While we at The Watercraft Journal were patting ourselves on the back for a pretty snappy April Fool’s Joke, it would look like Sea-Doo was the one who pulled a fast one on us, and released a entirely new runabout (nearly mid-season, mind you) for 2014. No, we’re not kidding. And this machine is something that we think everybody can get behind of, although its not being marketed towards the masses. Enter: the 2014 Sea-Doo Search And Rescue (SAR).
The SAR is almost a tailored-fit response to not only the cries of rescue responders on the race course, but also that of local municipalities and lifesaving departments who regularly venture into surf, whitewater rivers, flooded areas and the like. Advertised as being ideal for “evacuation, surveillance and interception,” the SAR is significantly more than just a dolled up GTI either.
The list of features added to this machine make it a virtual commando of life-saving. From the outside, the SAR is available in two liveries, the high-visibility red-and-yellow scheme shown here, and a more staid black-and-white combo. But the SAR is much more than fancy graphics and a color-coordinated seat.
Most noticeable are the SAR’s long pontoon-like “secondary sponsons.” Made from professional grade CSM (Hypalon®), the sponsons provide significantly more stability and buoyancy. These are capped with new running boards, allowing for more mobility around the deck. The hull has been treated in a shock protective 2.8 mm elastomer coating and features a large front bumper to ward off any hull damage.
Under the hull, a new “Shallow Water Navigation Kit” includes an anti-debris water intake grate, stainless steel wear ring, internal heat exchanger, and shock-protected cooling system (read: no ride plate heat exchanger). Above, the SAR is loaded with front navigation lights and a tall carbon fiber rear mast topped with another navigation light. The front storage bin includes a 12V outlet as well.
Because the SAR is based off of Sea-Doo’s Recreation-line GTI SE, it’s powered by a naturally-aspirated 1,494cc Rotax generating an advertised 155-horsepower. But it’s not the same old, same old, here. The SAR comes default in Sport mode, and includes a “universal key,” unlocking the system for fast deployment by any rescue team member.
Additionally, the SAR has the brand’s first elevated fuel filler for easier access and refueling, while preventing water intrusion while refueling. The SAR’s list of additions include a tow hook, seat strap, a rear boarding step, an external exhaust cooling flush attachment, and large capacity bilge pump. The first of its kind – especially from a major manufacturer, the SAR benefits from all of the maneuverability of a personal watercraft, the features endemic to Sea-Doo (like iBR and iControl) and years of experienced rescue crews who have already excelled at using PWC to save lives.
Below are a handful of videos outlining the SAR’s capabilities in a variety of circumstances as well as a closer look at its features: