Stopping Distance and Acceleration Performance of Personal Watercraft

The analysis and reconstruction of personal watercraft accidents is difficult due to the many non-reproducible factors associated with water transportation accidents. This study contributes to reconstuctionists' ability to analyze PWC accidents by investigating the stopping distance and acceleration performance of five commercially available PWCs. Stopping distances were determined by integrating velocity measurements collected by an on-shore radar and data acquisition system. Acceleration measurements were determined by differentiating data collected using the same equipment. Results showed that typical stopping distances were 125 ft to 160 ft at 30 mph, and 180 ft to 225 ft at 40 mph. Stopping distance was found to be linearly related to speed over the test range of speeds. The maximum speeds attained by the test PWCs were 43.4 mph to 55.3 mph. The average deceleration over the full stopping distance was -0.14 g to 0.31g. These drag factors are similar to those observed for road vehicles skidding on snow and ice. Straight line acceleration was observed to be speed dependent. Acceleration was found to be a function of PWC speed, with each particular watercraft having its own acceleration versus speed profile. Average peak accelerations observed were 0.31 g to 0.55 g. The average acceleration from 0 to 30 mph was over 0.45 g for the most powerful watercraft, which is similar to the average acceleration for a sports car.

  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Paper No. 2005-01-1176
  • Corporate Authors:

    Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)

    400 Commonwealth Drive
    Warrendale, PA  United States  15096
  • Authors:
    • Good, Craig A
    • Paulo, Marshal H
    • Unger, Lonnie J
    • Varga, Janine
    • Ellis, Mike C
  • Publication Date: 2005-4


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 37-46
  • Monograph Title: Accident Reconstruction 2005

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01005719
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0768015758
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 3 2005 12:54PM