Sea Doo Switch Sport

Modular Layout

Pontoon boats have often been thought of as the “minivans of the water”.  Large and comfortable but not exactly nimble on the water.  Bombardier is changing that perception with the recent launch of the Sea Doo Switch.

What is the Sea Doo Switch

Switch is a tritoon pontoon with a Polytec™ hull and powered by a Rotax jet engine – similar to what is used in the Sea Doo PWCs.  It is available in three models – Switch (base model), Switch Cruise and Switch Sport.  Starting prices (before options/packages) range from around $24K (13’ base model) to $43K (21’ Cruise with 230 HP motor).

Some unique features of the Sea Doo Switch include the following:

  • Modular/customizable design – Sometimes referred to as the “Lego boat”, the seats can easily be rearranged on the deck, and you can snap in various accessories throughout.
  • Handlebar steering – Similar to that of a PWC with the throttle on the right-hand grip and reverse or “braking” on the left.
  • Sea Doo Switch Hull

    Varied-height hull

    Maneuverability – the middle pontoon sits slightly deeper in the water which enables the boat to lean into turns.

One problem with jet propulsion systems is that they are susceptible to sucking in debris or vegetation into the intake grates.  This typically meant reaching into a compartment and pulling out the obstruction.  Sea Doo helped solve this problem with their new iDF (intelligent Debris-Free) system. With iDF, the operator can reverse the boat’s impeller to “blow out” whatever is clogging the intake.  Check out this short video to see how the iDF system works.

Key Benefits of the Sea Doo Switch

The innovative design and unique features of the Sea Doo Switch should deliver an on-water experience unlike other pontoons.  Here are some things I especially like about the product:

  • Sea Ray Switch Handlebars

    Handlebar Steering

    Sporty/fun to drive – The Switch is capable of quick acceleration and tight turning due to the jet propulsion system (jets typically accelerate quicker than props that are prone to slippage), handlebar steering (can make a full turn quickly and with less motion), and varied height tritoon design (that enables the boat to lean into turns).

  • Can configure the boat to your needs – Sea Doo calls it the LinQ system that enables you to easily move seats and accessories without the use of tools. This ability to customize is not only a consumer benefit but also improves manufacturing efficiency since the company does not need to produce multiple layouts.  A good way for the company to keep costs down.
  • See-through fencing – rather than the traditional hard plastic or aluminum fencing around the perimeter of the boat, Switch uses a see-through vinyl which gives you the feeling of being closer to the water and helps to locate the dock on approach.
  • Sea Doo Switch Anchor Storage

    Bow Anchor Storage

    Anchor storage in the bow – This might seem like a little thing but has been a pet peeve of mine for years. Pontoon owners in research studies have often complained about having to store a wet, muddy anchor in the “family room” area of their boat.  Finally, someone figured out a way to solve this problem.  This tells me that Sea Doo is closely listening to boaters.

Dislikes and Concerns

Though the Sea Doo Switch offers a number of compelling advantages, it does have a few shortcomings in comparison to a traditional pontoon:

  • Comfort – because they are designed for portability, the seats and couches appear to be less plush and comfortable. More like patio furniture vs. family room furnishings.
  • Storage – again, because of the modular design, you don’t have the long spans of storage like you do in most other pontoons. However, there is storage under each individual seat section as well as in the middle pontoon under the floorboard.
  • Fewer “creature comforts” – the dash/gauges are fairly spartan as is the list of available features vs. a traditional pontoon boat.
  • Front entry only – the only gate is in the front of the boat. Not a big deal for younger adults and older kids who could easily step over the fencing, but it might be a problem for older individuals or those with mobility issues.
  • Noise level – jet engines typically run at higher RPMs and are noticeably louder than current 4-stroke outboards (however, I haven’t seen a dB comparison yet to confirm this).
  • Reliability? – The fact that it uses the same proven Rotax engines used in their PWCs should provide a considerable degree of reassurance. However, it is unknown how well the plastic tiles and attachments will hold up over time.  Likewise, the Polytec™ hull should be more scratch resistant and easier to maintain vs. fiberglass but perhaps not as durable as aluminum.
  • No fishing features – Most surprising to me is that Switch does not offer any fishing features/accessories such as pedestal seats, rod holders, a livewell, and ability to mount a trolling motor. I know from my research that even those who buy “pleasure” pontoon models like to fish on occasion.  I strongly suspect Sea Doo will address this in future models.

Who is Sea Doo Switch Best Suited For

The Sea Doo Switch is not for everyone and that is Ok.  It is better to be loved by some than to be lukewarm to many.  Having said that, here is who I believe would value this boat the most:

  • Younger Adults/Families – The sportier ride and relatively affordable price will make it attractive to those looking for a more athletic or thrilling experience and/or their first boat.
  • Those on small lakes – There are thousands of small lakes throughout the US, especially in the upper Midwest. This boat would be perfect in many of these locations where a larger, plusher boat would be overkill.  Plus, the Switch is available in a 13’ model for tiny bodies of water.

Conversely, Switch might not be the best choice for the following types of boaters:

  • Older adults or those with mobility issues – As mentioned earlier, having a single point of entry at the front of the boat could be a problem for those who are less agile.  Also, senior adults typically prefer a smoother, gentler ride for balance and comfort reasons and are not looking for the more aggressive ride capabilities that Switch offers.
  • Waterways with a lot of aquatic vegetation of debris – Some lakes get choked with weeds in the summer months. If this describes your lake, then this might not be the best option for you because you might get frustrated having to clean debris from the intake grate often.

Overall, the Sea Doo Switch is an innovative boat that will likely attract a new generation of boaters.  If you are someone who loves the thrill of riding a PWC but would like more room for family and friends, then this boat just might have your name on it.   You can learn more at the Sea Doo website or by watching this in-depth overview by JetBoatPilot.

Let me know your impressions of this boat and whether or not you think it is right for you in the comments section below.

Jerry Mona - BoaterInput

About the author

Jerry Mona is an avid boater and angler and long-time boating industry insider. With over three decades of experience, he is often considered to be the leading research expert with boaters and has helped numerous manufacturers and trade associations to understand the needs, wants, attitudes and behaviors of boaters. He now shares many of his insights about boats and boaters for free on his BoaterInput.com website.

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