If you want to learn all about or compare the latest Sea-Doo lineup side-by-side with competitor models, don’t miss our PWC Browser and Comparison Tool!
But if you want to find out even more about Sea-Doo and its manufacturer, the Canadian company Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), this article provides details.
We’ve listed the key facts and major milestones over the years of this well-known brand right here under one roof!
The History of Sea-Doo
Sea-Doo is one of the most well-known brands in the world of personal watercraft (PWC) and is owned and operated by the industry-giant BRP.
Year-after-year Sea-Doo never fails to offer the largest fleet of PWCs, more than any other brand and in every region of the world. These models are sold in six different categories, from the entry-level Rec-Lite
to the flagship Performance and Luxury models.
All BRP vehicles, including Sea-Doos, are equipped with high-performance Rotax engines
, which are manufactured by a BRP subsidiary located in Gunskirchen, Upper Austria.
Aside from its expansive product range, Sea-Doo has a well-known reputation for eye-catching designs, innovative technologies, and unique features as well.
BRP was the first manufacturer in the industry to develop several revolutionary systems, such as:
You can learn all about these revolutionary systems through the links listed above!
If you want to learn about the history of these amazing vessels, keep reading. We’ve researched it all and made a chronological record of Sea-Doos that starts right at the beginning!
The history of this iconic brand dates back to the late ‘60s when Bombardier, a Canadian snowmobile manufacturer decided to expand its offerings by adding watercrafts. An inventor named Clayton Jacobson II designed and oversaw the first prototype as it was being built. He would later go on to develop the more successful Kawasaki Jet Ski watercraft.
Once Jacobson completed the model for BRP, the company bought the rights to Jacobson’s design, giving him a big fat check. At that point BRP’s design team took over and made some changes. They rounded the hood a bit and painted the Sea-Doo in a yellow and black color scheme, which it has since become famous for.
This was the year that launched the PWC industry, when BRP introduced the Sea-Doo as the first mass-produced personal watercraft in the world. Since then, millions of PWCs have been produced across the world.
The first Sea-Doo released was a 2-seater equipped with an air-cooled engine, which turned out to be the biggest drawback of this early model. The problem was that the engine sat in an enclosed hull
, so it was prone to overheating, creating continuous reliability issues.
BRP set out to solve these reliability issues by replacing the engine with a more powerful water-cooled engine for the 1969 model year. Although the new engine proved to be more reliable, it didn’t eliminate all the weaknesses of its predecessor. Aside from engine issues, another chronic problem that Sea-Doos dealt with was the corrosion caused by saltwater. Not only that, but riders complained that the ’60-’70 Sea-Doo models were basically uncomfortable. They had a flat, bench-like seat and simple metal handlebars that came directly from Ski-Doo snowmobiles. Unfortunately, these features did not provide the level of comfort that riders needed and deserved.
Due to all these design deficiencies, Sea-Doos failed to become commercially successful, which led BRP to cancel its entire PWC line after the 1970 model year. From that point on, the company remained out of the PWC industry for nearly two decades. In the meantime, other powersport manufacturers like Kawasaki
entered the market, introducing many popular models. With these Japanese competitors enjoying so much success, BRP was encouraged to develop an entirely new Sea-Doo from scratch to re-enter the market.
This was the year that BRP’s personal watercraft line made a comeback by introducing the all-new Sea-Doo SP. Although this tiny PWC was marketed as a 2-seater, it tipped over way too easily with two adults onboard. Despite this drawback, the lively SP quickly became very popular in the marketplace.
This was when the first 3-seater watercraft was introduced as the Sea-Doo GT (Grand Touring). This model offered more storage and a mechanical reverse system. The GT was also capable of legally pulling a water skier because it had enough seating for a driver, spotter, and skier.
This year Sea-Doo introduced its first high-performance model, the XP.
This model was equipped with advanced technology and beautifully painted with aggressive-looking graphics.
Continuing to improve on comfort and performance, the company released the Sea-Doo HX with a first ever suspension seat. This lowered the center of gravity of the rider when making sharp, lean-in turns.
This was a remarkable year for Sea-Doo because after 40 years the 1997 Sea-Doo XP was equipped with not only a suspension seat but also a hyperbolic hull design. This watershed design earned Watercraft World Magazine’s title “Watercraft of the Century.”
Sea-Doo was recognized this year as leading the industry when it came to clean quiet technology with its GTX RFI model. This model was equipped with a Rotax semi-direct fuel injection engine, which reduced emissions by 15%. It also had D-Sea-Bel sound reduction technology that lowered noise output.
At the turn of the century the company came out with the Millennium Edition Sea-Doo, which was equipped with the innovative Direct Injection (DI) system. This recently developed technology provided improved engine efficiency that lowered emissions. Unlike their carbureted predecessors, these fuel-injected Sea-Doos were more reliable and didn’t need any “carb work.” These machines also came with a Learning Key for beginners as it electronically limited engine performance.
This year Sea-Doo launched its GTX 4-TEC line equipped with 4-stroke Rotax engines. These machines were also equipped with a unique Off-Power Assisted Steering system (a.k.a. O.P.A.S.). This system had two fins installed on the rear side of the hull designed for steering the PWC at idle speed.
The remarkable Sea-Doo RXP 215 was unleashed on the world with an all-new supercharged engine
, becoming the first PWC that exceeded the 200 HP limit. Besides this flagship model, the Sea-Doo 3D also debuted in the 2004 lineup. Referred to as the “transformer,” this machine could be ridden in three different positions.
Five years after the release of the RXP 215, Sea-Doo introduced the innovative iControl featuring three separate systems, which were as follows:
- iBR: Intelligent Brake and Reverse System – First braking system ever on a PWC
- iTC: Intelligent Throttle Control – Electronically adjustable throttle control
- iS: Intelligent Suspension - Self-adjusting suspension system
This was when the new T3 hull with an Ergolock seat was introduced on the Sea-Doo RXP-X 260. This new hull design enabled faster and tighter turns and cut through waves more effectively than any of its predecessors. As the name implies, the Ergolock seat was designed to “lock” the rider onto the machine. Thanks to these amazing features, the RXP-X became unbeatable on racetracks!
Over the years, sit-down PWCs had become larger and larger,
so in the end most of them looked like small boats rather than “personal” watercrafts. But this year, Sea-Doo surprised the market by introducing the revolutionary Sea-Doo Spark family
. These smaller machines inspired big changes in the industry as they quickly became the bestselling models in the PWC market.
Further revolutionizing the industry, Sea Doo now released its high-performance Rotax 1630 ACE engine. The supercharged version of this power mill pumped out an impressive 300 HP, which provided extreme top speeds
and the quickest accelerations.
For its 50th
anniversary, the company celebrated by introducing several new models, like the race-inspired Sea-Doo RXT
, the GTX family, and the Wake PRO
. These machines were built on the new super-stable ST3 hull and utilized many advanced features, from Bluetooth sound systems to innovative LinQ accessories.
This was the year that the Sea-Doo Fish Pro
hit the market, which expanded the market since it was specially built to facilitate PWC fishing. Standard features included an extended rear platform, a LinQ fishing cooler with rod holders, and a Garmin GPS Fishfinder.
This year Sea-Doo introduced the Intelligent Debris Free (iDF) system
, which enables the rider to unclog the intake at the press of a button.