Pontoons have been selling like hotcakes for nearly 10 years now with the pandemic giving them an extra boost as people look for a boat that can entertain the whole family without destroying the family budget. Pontoons (many of them now tritoons, with an extra buoyancy tube in the middle) have been growing bigger, stronger and faster and that has also made them harder to store and more expensive. Enter a game changer: personal watercraft (PWC) maker Sea-Doo, just introduced a model that’s smaller, lighter and more likely to fit your wallet as well as your garage. That’s right, the PWC builder entered the pontoon segment with their new Switch Series that offers three models that are like nothing we’ve seen before.

2022 Sea-Doo Switch Cruise 21

Above: The 2022 Sea-Doo Switch Cruise 21. Photo by Sea-Doo.


The Switch design is a pontoon/PWC hybrid that’s available in three models the Switch base model (13-19 feet), the Switch Sport (13-21 feet, for watersports) and the Switch Cruise (18-21 feet, designed for all-day outings). It’s like a pontoon boat wrapped around a PWC and powered by a Rotax jet engine. Sound strange? It is – but in a good way.

Unlike aluminum pontoon boats, the Switch is a tri-hull platform with three polypropylene and fiberglass tubes. The two outer hulls are filled with foam for buoyancy while the center hull is seven inches deeper and narrower and holds the jet engine and the fuel tank.


2022 Sea-Doo Switch 16

Above: The 2022 Sea-Doo Switch 16. Photo by Sea-Doo.

There are technically three models but that’s a bit deceiving since you order by length (13-21 feet) first and then by amenities as you outfit the boat as a base, sport or cruising application. For example, the Switch Base can carry 5-9 passengers, can be 13-19 feet long, and comes in one color which is blue.

2022 Sea-Doo Sport 18

Above: The 2022 Sea-Doo Switch Sport 18. Photo by Sea-Doo.

The Switch Sport carries the same number of passengers, can be 13-21 feet long, has a bigger engine option and comes in blue, yellow or orange/red trim. It also has a sport lounge area with sunpads and backrests plus 7" Garmin touchscreen GPS at the controls.

2022 Sea-Doo Switch Cruise 21

Above: The 2022 Sea-Doo Switch Cruise 21. Photo by Sea-Doo.

The Switch Cruise carries 7-9 passengers, can be 18-21 feet long (actually 20’ 5” for the largest), also has three color trim options and offers nice add-ons like a BRP sound system along with the Garmin touchscreen GPS multifunction display for navigation when you want to venture farther.

Depending on size, engine and outfitting, the approximate weight is 2,500 pounds so you don’t need a monster tow vehicle to move your Switch from lake to river, and since the beam is under eight feet, you won’t need a special towing permit either. You may even be able to keep the Switch in your garage which is much cheaper than at a separate storage facility and that lowers the overall cost of ownership.

Onboard Layout And Cockpit Design

The Switch looks different right at the dock. Instead of aluminum fencing panels that most pontoons feature, it has clear vinyl sides attached to powder-coated aluminum rails. This makes the construction lighter. It also adds safety since the driver can see through the vinyl when approaching a dock or a skier in the water. A boarding gate is at the bow and one can be added aft in a rear corner in certain configurations. There is no side gate so it may be tricky to board from a dock.

The deck system is modular with 18-inch tiles making a grid to which you attach various features and furniture. It’s called Sea-Doo’s LinQ system and uses snap-in mounting hardware to add seats/couches, corner tables, and so on. You can also opt to keep the deck clear for fishing or partying. The system can be changed out quickly by the boater so it’s very flexible. Just push or pull the T-handle to secure or release various add-ons and go from a day of fishing, to an afternoon of watersports, to an evening of entertaining, all on one boat.

Helm Controls

The helm is different too. Instead of a wheel, you steer with PWC-like handlebars. The throttle is on the right bar while Sea-Doo’s Intelligent Brake & Reverse (iBR) system is on the left. (This award-winning breaking system uses a bucket to deflect thrust and therefore slow, stop or reverse the boat.) With the handlebars, you can spin the boat almost in its own length if the wind is cooperating. There’s even a cruise control feature so the driver doesn’t have to apply throttle pressure throughout a long cruise.


Power is provided by a Rotax 1630 ACE 3-cylinder engine with a horsepower range of 100 to 230. The Base Switch is offered with 100-170 hp, the Sport with 170-230 hp for more towing power, and the Cruise with the full range of 100-230 hp depending on how you outfit the boat and what you plan to do with it as a primary use.

We tested the 230-hp engine with four people aboard and managed a top speed of 32 mph. That’s lower than the advertised 43 mph but it was a blustery day with a 2-3-foot chop and winds blowing 20-30 mph – so not exactly the kind of day to go out for a pull on a wakeboard or a speed test. On flat water, you can expect to see an increase of 5 mph or more. With 29 gallons of onboard fuel, you can get in quite a few tow rides at high speed or cruise a respectable distance at lower, more economical numbers. Expect a 50-90-mile range depending on speed and conditions.

It takes a bit of getting used to driving with handlebars rather than a wheel. PWC-aficionados will have little trouble with it and the rest of us can get used to it after a few docking sessions. The nice great thing about jet propulsion is not having a propeller. The result is a shallower draft (the max is under 20 inches) so you can venture into skinny waters or ones where there may be prop-eating obstacles likes rocks or stumps.


Now let’s get to the part that makes these boats so accessible – their price. The basic Switch starts at $18,000, the Sport at $24,000 and the Cruise at $27,000. You can accessorize each with a bigger engine and various LinQ attachments and that will increase the total by 25%-30% or so. The trailer is included in each base price above, which is impressive. You’d be hard-pressed to find starting prices like these on any new model, much less ones that can morph as the boater’s needs change.


There’s no end to the way you can make the Switch your own. With the LinQ attachment system you can add coolers, storage boxes, and fuel caddies. The rail mount lets you add cup holders, fenders and wakeboard/ski racks. You can upgrade the audio system to a full speaker module, add a Bimini for shade or a table for entertaining, and a ski pylon or rearview mirror for watersports. You can even have an integrated anchor locker and a trailer painted to match the boat. Each addition will tick up the price so be sure to prioritize your needs and dial in the bottom line number. As tested with most everything, our boat circled $36,000.

A true family boat

Pontoon boats aren’t what they used to be and that’s all good because they’re actually better. The Switch creates even more appeal by bringing a fun, fast, flexible and affordable boat to the mix. For new boaters looking to maximize their budget and optimize their storage space, it’s kind of a no-brainer.

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Written by: Zuzana Prochazka
Zuzana Prochazka is a writer and photographer who freelances for a dozen boating magazines and websites. A USCG 100 Ton Master, Zuzana has cruised, chartered and skippered flotillas in many parts of the world and serves as a presenter on charter destinations and topics. She is the Chair of the New Product Awards committee, judging innovative boats and gear at NMMA and NMEA shows, and currently serves as immediate past president of Boating Writers International. She contributes to Boats.com and YachtWorld.com, and also blogs regularly on her boat review site, TalkoftheDock.com.