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The Sea-Doo Switch pontoons have taken over the as the most unique way to experience fun and excitement on the water. Its versatility is unmatched and an eye-catching modern take on pontoon boats instantly grabs attention. One of the most intriguing Switch pontoon features is the handlebar steering. Let’s take a closer look at the feature that speaks to true Sea-Doo ingenuity.
The Sea-Doo innovation goes beyond the handlebars, the entire helm is designed in a way that offers the same ease of operation as a Sea-Doo personal watercraft. It may look different than what you’re used to seeing on a traditional pontoon, but the Switch handlebar steering is so intuitive it’s like riding a bike.
Steering is effortless and ultra-responsive, as you’d expect from any Sea-Doo. And every essential control component is right at your fingertips when your hands are on the bars: Forward, neutral, reverse; throttle and brake. You’ve even got control over a few other features we’ll discuss later like the exclusive Intelligent Debris Free pump system (iDF) and dash display functions.
The helm area also features the addition of switches for the bilge pump to pump any water out of the hull, bilge blower that clears any potential gas fumes from the engine area, horn for warning other vessels, courtesy lights and the navigation lights for those sunset cruises.
We mentioned the simple steering of the Switch. Let’s talk about shifting and using the throttle and brake. The Sea-Doo Switch is the only pontoon on the water with a true braking system.
Your Switch will always be in neutral when you first start it. You’ll see the “N” for Neutral on the display. To shift to forward, tap the throttle lever on the right. To shift back to neutral, give the left lever on the left a tap. To shift to reverse, pull and hold the left lever. Once you release it, your Switch automatically shifts back to neutral.
The lever on the left also acts as your brakes should you need to stop or slow down quicker than coasting. It works just like the brake lever of a bicycle. The more you pull the lever, the more braking force you’ll have. One quick tip: If you need to stop quickly, try to give your passengers a heads up.
This reversing ability of the Switch also makes docking and maneuvering in tight spaces like marinas and around boat launches easier with the handlebar controls.
Looking at the handlebars, you’ll notice a keypad on each side. The keypad on the right controls the gauge display on the dash. You can cycle through several different options on your gauge and choose which info you want it to show. Available info includes engine RPM, vehicle speed, trip meter and more. The gauge shows essential info like fuel on the left and trim position on the right. You’ll also see forward, neutral and reverse indicated on the display as well as which driving mode you’re in. And on the bottom of the gauge is where you’ll find indicator lights like the check engine light, low fuel indicator and more. If you see any of these warning lights come on, consult your operator’s guide for what you should do next.
The left-hand keypad is where you’ll set driving modes, set your trim level, and set your cruise control or slow speed mode.
The up and down arrows control the trim of your jet pump. Raise the trim, and you’ll raise the bow. Lower the trim and you’ll level out the bow. You’ll find that changing the trim level can make for a more comfortable ride depending on water conditions and make for better acceleration when towing tubers, skiers and wakeboarders.
The button on the right enables your slow speed mode and cruise control. With the Switch at idle, press and hold this button and squeeze the throttle lever once. Let go of the button, and you’re now in Slow Speed Mode. You can adjust your slow speed setting from 3-9 miles per hour. And you can do it by using the arrows on the right-hand keypad. This is perfect for those slow or no-wake zones.
Cruise control is used for cruising at higher speeds - just like in your car. To activate cruise control, use the throttle lever to accelerate to your desired speed, and tap the same button. To deactivate cruise control or slow speed mode, just pull the brake lever to return to normal operation.
The button on the left sets your desired driving mode: Eco, for when you want maximum fuel efficiency, Normal for a smooth, gentle acceleration, and Sport for when you want maximum acceleration and throttle response.
In the center of the keypad sits the iDF button. That stands for Intelligent Debris Free pump system. This system helps unclog a clogged pump intake. That can happen if you’re in a weedy area. When your intake is clogged, you might experience a loss of power or feel a vibration as you accelerate. If that happens, stop, push the iDF button and follow the instructions on your dash. Once the iDF system activates, the engine actually shuts down. Don’t be alarmed, that’s how this particular feature works. The on-screen instructions will tell you to re-start the engine. Make sure nothing is directly behind you before re-starting. The Switch will restart and the iDF reverses the flow of the pump system, pushing debris out. After 12-seconds the engine will automatically shut off and default into the normal operating functions once you restart again and you’re back on your way.
Other controls you might notice on your Switch pontoon helm are the buttons to control your audio system, if so equipped. And who doesn’t love a good party on the water?
Now that you’ve got the basic knowledge, a little practice on a clam day will have you captaining your Sea-Doo Switch like a pro. Enjoy the ride!