Before going into detail, it is worth clarifying one question in a nutshell. Presently, many buyers are out in the market looking for Polaris jet ski.
So, are they really chasing something or nothing? Well, the emphatic answer is that Polaris Jet Ski has never existed!
In a bid to demystify this fact, it is vital that we unravel the truth about the names of Polaris PWCs.
When it comes to watercraft, there lies a huge mess with different general terms, brand names, and manufacturers.
Nearly all world enthusiasts have different names for the crafts. Thus they leave us confused trying to ascertain if the name is finally PWC, personal watercraft, watercraft, Waverunner, Sea-Doo, Jet Ski, Aquatrax, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Wet Bike and so on.
The variety of names could be really confusing. Today, it seems the confusion about the names has crept its way into some rental services in this industry.
You have probably seen ads like “Polaris jet ski for rent” or “Polaris jet ski parts” in many places!
Why “Polaris Jet Ski” Never Existed?
The root of the confusion lies in the less known facts behind the name. Jet Ski is a registered trademark of Kawasaki Motors Corporation. Thus, why does everyone use this term for personal watercraft?
The reason is that in the 80’s – 90’s Kawasaki Jet Skis were extremely popular in the market as one of the best-known brands of watercraft.
After some years, Jet Ski became a generalized trademark for the product. Simply put; this term is used generally to refer to any type of personal watercraft. In fact, the name jet ski is the most common term for watercraft recently used by the public.
The language confusion worsened as even legislations regarding personal watercraft often refer to them as jet skis!
However, since manufacturers are aware of copyright implications, they refrain from using the team “jet ski” because it is a registered trademark of Kawasaki. Thus, this explains why you would never find a single product named “Polaris jet ski” in the market!
But then again, what does Polaris means exactly? Is it the name of the manufacturer or the brand name of the models?
Polaris is a manufacturer
and the brand name of their
watercraft is Sea Lion.
Other PWC Manufacturers
For the same reason mentioned above, you would never find any Yamaha jet ski, Sea-Doo jet ski or even Honda jet ski in the market. As a registered trademark, you can only find exclusive Kawasaki watercraft with the brand name of Jet Ski for sale or for rent!
It follows that the term Sea-Doo is mentioned together with Yamaha and Kawasaki, as the three leading watercraft manufacturers in the market.
However, the chart below reveals that Kawasaki and Yamaha are manufacturers while the term Sea-Doo is the brand name of the watercraft manufactured by Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) Inc.
To make this manufacturer – brand name relationship clearer, we at JetDrift created a small summary chart about all the leading manufacturers and brand names. The table below contains all-time top watercraft manufacturers and their brand:
Beyond their brand names and the confusing “jet ski” term, the most appropriate word for these machines are Watercraft or Personal Watercraft – what is often shorted into PWC.
Let’s take a break from watercraft brand names to look into the history of the Polaris watercraft!
History of Polaris PWC
Polaris entered the motorsport industry decades ago.The company released its first snowmobile prototype in 1954. These machines were designed to make hunting terrains more accessible.
Within the next two year, the prototype began to be a potentially successful invention; thus, the company decided to create a more sophisticated design called the Polaris Snow Traveler.
The first models were released in Minnesota, 1956 with the originals weighing up to 1,000 lb (450 kg) with a speed of virtually 20 mph (32 km/h). Fast-forward to the early 1960s; the motorsport industry started becoming more saturated.
Consequently, Polaris decided to develop “the comet”; it was a smaller front-engine and personal-sized snowmobile purported to expand its market base and outpace her competitors.
Unfortunately, the comet became a market failure as the product was typically unable to travel in all types of snow conditions.
In 1956, Polaris decided that if it was going to stay in business, it had no option but to recall all products and release a new model called “the Mustang.” Unlike the comet, the Mustang made a huge market hit as a high-demand family snowmobile.
With this business success, Polaris began to design similar models to the Mustang throughout the 1960s-1970s. Soon enough, it became a renowned giant in the motorsport industry.
After championing the market to the early 1980s, Polaris decided to develop a great Indy themed snowmobile with IFS. Its dream became a reality in 1958 with the release of the Trail Boss; a visible model which hold the record as the first American-made all-terrain vehicles (ATV).
Polaris continued its market exploits with the release of the Rocky Mountain King (RMK) in the late 1990s: it was a snowmobile design, developed specifically for mountain terrain.
More so, in 1992, Polaris entered the PWC market by releasing their watercraft line under a brand name known as Polaris Sea Lion.
Unfortunately, the industry halted its watercraft line in 2004. However, Polaris still offers a wide array of Snowmobiles, ATVs, and many other types of vehicles in the present market.
Is It Still Worth Buying a Polaris Sea Lion?
Since the latest Polaris watercraft was released in 2004, it means they are pretty old and no longer in production.
Surprisingly, you can still find used models in the market for sale. However, when it comes to purchasing a Polaris PWC there are several factors to consider.
Before buying a used PWC, don’t miss our used PWC buyers guide.
Advantages of Polaris PWCs
Low-cost: Polaris PWCs are affordable options that make an available choice for first-timers seeking a “low budget” personal watercrafts. Most of these aged models range from $300-$500 upwards to thousands of dollars depending on the model/specifications.
Design: The retro-theme design of Polaris PWC is an appealing sight to behold. Even critics pretend to blind to this fact in their analysis. Most of the surviving models come as a purple and teal color stunner bearing the heritage of artistic ’90s. Most young vintage lovers will surely appreciate this fact for their next watercraft.
Lower-fuel consumption: although this factor may vary among all Polaris watercraft, however, the brand widely known for developing fuel-effective models. Most of their models also come with sizeable fuel capacities that grants you an all-riding experience with minimal refueling possibility.
Disadvantages of Polaris PWCs
Reliability: Unfortunately, most modern watercraft in the market record a high-reliability ratio that the aged species. Although, watercraft generally require proper maintenance to guarantee its dependability, however, the Polaris PWC demands more attention and parts replacement because of their age factor.
Replacement Parts: Spotting defective parts and shopping for their replacement is a significant downside of most Polaris watercraft. In extreme cases, they stand a chance to be grounded at repair sites before it can be restored to working condition.
Searching for the right parts can be very strenuous because they vary according to the year and model. Good news is that Polaris PWCs comes with a relatively simpler engine that proves easy for technical help.
Specs: the vintage Polaris models only come with standard features of the 90s watercraft. Most modern collections now have electronic bells, whistles, and what not that trendy love may consider over Polaris watercraft.
Conclusively, choosing a Polaris Sea Lion depends on the individual’s pocket taste and specifications. Take about specifications; here are few models to consider before making up your mind on Polaris watercrafts.
Top Polaris PWC Models
Polaris SL 650
Soon after Polaris penetrated the watercraft business, it presented the market with the fastest PWC of all time – Polaris SL 650.
The model remains a lasting symbol of the Polaris-Fuji partnership. The SL 650 has a 2-stroke, 3 cylinder 647 cc Fuji engine .
With 68 hp it could build 6350 RPM. With a rider capacity of up to two persons, they sit on a solid 3.5 quarts oil reservoir and 9.8 gallons of fuel tank. Most User reviews believe that the SL 650 provides impressive stability in rough waters.
Today, the 20 years old Polaris SL 650 is still in ample existence. Proud users can still be found in the market buying replacement parts for this particular model.
Polaris Pro 785
The Polaris Pro 785 is late 90’s WC model with great racing capacities. The model is considered to be in the wish list of most jet skiing lovers and some pro racers.
The Pro 785 runs on a rare high-definition 785 cc Fuji engine with triple exhaust pipes. Physically, it shares slight features with the double-sitter Polaris SL 650.
However, the Pro 785 has an inbuilt lower hull specially designed for competitive racing. This lightweight hull, combined with its powerful 140 HP engine creates a perfect fit for any racing condition.
Most experienced racers consider the used Polaris parts of this model over their modern counterparts because of the performance and racing capability recorded by the Pro 785.
Polaris freedom accommodates up to 3 persons on board with a weight capacity of 656 lbs. It is designed with a Full V hull made of SMC.
Unfortunately, its standard boarding handle remains a downside to this model. The Polaris Freedom PWC is also designed with in-line dual-cylinder, and 2-stroke engine with 701 cc. its solid 95 hp at 6600 rpm is just enough to produce high speed and faster acceleration.
The jet pump also has axial-flow and aluminum stator. Talk about capacity; it can accommodate 17.8 gal. Of fuel and 6 qt. of oil. Generally, Polaris freedom makes both an excellent choice for professional and recreational riders.
Polaris Genesis I
This watercraft marks one of Polaris top notch models of all time. The model is quite expensive, classy with a rider capacity of 4 persons and a weight capacity of 625 lbs. it appears in a vintage Havasu-red color and a style that can be traced to the 90’s.
Unlike the Freedom version, this one has modified full V hulls customized from fiberglass-reinforced composite. It also contains an in-line three-cylinder and a 2-stroke engine as well as a 135 hp @ 6700 rpm and domestic Polaris Marine 1200.
The Polaris model is also rare for its dominator short jet pump that comes with a stainless steel 6-vane stator. It uses 89 octane fuel and has a capacity of 17.8 gal. The oil reservoir capacity is fixed on 6 qt.
Polaris Virage I
The 3-seater Virage is a perfect second choice for buyers who cannot afford the Genesis. This PWC model is mainly a compact choice.
Most of its parts, such as its boarding handle, passenger handle, seat strap, and traction pads, are all standard Polaris selections.
Even its hull is fabricated from the standard Polaris hull type, i.e., Full V. However, the Virage is built on a solid domestic Marine 800 DI, in-line two-cylinder, 2 stroke engine with 100 hp at @6600 rpm.
The jet pump also has axial-flow and aluminum stator. The fuel capacity is also a standard (17.8 gal.) while and the oil capacity is about 6 qt.
Takeaways – Please Forget Polaris Jet Ski
The first takeaway from this post is to remember to forget the term Polaris jet ski.
No machine of such ever existed, and the colloquially used term will only continue to breed misconceptions in the watercraft industry.
A quick rush through this article already reveals “Jet Ski” as a trademark of Kawasaki, and Sea Lion as a brand name for machines manufactured by Polaris Inc. It’s also good to know that Yamaha’s brand name is WaveRunner, while BRP’s is Sea-Doo for their watercraft.
Secondly, you can purchase good watercraft from the main manufacturers such as:
these manufacturers offer several good models that suit your taste irrespective of your skiing preference.
This is our short review to clarify the term Polaris jet ski and other brand names of watercraft!
Like what you read? Spread the word and share this article with others!