Compare Specs Discover '24 PWCs Browse Reviews
WaveRunner Riding Modes Explained [Video]

WaveRunner Riding Modes Explained [Video]

Upper-level Yamaha WaveRunners feature various riding modes including L-Mode (Low RPM mode), No-Wake Mode, and Crusie Assist. Besides these modes, the Drive Control function on the dashboard can also be used to tailor the top speed and acceleration of the ski.

If you want to find out more about WaveRunner riding modes, this post is for you.

We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know under one roof!

What Are Riding Modes on a WaveRunner?

Just like on Sea-Doos, riding modes on a Yamaha WaveRunner are designed to provide different throttle characteristics and top speeds. They are programmed for specific purposes like touring at a constant speed or riding in no-wake zones.

Note that these riding modes are only available on mid-range and high-end models including the higher-level VX, FX, and GP series.

Simpler models like the base VXs, the EX series, and the Superjet lack this useful function.

How do You Activate and Change Riding Modes on a WaveRunner?

The Riding Mode buttons on WaveRunners are mounted on the handlebars.

You can find dedicated switches for the No-Wake and Cruise Assist modes, while the L-Mode can be activated with the remote control.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about these modes in detail!

WaveRunner Riding Modes

What is Low-Mode (L-Mode) on a WaveRunner?

As the name suggests, the Low RPM Mode on a WaveRunner is intended to limit engine speed by 30%. This causes the ski to accelerate slower and reach lower top speeds than in normal mode. Low RPM Mode is often referred to as L-Mode, Low-Mode, or Learning-Mode as well.

As an example, a high-end WaveRunner can hit 67 mph at an engine speed of 8000 RPM. Activating the L-mode on this ski limits its maximum engine speed to 5600 RPM, which converts it to a top speed of roughly 50 mph.

The main idea behind L-Mode is to make the operation safer for younger and novice riders. This is why it can be activated and deactivated via the remote control transmitter before the ride.

Therefore, it’s safe to say that this mode does the same job as the learning key on a Sea-Doo.

Are you wondering how can you activate and deactivate the Low RPM mode (L-Mode) on a WaveRunner? In a nutshell, you can turn this mode on and off by pressing the Unlock switch on the transmitter for at least four seconds.

As the first step, make sure that the engine is stopped and the ski is in Unlock mode. Then, press and hold the Unlock (L-Mode) switch on the remote control transmitter for at least four seconds.

Activation will be confirmed by three beeps. At the same time, the Unlock indicator light blinks three times and then comes on, and the “L-Mode” indicator light comes on as well.

Note that if you activate this mode immediately after the display turns off, the indicator light won’t come on until you restart the engine.

(Keeping safety in mind, best practice is to test-ride the ski to make sure that L-Mode has been activated before you let an inexperienced person take control. However, the latter is typically not a good idea.)

How do I get my WaveRunner out of L-Mode?

If you want to deactivate the L-Mode, all you need to do is to press the Unlock (L-Mode) switch on the remote control transmitter for four seconds. You will hear two beeps, the Unlock indicator light blinks two times, and the L-Mode indicator light goes off.

Deactivating the L-Mode causes the WaveRunner to return to normal mode.

Note that an accidentally activated L-Mode is often mistaken for engine issues or other malfunctions. If your WaveRunner can’t reach its top speed or produces poor acceleration, make sure that it’s in normal operation mode.

If you are looking for a video guide, don’t miss this great tutorial on how to use L-Mode:

What is No-Wake Mode on a WaveRunner?

As the name suggests, No-Wake Mode is designed for riding in no-wake zones. This mode limits the top speed of the WaveRunner to as low as 5 mph. The key advantage of this function is that it allows you to ride the ski with a constant speed of 5 mph without holding the throttle lever.

It’s a game-changer in no-wake zones where you have to maintain a fixed low speed for an extended period of time.

Are you wondering how to activate and deactivate the No-Wake Mode on a WaveRunner?

Simply put, you can activate this mode by pressing and holding the No-Wake Mode switch on the handlebar.

First, let the engine to return idle and hold the switch until you hear three beeping sounds. This alarm, as well as the blinking “5 (mph)” message on the display confirm that the No-Wake Mode is activated.

Note that the display will be blinking this number continuously while the mode is activated.

When it comes to deactivating, all you need to do is to push the No-Wake Mode switch or depress one of the control levers (throttle / RiDE).

You will hear the buzzer beeping twice and the display will stop blinking, which confirms the ski has returned to normal operation mode.

Interestingly, you can deactivate this mode even when the engine is not running.

What is Crusie Assist on a WaveRunner?

Cruise Assist is virtually the tempomat of Yamaha WaveRunners, but to be more precise it works like a speed limiter. This means using this function still requires you to fully depress the throttle lever, but it helps the ski maintain a fixed speed without continuously adjusting the throttle.

This function comes in handy in many situations like touring or when towing a wakeboarder or skier.According to the operator’s manual, Cruise Assist allows you to set the engine speed limit anywhere between 3000 and 7000 RPM.

How do you set Cruise Assist on Yamaha WaveRunner?

You can activate the Cruise Assist on a Waverunner by pressing the SET switch on the handlebars. On most WaveRunners it’s located on the right handlebar, but it may vary by the model.

(For example, the latest GPs only feature one Cruise/No Wake activation switch located on the left handlebar.)

When it comes to activation, you have to reach your desired speed and push the SET switch. The activation will be confirmed by three beeps and a blinking speedometer.

Once the Cruise Assist is activated just squeeze the throttle lever, the ski won’t accelerate but maintain the pre-set speed.

You can also find two little arrow switches above the SET switch, they are the “Cruise Assist Up” and “Cruse Assist Down” switches.

As the names suggest, they can be used for tailoring the speed while the ski is in Cruise Assist mode. Adjusting your speed with these switches doesn’t require you to release the throttle.

This is because releasing the throttle lever instantly deactivates the Cruise Assist mode. Once this happens, you will hear two beeping sounds and the speedometer also stops blinking.

Note that stopping the engine also deactivated this riding mode.

WaveRunner Drive Control

More advanced WaveRunners allow you to adjust the engine characteristics via the Drive Control function of the information center as well.

While the riding modes are designed with specific purposes in mind, this function allows you to “fine-tune” the top speed and the throttle response of the ski.

How do Drive Modes work on a WaveRunner?

If you have a more advanced model, its information center more than likely features a Drive Control function.

You can control this menu directly via the touchscreen or with the buttons on the Connext system (if featured).

The Drive Control has two different functions, the Speed/Acceleration and Engine Lock Mode.

Choose Speed/Acceleration

This function is designed to restrict the acceleration and top speed of the ski to varying degrees.

You can choose from Normal and Slow acceleration settings, as well as Low, Middle, and High top speed settings. These options restrict the engine RPM to about 80%, 70%, and 60%, respectively.

As an example, if your WaveRunner tops out at 64 mph at 8000 RPM, its performance in the different Drive Control models will be as follows:

  • High: 6400-6500 RPM (51-52 mph)
  • Middle: 5600-5800 RPM (41-42 mph)
  • Low: 4800-5000 RPM (32-33 mph)
Activating the Drive Control is confirmed by a yellow icon and text indicated on the information center.

Engine Lock Mode

The Engine Lock Mode of WaveRunners is what it sounds like, it can lock the engine with your custom PIN code. In other words, activation of this system prevents the engine from starting.

First, you have to set your custom PIN code in the system, which can also be used for many other settings.

Here’s a great tutorial on how to activate and deactivate the Engine Lock Mode on a WaveRunner:

Takeaway – FAQs About WaveRunner Modes

As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions about different WaveRunner Modes.

What are WaveRunner modes?

WaveRunner riding modes (a.k.a. WaveRunner modes) offer various power delivery modes intended for specific purposes.

Which modes does a WaveRunner offer?

The more advanced WaveRunners offer three riding modes, the No-Wake, the L-mode, and the Cruise Assist.

Keep in mind that the available modes may vary from one model to the next. Simpler WaveRunners like base VX models, the EX series, and the Superjet lack these features.

How do you change modes on a WaveRunner?

You can activate and adjust the riding modes on a WaveRunner with dedicated mode switches. They are typically mounted on the right handlebar, or on the left handlebar on certain models.

These controls may vary by model, for exact information please refer to the operator’s manual.

Does Yamaha WaveRunners have cruise control?

As a rule of thumb, the more advanced WaveRunners, including the more featured VX, FX, and GP models come standard with cruise control.

Disclaimer: This post is just for informational purposes, as WaveRunners and their controls may vary depending on the model. Always refer to the operator’s manual to get familiar with the controls of your machine.