In its new Switch, Sea-Doo has created what is not only one of the weirdest boats on the water, but one of the coolest vehicles that you can buy. The 2022 Sea-Doo Switch is a pontoon that rips around like a personal watercraft and is modular bow to stern. I got to put the Switch through its paces on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota and my impressions are coming soon, but I want to highlight one of my favorite features of the boat.
(Full Disclosure: Bombardier Recreational Products and Backbone Media invited me out to Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota to play with some Sea-Doo Switch prototypes for a couple of days. They covered travel, lodging and dining for the duration of the event.)
I know some of you are a bit confused right now. Sea-Doo, the brand best known for the personal watercraft speeding around your local lake, is making a pontoon? It is and it’s only going to get stranger from here.
At the heart of the Switch is its Polytec Tri-Hull. “Polytec” is marketing speak for polypropylene reinforced with fiberglass. The center of the hull is the boat’s lowest point in the water.
If you look closely, you’ll notice that it’s shaped a bit like Sea-Doo’s personal watercraft, which SeaDoo says gives the Switch the agility of a PWC but with a gentle, stable cruise.
The company says that Polytec is cheaper to manufacture and easier to repair than fiberglass. Plus, the material gives the boat a killer look. Seriously, boaters actually turned their crafts around and chased down the Switch prototypes just to figure out what they just saw blow past them.
Nestled inside of the hull is a Rotax 1630 ACE jet propulsion system ranging from 100 HP to a supercharged 230 HP. The higher horsepower models are good for far more fun than you’d think a pontoon could deliver. And you pilot the thing from a helm with a handlebar instead of a wheel.
You can control the boat’s trim system, cruise control, drive modes and more right from the bars and the display. If you stand up, it feels like you’re on a PWC, which is quite weird given the fact that it’s a pontoon.
This boat also stops like a car using Sea-Doo’s Intelligent Brake & Reverse system (iBR) that essentially reverses the water flow of the jet to stop the craft.
It’ll go from 40 mph to 0 mph fast enough to throw someone overboard if you’re not careful. You’ll get to read more about this when I write up how the Switch handles.
One of the features I like the most about the Switch is its modular deck. You can change absolutely everything on the deck but the helm.
Want a party boat? Use the LinQ quick-attach tiles to add coolers, benches and tables.
Want to go fishing? You can secure your fishing gear right there on the deck. The tiles work with the gear from other Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) accessories, so the storage box attached to your Can-Am side-by-side also attaches to the boat.
I experimented with the system and it is really quick and intuitive to use.
The Switch’s deck could be reconfigured entirely in only a few minutes.
And if you just want an open space to walk around or even sunbathe, there are soft mats that snap in that feel great under your feet.
The railing around the deck is similarly modular, you can hang accessories like fenders and cupholders inside and outside of the boat.
Right now, the deck accessories are largely limited to furniture, storage, coolers, fuel caddies and fishing accessories. However, BRP left the door wide open for expanding the concept further. The company will also offer the LinQ tiles separately so you turn your dock into a modular deck. No need for deck furniture when you can use the furniture straight from the boat.
The Switch’s modularity is so neat and so easy that it makes me wish other vehicles were built like this. Forget about offering a million different layouts for an RV when you can offer one and let the customer decide how they want it. Automakers have played around with modularity to a degree. Cars like the Smart Fortwo offer body panels that can be easily switched out for different colors or patterns.
But it would be cool to have something where you could upgrade a car’s interior or infotainment as easy as you could slap a bench onto a Switch.
The 2022 Sea-Doo Switch starts at $17,999 for a 13-foot Compact model with 100 HP. The range maxes out with the 21-foot, 230 HP Switch Cruise at $36,499. All boats come with a trailer to haul them around. BRP is taking pre-orders now with deliveries expected early next year. My impressions of how the Switch handles on the water and how its technology works will be coming soon.