Off-Throttle Turning Performance of Personal Watercraft for Accident Reconstruction 2005-01-1198
The average off-throttle steering trajectories were determined for four commercially available personal watercraft at a test speed of 30 mph (48 km/h). The off-throttle steering performance of a personal watercraft (PWC) with a simple add-on, off-throttle steering system and a 16 ft runabout with a 140 hp outboard motor were also tested. The watercraft were tested according to the SAE J2608 Recommended Practice - Off-Throttle Steering Capabilities of Personal Watercraft. The trajectories of these watercraft were quantified in an off-throttle steering maneuver. These trajectories can be used as a guideline to reconstruct PWC accidents.
The off-throttle turning capabilities of the test watercraft can be classified into two categories; those with effective off-throttle turning capability and those without effective off-throttle turning capability. The 1994 Bombardier XP, the 1997 Bombardier GTX and the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) 2000 Yamaha XL1200 had extremely poor turning trajectories. At best, these watercraft achieved half of the transfer specification outlined in the SAE Recommended Practice. At worst, negligible transfer was achieved. The 2004 Bombardier GTX 4-TEC Supercharged, the 2000 Yamaha XL1200 with retrofitted off-throttle steering and the 16 ft runabout had significantly superior off-throttle steering capabilities.