Williams 325

I ordered this Williams TurboJet 325 in early May, was told I’d get it in July, expected it in August and received it today in October. Long lead times and slow shipping is typical in today’s boating industry, unfortunately. Because of the delay, we had to get a temporary tender to use during the summer, which worked well.


I wanted a jet tender because we will carry it on the swim platform and a jet tender doesn’t have an outboard engine. An outboard requires that you lift it up and put it down when you put it on and off the lift and is so bulky that it is in the way when you walk on and off the boat. No propeller seems safer for the kids to use and if we pull them on tubes or skis. Plus, it’s fun!

Jet tenders have their downsides, though. Destroying a jet engine is far more expensive than a replacing an outboard engine so you have to be more careful with them. While there’s no propeller to damage by hitting things, the jet engine can suck things (sand, gravel/rocks, plants, plastic bags, etc) into them and damage the engine. So you have to be careful where you drive it, avoiding shallow water and not running aground with the engine on. You also have to flush them out, especially when used in salt water, after every use (although I guess you should also flush an outboard engine too).

I played with it for an hour in Lake Union and it is fun. I’m still in the engine break-in period, which is either 5 hours or 10 hours depending on which part of the Williams manual you read, so I can’t go over 6,000rpms (!) which kept me at 7mph max. That’s fine for no-wake zone of Lake Union where the speed limit is 7 knots. I can tell it can really go, top speed is supposedly 48mph, and steering is very responsive — turns so quickly that it could throw you out. It’s essentially a jet ski. And it can rotate within its own length which is very handy for docking.

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