Sea-Doo is a very big player in the world of power-driven marine recreation - and it takes a great deal of its design input and product direction from its parent company, Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP). The guiding philosophy at BRP is very explicit. Its aim is to ‘provide the world with the ultimate powersports experience’ and not just on the water, but on the snow, in the air, on the land, and on the tarmac. It’s an approach that has drawn big dividends.
Originally founded in 1937 as a builder of snow vehicles, BRP now owns manufacturing facilities in Canada, America, Mexico, Finland and Austria. And with a distribution network encompassing more than 100 countries and 3,500 dealers, it builds and markets not just snowmobiles, but also personal watercraft, jet boats, Can-Am Roadsters, All-Terrain Vehicles, and engines in the form of the eminently capable Evinrude ETEC outboard range. And having launched its first jet-propelled vessel in 1968 and sold its millionth unit in 2007, Sea-Doo now accounts for more than half the world’s personal watercraft market. It’s an astonishing achievement, so when a brand with a sporting heritage like this releases a new jet boat, we have the right to expect something quite special…
The point of the Wake 230
Sea-Doo produces seven jet boats across three product lines - the Recreation line (two hulls known as Challengers); the Musclecraft line (two boats known as Speedsters) and the Sport line (comprising three boats). The Wake 230 is the larger of the two hulls in the Sport line and as the company’s premier watersports-tuned jet boat, it comes with every wake-specific feature the enthusiast could want.
The WakeBoost system is significantly upgraded from the offering on the smaller 210. Here, you get three tanks, enabling a total wake-ramping load of 636 kg rather than 276 kg, which is more than enough for keen boarders to get some serious air. You also get Sea-Doo’s Intelligent throttle control (iTC), with dedicated modes for precise handling at low speeds, wake and speed control for skiing and ECO Mode for better fuel efficiency.
The Wake 230 also includes a couple of features designed to help minimise some of the problems most commonly associated with jet craft. Sea-Doo’s method of dealing with noise, for instance, is known as D-SEA-BEL. It is based around the use of resonators, acoustic foam and vibration-absorbing components and it does a pretty good job of keeping things relatively refined and muted.
Another common issue with jet propulsion is the clogging up of the intake grate with floating debris - and the Wake 230 deals with that by means of a facility called the Weedless System. This optional extra is basically a hinged fork that is activated from the helm, clearing the grate at the touch of a button. In action, that means fewer stoppages and much easier maintenance when out on the water.
At the helm
The on board instrumentation is extraordinarily comprehensive. You get the usual dials - tacho, speedo, fuel gauge and hour counter - all with backlighting and anti-fogging. But you also get a fuel flow meter and a depth finder, plus cruise control and mode selection for both docking and skiing. As regards system diagnostics, you get the full armoury of data, with maintenance information, overheating alarm and indicators for low fuel, oil and voltage. And best of all, the 230 also comes with the new Sea-Doo touchscreen interface in pride of place in the centre of the dash, with ECO mode available for those in pursuit of a more affordable day out.
On the inside
This is a big beamy boat and the internal space is expertly used with a walk-through configuration enabling uninterrupted access from the luxuriant bow to the impressively spacious swim platform. Storage capacity is also huge, with space in the anchor locker, the large deck locker and under the seats and the sunpad.
Back aft, in addition to the ski eye and the tow hook, you get a generous swim platform with a boarding ladder and grippy Sea-Doo rubber matting. And when you come back inboard from a session at the end of a towline, the heater (which comes as standard) will keep you comfy until your next spell of sport.
As a watersports boat you would also expect a proper sound system and you certainly get that here, with a satellite-ready stereo with ten speakers (two in the bow, four in the cockpit and four on the tower) and a remote control unit with LCD display on the swim platform. You also get a removable cool box (a very nice touch on a boat of this type) and a pair of 12-volt outlets for additional accessories.
However, the finish in here is by no means perfect. The drainage holes for some of the cup holders, for instance, allow water to drop straight onto the contents of the storage spaces. And there are also several places where self-tapping screws poke through the internal surfaces of the GRP without proper termination. When you attend to these finer details, that nth degree of quality appears to be missing, but that is perhaps an inevitable consequence of the modest price. If you are content to overlook them, the Wake 230 remains a very attractive and relaxing place to be.
This boat majors on style, power and manoeuvrability. It is easy to drive and sufficiently versatile to use for a broad range of watersports pursuits. The jet drives, the shallow draft and the capacity to carry 12 people are very useful assets and while the fit and finish are not of a calibre commensurate with the best in class, neither is the price. In fact, this boat can be yours for little more than half the price of the very top end marques and that makes it a very attractive towboat alternative. Price is from £53,969. For more details see BRP or Sea-Doo.
Notable standard features
Intelligent Throttle Control
Wake Boost System
Swivel Wakeboard Racks
Cockpit and bow covers
Aft-facing lounge seat
Bow filler cushion