By Steven Bull
Even though Sea-Doo stopped manufacturing boats a few years ago and have focused on PWCs, there are plenty of the company’s jet boats in good condition still available on the used market.
When I first laid eyes on the 2008 Sea-Doo Islandia test boat, I have to admit I wasn’t blown away with “Gotta get me one of these!” thoughts. But that would change.
In a word I would describe this deck boat as unique. To some, its looks will be the perfect blend of form and function, while to others it will look like a robotic cat. But it will definitely look like fun on the water to everyone.
From tip to tail the Islandia is designed to be used for lounge, play and comfort while cruising. At the bow, the walk-through swim platform is flanked by running and docking lights and comes complete with a hideaway ladder. There is plenty of room to sit on the two bench-style lounge seats up front with large moulded storage compartments underneath.
The test boat originally came with a pole attachment that creates a small splash-pad style fountain in the bow. Over time, this piece has been lost but could be replaced easily enough. A handy pop-up change room just in front of the helm offers enough room for an adult to stand in – perfect for changing in or out of a bathing suit on the water. It also has a porta-potty and freshwater shower.
Moving back, the helm is straightforward and sleek with all of the controls in easy reach. The captain’s chair spins 90 degrees to open up the aft to a spacious lounge. The sun lounge also adapts with pop-up cushions forming a rounded couch-style seating area. Although secure enough to support people while underway, they easily unclasp and fold back down. Under the sunpad are twin 215-horsepower Rotax supercharged engines that blast water through the jets. This means no sharp props to worry about – a bonus if your kids are swimming off the back.
While wide open and roomy, you do have the option for some protection from the sun. A Bimini top unfurls to cover the back of the boat in shade. There’s room to keep your drinks and food protected too with a locking drawer and a large sliding shelf, which holds a full-sized cooler under a small but useful sink.
As fun as the Islandia is at the dock or on the hook, it’s also a blast out on the water. The 430 total horsepower shoots this 22-foot boat across the lake at a top speed of 40 mph. It handles well, although jet power is a different feeling than standard props. It offers up a stable ride that cruises comfortably around 27 mph at 5000 rpm.
Getting to those speeds doesn’t take long either. Zero-to-20 takes less than 5.5 seconds and it reaches 30 mph in less than 8.5 seconds. While this wide-body deck boat offers a stable platform for your party, it rides through the water on a classic V-hull, which slices through waves.
It’s not quite as agile as a PWC but this is a Sea-Doo in the guts. I had a blast whipping around the lake even on a day that was so windy the only other people out on the water were kite surfers.
I admit I wasn’t sold at first glance but the more time I spent with the Sea-Doo Islandia the more I wished I had one. And, when it’s this much fun to drive, that’s the best bonus there is in boating!