The defining characteristic of a jet boat is its jet propulsion system. Instead of using a propeller to move the boat through the water, a jet boat pumps in water from around the boat, pressurizes it and sprays it out of a nozzle. The force of this water being expelled through the nozzle moves the boat forward. By directing the spray to the left or right, the nozzle can also steer the boat.
Jet boats may have better acceleration and maneuverability than their counterparts. Additionally, they do not have a spinning propeller that could be potentially dangerous to swimmers, water skiers or wakeboarders. A jet boat's nozzle is located above the water line, allowing jet boats to operate in shallower water than a boat with a different form of propulsion system.
Jet boats can come in various forms. Yamaha, for example, builds sporty, open-topped boats designed for performance and watersports such as wakeboarding. Yamaha manufactures boats between 19 and 24 feet. On the other end of the spectrum, the company Hinckley produces jet boats between 29 and 55 feet long. Hinckley jet boats are more focused towards luxury and entertaining guests. They boast elevated flybridges, overnight cabins, spacious decks, plush seating and wooden trim.