Efoils vs. Jet Skis in the Ocean

A Comparison of Impacts on Environment and Recreation


The ocean serves as a vast playground for water enthusiasts, offering an array of activities such as swimming, diving, surfing, and boating. With advancements in technology, new watercraft options have emerged, including efoils and jet skis. While both provide exhilarating experiences, they can have varying impacts on the environment and fellow ocean-goers. In this article, we will explore the impact of efoils and compare them to the impacts of jet skis, focusing on swimmers, divers, surfers, and other watercraft. Throughout this analysis, we will maintain a neutral and informative point of view.


Efoils are Safe for Recreation


First and foremost, it is essential to acknowledge that efoils are safe for recreational use. These electric hydrofoils consist of a surfboard-like platform with a submerged wing and a battery-powered motor. The rider stands or kneels on the board while holding a remote control to control the speed. Compared to traditional jet skis, efoils generate minimal noise, reducing the impact on ocean tranquility and wildlife.


Swimmers, Divers, and Surfers: Efoil's Advantage


For swimmers, divers, and surfers, efoils offer several advantages over jet skis. Due to their quiet motor, and flight above the water’s surface, efoils do not disturb the underwater environment, which is vital for marine life and those seeking peaceful subsea experiences. Additionally, efoils are easier to maneuver, and their electric propulsion eliminates the risk of oil and fuel spills, ensuring water quality remains uncompromised.


Surfers do not lose any benefits of the ocean when efoils are nearby. The efoil rider who is surfing wants to avoid the reef and shallow water, as well as the breaking wave. Efoil riders prefer to ride the ocean swell hundreds of feet outside of the surf lineup. Literally, the efoils prefer deep water while the surfer prefers the shallow waters where the waves break.


Swimmers and divers are always concerned about watercraft in the area that they are swimming and diving within. “Prop strikes” are a real concern for them. Most swimmers and divers who are familiar with this danger either stay within designated swim areas, or have a highly visible float or flag nearby to indicate to all watercraft that a swimmer is in the water. The last thing anyone wants is to have a watercraft hit a swimmer or diver.


Surfers and Efoils: A Harmonious Coexistence


Efoils offer a unique opportunity for surfers, allowing them to effortlessly glide above the water and catch waves with ease. Despite initial concerns that efoils might disrupt the surfing community, surfers have found that efoils can peacefully coexist with traditional surfing. The ability to catch waves earlier and travel longer distances also reduces surfer congestion at popular breaks, ultimately enhancing the surfing experience for all.


Other Watercraft and Efoils: Less Environmental Impact


When comparing efoils to jet skis and other motorized watercraft, the environmental impact leans in favor of efoils. Efoils are electrically powered, producing zero emissions and reducing their carbon footprint. On the other hand, jet skis rely on internal combustion engines that emit harmful pollutants, contributing to air and water pollution. The switch to efoils may lead to cleaner ocean environments, benefiting marine life and the health of coastal ecosystems.


Marine Life Impact: Efoils vs. Jet Skis


One significant concern when introducing any watercraft into marine environments is its impact on marine life. In this regard, efoils are generally considered to have a lower impact compared to jet skis. Jet skis' hull and speed can cause harm to marine animals, including sea turtles, dolphins, and manatees, as they swim near the water's surface. The loud noise produced by jet skis can also disturb marine creatures and disrupt their natural behavior. Operating a jet ski at high speeds makes it very difficult for the operator to see marine life approaching the surface.


In contrast, efoils produce minimal noise and generate no wake when on foil. This gives the efoil rider a clear view of their surroundings, to include marine life near the surface. There is a potential danger for marine life to come into contact with the foil and the mast of the efoil. The lower operating speed of the efoil allows the rider to make corrective turns to eliminate contact with marine life.




In conclusion, efoils have a positive impact on the ocean environment and water-based recreational activities when compared to jet skis. Efoils are safe for riders, quieter, and more environmentally friendly, making them a compelling option for water enthusiasts seeking a thrilling yet responsible way to enjoy the ocean.


For swimmers, divers, and surfers, the quieter and cleaner nature of efoils creates a more enjoyable and sustainable environment, reducing potential conflicts and disturbances. Additionally, efoils provide surfers with new opportunities to enhance their experience without compromising the natural rhythm of traditional surfing.


Furthermore, the reduced environmental impact of efoils in terms of emissions and potential harm to marine life makes them a responsible choice for those seeking to minimize their impact on ocean ecosystems.


Overall, the emergence of efoils offers a glimpse of how responsible technological innovation can enhance our interactions with the ocean while preserving its beauty and delicate balance.

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