This applied design research focuses on the introduction
of ground effect into personal watercraft as a way
of improving the efficiency and performance of the
craft, while also creating a new user experience.
Ground effect is an aerodynamic phenomenon
experienced by bodies flying in close proximity to
a surface and results in a significant increase in the lift
to drag ratio. It is used by race boats as a means of
The scope of this research will be to investigate how
ground effect may be implemented into personal
watercraft to help increase their efficiency. This will be
used as a framework for designing a revised form of
personal watercraft. The opportunity to redesign a craft
(from the ground up) provides a product offering a level
of market differentiation. As such, all aspects will be
assessed for their impact on the efficiency, performance
and user experience.
The current paradigm in personal watercraft design
is based upon a saddle-style seat, like that of
a motorbike. This arrangement does not actively
promote a shared user experience, resulting in personal
watercraft use being perceived as an anti-social activity.
Research conducted into the design of a new general
arrangement that promotes more interaction between
the driver and passenger while using the product
The outcome of this research is a design that has
performance comparable to the existing market
leaders, while having less impact on the environment.
Moreover, it will be a design that confronts the social
issues surrounding this adrenalin-inducing pastime.