Browse Publications Technical Papers 2005-01-1176

Stopping Distance and Acceleration Performance of Personal Watercraft 2005-01-1176

This study investigates the stopping distance and acceleration performance of five commercially available personal watercraft (PWC). Testing was performed to develop data for the reconstructionist performing analyses of PWC accidents. Stopping distances were determined by integrating velocity measurements collected by a Ka band radar and data acquisition system. Acceleration measurements were determined by differentiating data collected using the same equipment.
Typical stopping distances were found to be 125 ft to 160 ft (38.1 m to 48.8 m) at 30 mph (48 km/h) and 180 ft to 225 ft (54.9 m to 68.6 m) at 40 mph (64 km/h). For the range of velocities tested, stopping distance was found to be linearly related to speed. The average deceleration over the full stopping distance was -0.14 g to -0.31 g. If these stopping distances and accelerations are compared to road vehicles, they are similar to those observed on snow and ice.
Straight line acceleration was observed to be speed dependent. Each particular watercraft had its own acceleration versus speed profile. Average peak accelerations observed were 0.31 g to 0.55 g. For the most powerful watercraft, the average acceleration from 0 to 30 mph (48 km/h) was over 0.45 g. This is similar to the average acceleration of a 2004 Porsche Boxster accelerating from 0 - 62.0 mph (0 - 100 km/h) in 6.4 seconds for an average acceleration of 0.44 g.


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