.  It is difficult to get the aftermarket parts to achieve higher speeds.  It takes a lot of investment in the aftermarket to get this craft to 70 mph. The best speeds we’ve heard of after substantial investment in the aftermarket is between 73 and 74 mph (not personally validated – just heard / also note that we suspect that the mods involved getting the front end so far out of the water that the craft lost a great deal of its hookup).  Adjustable steering.  If you are a standup offshore rider this craft is a nice fit due to its large size, also relatively comfortable sit down craft.  The beauty of this craft is its ability to do 65/66 mph in the rough.  Also understand that if the ocean smoothes out, it is likely you will be passed by a SeaDoo which appears to be a faster flat water craft.  The ULTRA250X is a rough water muscle craft.  Fair warning, this craft drinks the fuel (Premium only), but one must love the 250 horsepower.         

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#4:  Yamaha 

Click here for the Yamaha Site: 

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#5: SeaDoo 2009 RXT-X

Speed:  5

Stability in the ocean: 2

Hull for speed in the rough:  3

Reliability in the ocean:  3

Opportunities to upgrade w/aftermarket:  2

Agility:  2

Quickness out of the hole:  5

Riding comfort / Ergonomics:  3 

Fuel consumption and range:  3 (but, keep in mind you have 260 hp!)

 

 

Click here for the SeaDoo Site:   
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