Does a personal watercraft belong on a list of the top 10 boats of the year? It's a valid question, and one we debated. But the evidence fell heavy on the "yes" side. Sea-Doo could have trickled in the four pillars of its "Intelligent" technology over the past five to 10 years. But instead, the company waited for the 2009 model year to release all of them as "the iControl package," highlighted in the smashing debut of the RXT iS 255 and GTX Limited iS.
First, the system renders moot the old saying that a boat doesn't have brakes. On a trial run, one of our testers squeezed the iBR (Intelligent Brake and Reverse) hand lever so hard at 45 mph that water rolled over the bow as the craft came to a stop. Sea-Doo also made it easier to shift into reverse — just pull the trigger on the handlebar instead of reaching for a lever on the hood, where it's found on other watercraft.
Another primary feature of iControl is Intelligent Suspension. This suspends the saddle, handlebars and footrest for comfort in chop — it's all computerized and adjustable. Adding yet one more level of ease is Intelligent Throttle Control, which brings cruise control, slow mode and (applause) neutral to the 60-plus mph RXT. It all rides on what Sea-Doo calls the S3 hull, the first stepped hull in the PWC market.