Jetboat vs stern drive

Old 07-25-23, 11:45 AM
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Jetboat vs stern drive

Ive put all this work into my 94 bayliner 1750 Capri and now that she's perfect I want more. I am currently looking at a 2004 Polaris le2100. Won't see it in person until Sunday and the Google search I did about stern drive vs jet were mixed 50/50 so I wanted to see if anyone here has had both and preferred one over the other. Most of my activities are tubing on a inland lake. From my understanding the jet drive doesn't have as much torque but I will be going from 130hp to 240. Thoughts?
Old 07-25-23, 02:25 PM
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If doing general boating AVOID the jet drive. It is very inefficient so you'll burn more gas. That's why the jet boat has twice the power.

The "torque" you mention isn't so much torque as it is traction. Jet boats are like jet airplanes. They don't have much bite on the water. Acceleration is slow (slow hole shot) and they can't pull.

If you've ever skied behind a jet boat it stinks. You need a much longer tow line (spongy and stretchy) to get back far enough to avoid the rooster tail which is bad for kids on a tube where you want to keep an eye on them. A propeller is much better for the low end bite needed to get a skier out of the water or at low/medium speed when trying to make a big wake for surfing.
Old 07-25-23, 04:01 PM
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I've had two of each, if you count jet skis as one.
Jet boats are lighter, have more deck room, and no bow rise out of the hole. You don't have to worry about rusted exhaust or water intrusion. Current engines have been around since mid 2004 or so and are reliable. Great in shallow water and around submerged rocks. if you have a problem you will need a special mechanic and expect to wait a while. A fun manuever to do with a jet boat is to get into a flat spin on the water. You can approach a flat spin when towing a tube and turning also and the stern gets loose often. Solution is ballast but you give up sportiness. Jet boats are lighter and easier to position in your driveway or storage.
I agree with Pilot Dane about stern drive stability when towing. Inboard engines are reliable and every mechanic knows how to fix them. There's a video for every problem you can have. You can get a good inboard boat cheap.
If engine sound means anything to you, the jet drive sounds like a sewing machine and the inboard sounds like a corvette. Jet boat rpms are around 7k while inboards are around 3.5K.
My experience is that I had no trouble with any of my boats. If I was going to get another boat I'd be open to both, and look for the best deal off season.
Old 03-31-24, 11:56 AM
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I ditched the jet boats in favor of a stern drive.

If you are going to keep the boat in the water, 2 cycle jet boats will be problematic. The heat of the sun and the cooling at night will suck water into the open cylinder and you won't be able to start it.

Jet boats offer no steering unless powering forward or reverse.

Good luck

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