When BRP announced they were ceasing production of Sea-Doo jet boats last year, a number of boat-builders decided to move into the niche. One of them, the iconic pleasure-boat builder Sea Ray, soon announced the introduction of two new jet-powered models.
We tested and reviewed these models (see Sea Ray 21 Jet: Bowrider of the Future and Sea Ray 24 Jet, the Biggest Jet Boat of the Year), and speaking from my experience on them, both boats were well-designed, fun to run, and took full advantage of all the great things jet boats have to offer - particularly maneuverability and handling, both of which were flat-out amazing.
Unfortunately, Sea Ray has now announced that these jet boats won't be going into production.
"After thorough testing and analysis, Sea Ray has determined the propulsion system in its prototype jet boats does not provide the quality, durability and reliability necessary to meet the rigorous requirements of the Sea Ray brand," Sea Ray announced, in a statement sent to the media. "Sea Ray has concluded that the brand promise can be better met by putting resources into developing exceptional small sport boats, both in sterndrive and outboard configurations."
On the one hand, this is a darn shame. The 21 Jet and 24 Jet were both oodles of fun to run, and it would be great for Sea Ray fans to have a jet-power option.
On the other hand, kudos to Sea Ray for refusing to release these boats after determining the propulsion systems weren't up to snuff. They operated flawlessly when we ran them, but naturally, long-term use can be a very different story from a few sea trials. And through the years I've seen many boats and power systems released and sold before they were ready for prime-time. The net result is usually unhappy boaters, frustrated dealers, and damaged reputations.
So while we're bummed Sea Ray had to shut down the jet models, we're not too bummed; sometimes, not building a boat is the right call to make.