Braking technology sets the bar for new watercraft

Two new Sea-Doo personal watercraft models offer an industry first for personal watercraft-- suspension and braking systems.

Suzanne Ashe
Suzanne Ashe has been covering technology, gadgets, video games, and cars for several years. In addition to writing features and reviews for magazines and Web sites, she has contributed to daily newspapers.
Suzanne Ashe

Canadian watercraft maker Sea-Doo is unveiling the Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 255 and RXT 255 models this week at the Miami Boat Show.

Although personal watercraft is a little out of our realm for The Car Tech blog, and we won't be test driving the new Sea-Doo models, we can't pass up revealing Sea-Doo's new technology. The new Sea-Doo models offer an industry first for personal watercraft-- suspension and braking systems.

The Intelligent Brake and Reverse (iBR) is a Sea-Doo offers an on the water braking system and a hands-on-the-handlebars reverse. A lever on the left handlebar controls braking, similar to the one found on Ski-Doo snowmobiles or Can-Am ATVs. The brake system works by cutting engine power, deploying the reverse gate and by reapplying engine power in reverse within a fraction of a second of applying sufficient brake lever pressure. After applying the brake, the system will default to Neutral until the throttle is reapplied.

The other new feature these crafts offer is a first-ever suspension system. The suspension supports the seat, handlebars and footrests. The benefit is that the operator can stay seated, while the impact from waves is absorbed by the suspension. The 2009 GTX Limited iS 255 is calibrated for a smoother ride at cruising speeds. The 2009 RXT iS 255 model has a sport calibration to accommodate the larger waves typical of offshore riding.

This video, which popped up on YouTube, shows off the craft's smooth ride.