5 Most-Common Problems With Sea-Doo Boats (Explained)

Sea-Doo has been an industry leader in jet skis and personalized watercraft (PWC’s) since 1968.

Despite their longevity and popularity, Sea-Doo boats can have their problems, just like any other brand.

In this article, we take a look at the 5 most common problems with Sea-Doo boats:

A Brief History Of Sea-Doo Boats

The Canadian company Bombardier Recreational Products first introduced a personal watercraft or PWC called the Bombardier Sea-Doo back in 1968.

This PWC created a whole new discipline in the sport boat industry. However, this early Bombardier Sea-Doo was ahead of its time and was discontinued after 2 years following many customer complaints about it being uncomfortable and unpractical.

In the spring of 1988, a new generation Sea-Doo PWC was reintroduced to the market, which created a whole new watercraft industry. While their main competitors were both Kawasaki and Yamaha, the new Sea-Doo model went on to capture more than half the PWC market.

Today other competitors have come and gone, but Sea-Doo remains a strong leader in the PWC market.

By 1994 the first Sea-Doo Jet Drive boat entered the market. This was a 14 foot, twin-engine Speedster model that could carry up to four passengers, creating a family sport boat.

These jet boats were revolutionary as they used the same technology as their jet skis, which use impellors to generate thrust instead of the normal propellor, resulting in much faster speeds.

Sea-Doo manufactured several popular models of jet boats until the financial crash in 2007-2008 saw sales drop. They announced that they would cease production of the jet boats in 2012, although parts are still available.

Today BRP is still in business, and Sea-Doo is still a leader in personal manufacturing watercraft with a wide variety of models available, together with their new line of pontoon boats.

Common Problems With Sea-Doo Boats

If you like the adrenaline of crossing a bay or lake at speed, then you know how much fun jet boats and personal watercraft can be.

Unfortunately, high performance comes with high maintenance, and so if they are not properly maintained, you can run into problems.

The following are the most common:

1. The Engine Won’t Start, Misfires, Or Runs Irregularly

You’ve launched your Sea-Doo, inserted the key, and pushed the button, and nothing happens!

Despite the most meticulous maintenance, things can go wrong. An engine that won’t start, misfires, or runs irregularly can be down to many things.

Electrical problems, faulty spark plugs, old fuel, dirty filters, or blocked fuel injectors are most common.

The good news is that your Sea-Doo display should show you a fault code so that you can quickly solve the problem.

2. Top Speeds Are Not Achieved

So the engine is running, but you are not achieving top speeds?

Another common problem can often be traced to bad fuel or fuel line issues, a clogged intake pump or air filter, the impeller may be damaged, or the ECM (engine control monitor) or even the engine could be faulty.

Sea-Doo engine faults can vary widely, so the best practice is to check the fault code and refer to your owner’s manual first.

You may be able to fix some simple things yourself before you go running to your Sea-Doo dealer.

3. Reverse Gear Gets Jammed Or Blocked

Sea-Doo uses an exclusive IBR system, which stands for Intelligent Brake and Reverse, and is recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) for improving safety.

Sometimes the IBR reverse gate can get accidentally jammed by a stone or a branch from a tree. These obstructions can be easily removed before you try again.

Alternatively, if your forward and reverse gears are jammed, it could be down to a faulty fuse which can easily be replaced.

4. The Storage Compartment Hinge Breaks

Most personal watercraft, including Sea-Doo, have a small storage compartment where you can store safety gear, water bottles, and other personal stuff.

Often people slam the lid shut or pack in too much equipment. Because of the hinge’s angle, this is often a weak place, and the lid or hinge will crack or break.

To avoid this, try not to overload the storage compartment, but if you do pack it completely, make sure to close the lid gently to avoid adding extra pressure on the hinges or the lid.

However, if your hinge or lid breaks, there are solutions.

You can repair a broken hinge by buying the replacement parts from your Seadoo dealer, and if the lid has cracked, you can use a fiberglass repair kit.

5. The Spark Plugs Can Be Difficult To Remove Or Replace

Just like any brand of jetski, if your Sea-Doo hasn’t been serviced in a couple of years, it may be difficult to remove or replace the spark plugs.

This is because the old plugs can rust, which causes them to get stuck in the motor.

The easiest way to try and solve this problem is to use some fine oil and leave them for a while before trying again. If this doesn’t work, you can try and remove the plugs by using a socket with an extension bar.

If the plug breaks, the plug can still be removed by using an “easy-out” extraction tool. Once removed, make sure you check to ensure no particles fall inside, which can only add to your problems.

Tip: If you are replacing your spark plugs, try using a small amount of engine lubricant to make them simpler to remove next time.

Seized spark plugs are a common problem in all brands of personal watercraft. This is because of the harsh environment they are used in, which is another reason for carrying out regular maintenance.

General Pros And Cons Of Sea-Doo Boats

While we have listed some of the more common problems with Sea-Doo boats, there are plenty of pros too!

Looks –

Whether you want to purchase a brand new model or a second-hand model that’s a few years old, Sea-Doo fans all agree that Sea-Doo boats look modern, mean, and fresh.

Safety –

As we have already mentioned, Sea-Doo uses an exclusive IBR system and is recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) for improving safety.

In addition, Sea-Doo boats have other innovative safety features, including Intelligent Throttle Control (ITC), a Closed-Loop Cooling System (CLCS), and an Ergolock Seating System which allows you to “lock-in” and feel at one with your machine.

Shallow Drafts –

Jet boats of any kind have a shallower draft than the more traditional propeller-driven boats.

This allows you to access shallower waters without worrying about running aground or undergoing prop damage in murky waters.

Performance –

Whatever type of boating you want to do, Sea-Doo has a model for you.

From the supercharged GTR with a powerful 230hp Rotax engine to the more sedate Fishpro Scout, Sea-Doo has you covered!

Easy To Handle And Transport Or Store –

You need to consider the type of boating you want to do and where you will store it.

A Sea-Doo is lightweight and easy to maneuver onto a trailer, which can then be towed to another destination or easily stored in your garage at home.

 The Cons:

  • Sometimes the engine won’t start, misfires, or runs irregularly
  • Top speeds may not be achieved
  • The reverse gear can get jammed or blocked
  • The storage compartment hinge and lid may break
  • The spark plugs can be difficult to remove

What Do The Reviews Say?

As Sea-Doo has been around for such a long time, many reviews from various boating magazines and Youtubers alike.

However, let’s see what the professionals have to say.

“Sea-Doo’s 2020 GTI SE 170 is lighter, more powerful, and far more stable than any previous iteration of the long-running GTI platform. It also boasts more storage, a more ergonomic rider connection, and the ability to carry a wide variety of additional gear with ease.”

[source: boatingmag.com]

“One of the biggest advantages of Sea-Doo’s products is their pricing. There’s a reason this brand is so popular with first-time buyers. It’s a great choice for those looking for a fun jet ski to start enjoying the water with.”

[source: boatcoversdirect.com]

The consensus on the Sea-Doo boating forums seems to back the experts up, with many saying it is the most reliable personal watercraft on the market.

What’s the Resale Value Of Sea-Doo Boats?

To look at the resale value of a Sea-Doo boat, let’s make a comparison with one of their most popular models, both new and second-hand:

Model Year Price
Sea-Doo Spark 2022 $5.699
Sea-Doo Spark 2 Up 2016 $8,000

At first glance, you may be wondering why the older model is more expensive? Sea-Doo keeps its prices low by offering basic models.

If you want to add on any upgrades, you will pay more.

The 2016 model is offered with a custom detail package and includes a Sea-Doo Move Single trailer with spare tire and trailering cover.  So if you add on all the extras to the basic new model, you will pay more than the entry-level price.

It’s always nice to buy new if you can afford it, but a well-maintained second-hand Sea-Doo boat could be worth looking at.



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2020 Sea-Doo GTI SE 170 Review

Used Sea-Doo SPARK Jet Skis For Sale

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