Personal watercraft epitomize adventure, but just how far those adventures extend is limited by practical concerns. The size of the fuel tank is one, but so too is the strength of your throttle finger. Maintaining steady speed leaves many PWC drivers begging for mercy.
In 2008, Yamaha changed the equation with the industry’s first electronic throttle, replacing mechanicals between the throttle lever and throttle body with an electronic signal, allowing for automotive-inspired, push-button convenience.
“PWC customers want features like cruise control and no-wake modes,” Yamaha’s Andrew Cullen explains. “They are features riders use every time they are out.” Obviously the industry agrees. Yamaha, Sea-Doo and Kawasaki all now offer multiple models with similar functions.
Cruise and no-wake modes operate in like fashion. Riders hold cruise speeds with the push of a button, then simply squeeze the throttle to lessen fatigue. Releasing the throttle disengages the system. No-wake modes fix speeds at approximately 5 mph, requiring no throttle pressure.
Benefits extend beyond comfort. Cruise control proves invaluable for towing, allowing drivers to lock in a speed and avoid the yo-yo throttle effect that often limits a rider’s enjoyment. Sea-Doo takes the concept further, using an electronic throttle to offer operator-selected acceleration curves. Both Sea-Doo and Kawasaki also offer fuel-saving economy modes.
“The ability to modify the power on the fly allows the operator greater customization of his watercraft in different conditions,” Sea-Doo’s Julie Tourville explains. “Bottom line for the user: He has more control and can do more with the same machine than ever before.”