Operating a PWC on Plane

Operating a PWC on Plane


In this session, you’ll learn how to get your personal watercraft on plane quickly and efficiently by employing a strong throttle and optimally positioning your weight. Plus how to trim your PWC by adjusting your weight placement and the trim tabs and how to throttle down to slow speed smoothly and with consideration of your passengers. What problems are we trying to avoid? Being unable to get up on plane because of improper positioning of your weight and passengers, and improper use of trim tabs. Too much weight towards the bow will cause the front of the PWC to plow down into the water. Too much weight towards the stern will cause the PWC to bounce on the water. Transitioning between speeds with erratic throttle movement. Failing to maintain a heading during speed change within 15 degrees or three minutes before or after the hour on a clock. Decelerating abruptly causing significant backwash over your transom. Failing to warn passengers of pending speed shifts causing them to lose balance. And failing to maintain a proper lookout throughout the entire maneuver. So, how do we do it right? First, position your weight and passengers to optimize stability and proper trim as you get up on plane. Trimming the nozzle down will help keep the bow low and be helpful for quick acceleration from a dead start. Use a strong throttle to achieve your desired cruising speed quickly, and reduce the throttle as the PWC approaches the desired speed. Once on plane, raising the bow will put less hull in the water increasing top-end speed. But be aware it will also increase directional instability. A higher trim is also better in rough conditions keeping the bow from burying itself in waves and resulting in a drier ride. Transition between speeds smoothly without abrupt throttle movements. As well as adjusting the placement of your weight, standing with your feet planted back in the tray and leaning forward over the handlebars will keep the bow low when accelerating. Standing will also help enduring a rough ride. Your legs are stronger and can take more of the shock than allowing your back to serve as the shock absorber. But be aware that maintaining balance while standing up is harder in rough seas. Be able to maintain a heading toward an object or marker within 5 degrees or one minute on a clock by monitoring the PWC’s heading and reacting swiftly and smoothly to course deviations. Anticipate the bow pointing off course so that minor turns of the handlebars and righting movements can be used to stay on course. When approaching a turn, let off the throttle briefly to plant the bow. Then lean your weight into the turn and get back on the throttle to power through the turn with more of the hull in the water. Decelerate slowly so as not to have backwash over your transom. Warn passengers of pending speed shifts and transition between speeds smoothly without causing passengers to lose their balance. Once on plane, reduce the throttle and readjust the trim tabs to optimize efficiency. Maintain a proper lookout throughout the entire maneuver.

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