|Max Headroom||open||Bridge Clearance||N/A|
|Std. Power||1 x 1503 Rotax 4-TEC|
|Tested Power||Currently no test numbers|
Captain’s Report by Dan Armitage
The 180 SP is a new model for Sea-Doo in 2012.
The Sea-Doo 180 SP’s Mission
The new-for-2012 180 SP was designed as a crossover, a boat built for those who want a runabout model with the potential for wakeboarding and other tow-sports, minus the price tag associated with traditional wakeboard boats. It is also a good boat for kids because it does not have a prop and can operate in shallow water.
A birds-eye-view shows that the seating options offered aboard the Sea-Doo are impressive for a 17-foot, 7-inch foot boat, with a capacity for seven passengers and the operator. The compact Rotax 4-TEC engine with Direct Drive technology offers a low profile to buy much of that cockpit space for passengers, as does the boat’s 98-inch beam.
The 2012 SP (for “Sport”) is the first model in Sea-Doo’s 180 class equipped with the popular iTC feature.
iTC. Intelligent Throttle Control is drive-by-wire technology offering multiple driving modes to meet specific situations. The operator can run the boat efficiently with lower fuel use, for example, by placing the iTC in ECO mode. For controlled docking, launching and loading, the system can be programmed into Docking mode, which limits rpms while allowing a full throw of the throttle. And there is no cable linkage to get stuck.
The Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC) feature also offers fully customizable Ski and Cruise control modes.
Jet drive. Rather than relying on a conventional propeller, the Sea-Doo 180 SP uses a water pump and propulsion nozzle, through which the water is directed to both propel and steer the boat. The lack of exposed blades makes the boat safer for those swimming off the transom because there is no lower unit and prop hanging low in the water; and the 180 is a good choice for use in shallow water.
Docking mode. Simply shift the 180 into "Docking Mode" and the vessel becomes more docile and easier to maneuver. Short bursts of throttle forward and aft will slide you into any slip.
The bow cockpit offers passengers angled, wrap-around seating and a filler cushion to create a comfortable pit-style lounge area forward. The filler pad fits under the center forward cushion for storage.
In addition to the iTC technology, the 180 SP helm comes complete with a satellite-ready stereo system with mp3 port and plenty of power for the boat’s four speakers.
An arch tower with integrated tow pylon and built in Bimini top is a standard overhead feature aboard the 180 SP.
The tower folds for low-profile towing and storage.
Underfoot in the cockpit is a locker large enough for stowing wakeboards and other bulky items.
The cockpit features sectional, snap-in carpet for convenient removal for cleaning.
A handy portable cooler fits snugly under either side of the bench seat that spans the aft end of the cockpit.
The 180 SP offers a walk-through transom to the padded swim platform, accessed by a two-step telescoping ladder with plenty of handholds within reach.
The 180 SP is a comfortable, economical, compact cruiser for up to seven passengers.
The 180 SP maintains the raked lines and radical graphics found on traditional wakeboard boats, but in a compact package. With the tower and swing-away tongue on the standard trailer folded, the rig easily fits in a standard one-car garage and doesn’t require a V8-equipped vehicle for towing to and from the lake.
Price and observations about the Sea-Doo 180 SP
The 180 SP has enough performance and comfort features to keep the price ($29,999 with trailer) down, yet allow the owner to run the gamut of active watersport pursuits.
The Rotax power-plant means the boat is economical to operate, the boat’s weight makes it easy to tow and the rig’s compact size makes it easy to stow. Sea-Doos are famous for their handling and technology, and that all adds up to an appealing package for entry-level boaters who want to get active on the water this season.
= Standard = Optional