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Thread: Jetboat pros & cons?

  1. #1
    Member moose-head's Avatar
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    Default Jetboat pros & cons?

    My brother had a jet boat several years ago and sucked sand and gravel into his intake and buggered up something inside (fins or something?) that was a couple hundred dollars to fix. A friend of mine had one that got the intake kept getting plugged by seaweed and made for a long, cold day unplugging the intake repeatedly, although no cost was involved in fixing it. Gas consumption is greater in the jet, steering is a learned art, and being stuck looks self explanatory as a drawback. I have demolished a few props on my prop boat, but have a spare and have always been able to at least limp home. I know the advantages are running in skinny water that I won’t even see with my prop boat, but on the whole are they very problematic to run? I have limited experience with jets and am just curious about what people have to say pro or con about jetboats.
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    At the risk of starting a jihad, here are the basics:

    1. Jet boats are (generally) not any more problematic to run than a prop;
    2. Inboard jets generate more power than do outboard jets (30% loss due to hydrodynamics of outboard pump design);
    3. Inboard jets can generally can turn more quickly, as you're moving a nozzle, rather than the entire powerhead;
    4. Outboard jets are easier to clean in that you can tilt them up to disassemble, etc - but depends on the problem;
    5. Waaaay more fun than props to run due to steer behavior, places you can go, etc - look for TJM's video collection for a taste of good times

    If you're not getting stuck or sucking in some stuff up the intake, you're just not having fun then, are you?

    Disclaimer: I'm a big fan of outboards simply due to accessibility if needed to clean them out - seen too many big inboards high and dry, needing a chainsaw winch to crib them up to clean/repair something on the hull bottom - I prefer to hit the tilt switch, and be on my way in a few minutes...

    Let the jihad begin

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    Member GrizzlyH's Avatar
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    Really has nothing to do with this post, but it sorta might......lol
    I do alot of river bank fishing on the little su and 2 summers ago I had a guy that would not stay on the deep side of the river while us bank fishers were fishing. He would run right next to us in the shallow water just to piss us off. He was a *****, but *****dum finally got him one day that I was down there fishing. He came down the river from the launch and by now I'm sick of this arshole as well as all the other bank fishermen. I yelled at him this time and told him to stay in the channel or he's gonna get stuck. It just got better than you can imagine. This guy yells back at me from his boat and says, don't tell me your **** honky (oh left out the color) I know this river......lol
    Well, he got 100 feet below me and the rest of the guys fishing by me and dry docked his boat on a sand bar. Took that dumb ass 2 hours to get his boat off that bar with no help from us of course. He made his bed and we watched him sleep in it. That was so funny I wake up at nite still laughing at that dope. Point is, if ya got a jet boat, don't piss off the bank fishermen cuz they might help ya off the rock pile. Fact is the *******s lucky, cuz I had my mind made up that the next time he buzzed me in the river I was gonna empty my sawed of in his hull.....nuf said...........if your nice with your boat you'll get all the help you need. Be an ass and get ******* treatment.
    What more can I say.
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    Member bkmail's Avatar
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    Moosehead,
    No they are not more problematic to run. Just a learning curve like most things in life. Well worth the thrill and as explained above, they can get you places that are impassable in a prop boat. I believe they require less maintenance overall, no lower unit oil to change, no dinged props or shear pins to deal with. Run a stainless impeller and it will rarely need sharpening, mine is 13 years old and only been touched up a few times.
    GrizzlyH,
    As a jetboat driver on the Lil Su for many years, the same could be said about bank fisherman being ********s. They won't move out of the way when we come through, standing IN the channel does not make it easy to get around you. (I'm not accusing you of this, simply stating a fact.)
    I understand there's one in every crowd but most boaters are very considerate and do not want to be SHOT at. Do you feel the same way when you are cut off in your car...whip out a pistol and threaten 'em?
    I have also been run off the river by boaters (a guide actually) on the Lil Su and choose not to go there anymore.
    My thoughts,
    BK

  5. #5
    Member GrizzlyH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkmail View Post
    Moosehead,
    No they are not more problematic to run. Just a learning curve like most things in life. Well worth the thrill and as explained above, they can get you places that are impassable in a prop boat. I believe they require less maintenance overall, no lower unit oil to change, no dinged props or shear pins to deal with. Run a stainless impeller and it will rarely need sharpening, mine is 13 years old and only been touched up a few times.
    GrizzlyH,
    As a jetboat driver on the Lil Su for many years, the same could be said about bank fisherman being ********s. They won't move out of the way when we come through, standing IN the channel does not make it easy to get around you. (I'm not accusing you of this, simply stating a fact.)
    I understand there's one in every crowd but most boaters are very considerate and do not want to be SHOT at. Do you feel the same way when you are cut off in your car...whip out a pistol and threaten 'em?
    I have also been run off the river by boaters (a guide actually) on the Lil Su and choose not to go there anymore.
    My thoughts,
    BK
    BK, can't say all bank fishermen are perfect of course not I'm sure. But where I stood in the river, the otherside was deeper and more boat worthy. This arshole chose to run us down on the shallow side 3 days in a row. The 3rd day got him by his own ignorant stupidity, I loved it. The guide boats were very curtious of us and we did back away as they came by our own courtesy, by the way to give them all the room they needed. It's the private boaters that don't have courtesy on the rivers for the most part. If you got ran off a channel by a guide you maybe didn't wait your turn to go. Honest mistake, but a mistake.
    I can do the impossible right away. Be patient, miracles take me a bit longer.

  6. #6
    Member bkmail's Avatar
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    Mooshead,
    I hear what you are saying and understand where you are coming from.
    The guide that ran me off the river was going to fast in the slide hole coming down river sideways trying to avoid a group of bank fisherman up to thier waists in the water. I was off step heading up river and was forced to launch my boat onto the oppisite bank from the fisherman in order to avoid a head collision by the guide. I literally powered up onto the bank and launched my boat out of the water to avoid him. After it was all said and done everyone standing on the bank believed the guide needed a severe arse kicking for his inappropiate actions.
    So, as you are now informed, it was a mistake on his part and quick thinking that saved my boat and passengers plus his clients from a nasty head on collision.
    This is the reason I don't run the Lil Su anymore, there are too many idiots on that small river, both on the bank and running boats.
    BK

  7. #7
    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    my little hotrod jet boat burns 5-6 gph at 27mph. will run in 2" of water or less. gets me in places even alot of other jets boats can't get....mostly outboards. In the hands of a skilled driver would even shine more. but when i get stuck it is ugly. i have alot of gear to get unstuck....still need a chainsaw winch. prop motors ( OUTBOARDS AND GO-DEVILS) cost me alot more for repairs and maintance and never came close to getting me where this boat will.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J43tve19OIg&NR=1

    seaweed not a problem for mine...never take it in the salt water. that is what salt water boats are for.
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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I don't have a lot of experience but I have owned a jet boat for a couple years and so far as long as you avoid the things you mention in your post they are pretty problem free. I know that I have heard the faint shhhhh sound of a gravel bar against my hull a few times in silty water, if I had a prop lower unit I would have been walking or drifting out.

  9. #9
    Member Jimw's Avatar
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    Moosehead
    I've been running a jet for 5 years now and I'am still learning. The maintance in next to nothing, change the oil when need and hit the grease fitting when needed. Just like a car. Now, i have never had to haul my boat out to clean out the grate. Stomp grates are your friends. I have had to replace my impeller twice in that time, but that was my fault with a learning curve on how to read water. I have pumped a lot of sand and gravel through my jet and it has never let me down. I have turned it into a salad shooter a couple of times on the lakes and the stomp grate took care of that with out getting wet.
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  10. #10

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    I would recommend going with the prop, but....get it up out of the water and harms way. It needs to be mounted about two feet above the waterline.
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    I have a outboard jet and I am still learning and nervous about breaking down, but with more and more experience its way to much fun especially when the water is a bit shallow,

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    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moose-head View Post
    My brother had a jet boat several years ago and sucked sand and gravel into his intake and buggered up something inside (fins or something?) that was a couple hundred dollars to fix. A friend of mine had one that got the intake kept getting plugged by seaweed and made for a long, cold day unplugging the intake repeatedly, although no cost was involved in fixing it.
    My experience has been that fouling my jet is no more problematic than hitting bottom with a prop was back in the day when I ran them extensively. I dont know that rebuilding an impellor is any more expensive than rebuilding a prop... yes, you can spend a great deal of time cleaning your intake of grass and stones, but in a short while of experience that shouldnt be such an issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by moose-head View Post
    Gas consumption is greater in the jet,
    my V8 gets 8-9 gallons an hour averaging probably 40mph overall. I dont find it to be all that bad really.

    Quote Originally Posted by moose-head View Post
    steering is a learned art,
    I guess I dont understand this statement, I mean, all boating is a learned art in my book, launching, retrieving, which angle to cut the waves, running a tiller, setting a sail... its all a learned art isnt it?

    Quote Originally Posted by moose-head View Post
    and being stuck looks self explanatory as a drawback.
    if I quit skiing everytime I fell, or snowmobiling everytime I got stuck, or flying everytime I bounced a landing, or hunting everytime I didnt get an animal, or fishing everytime I got wet... well... being stuck certainly seems to go with the territory from time to time, certainly the rewards seem to outweigh the dissadvantages in many of our minds.

    Quote Originally Posted by moose-head View Post
    I have demolished a few props on my prop boat, but have a spare and have always been able to at least limp home.
    Ive been boating for over 40 years here in alaska, and have always made it home even if I've had to limp

    Quote Originally Posted by moose-head View Post
    I know the advantages are running in skinny water that I won’t even see with my prop boat, but on the whole are they very problematic to run?
    no more problematic than 4 wheelers, atv's, snowmobiles, skii's, bicycles, snowshoes and horses in my book...

    Quote Originally Posted by moose-head View Post
    I have limited experience with jets and am just curious about what people have to say pro or con about jetboats.
    They sure are a lot of fun, but more importantly up here in ak where we have such vast un-roaded areas, they serve as a unique and highly effective means of transportation and access. If you ever get up this way get in touch and I'd be happy to have you tag along sometime.

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    take a ride with CHRISO you won't be dissappointed.....

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