About Berkeley Jet Drive:

Berkeley has been manufacturing pumps of many kinds since 1937. The Berkeley Jet Drive was introduced in 1960, and many thousands have been supplied to the boating public since then. Today Berkeley offers four 12J drives, each a little different but incorporating essentially the same basic features and using, where possible, many of the same parts for interchangeability. Improvements are made only after ample testing and extensive trials. During the first 20 years, many brands of jet drives have come and gone. Some have been available for a year or two...some longer...some shorter. Berkeley remains the favorite year after year, and probably have supplied well over 80% of the thousands of units in use today. During these decades, Berkeley has held every speed record set by jets. It was first to break the "100 MPH barrier". Its most recent top speed was clocked at 170.78 MPH. We cite this simply as an indication of the experience, durability and leadership behind the Berkeley Jet Drive nameplate.

We Perfected the Art of Marine Propulsion

It was in 1960 that the Berkeley Pump Company introduced its first Berkeley Jet Drive system for marine applications.  Since then the Berkeley Jet Drive has become the standard for the jet drive industry, a recognized leader in innovation, technology and quality.

During this time, the Berkeley Jet Drive has been widely accepted among all facets of the recreational, performance and commercial boating communities.  Because of its uncomplicated design and relatively few moving parts, the Berkeley Jet Drive has earned an enviable reputation as a durable and dependable propulsion system with exceptional versatility.  Whether it's transporting workers to an offshore oil platform, running white water river rapids or cruising a peaceful lake, Berkeley Jet Drives are there and doing the job.

For family recreational boaters, safety and performance are first and foremost.  That's why Berkeley Jet Drives have been the choice of water skiers and pleasure boaters for nearly three decades.   Ease of operation, responsive acceleration, exhilarating performance, agile handling and the secure feeling in knowing that you have safe, propellerless propulsion makes all the difference.

Berkeley Jet Drive .... we didn't invent marine propulsion, but we did perfect it!


Before you buy your next boat, consider all of the costs;  purchase price .... operating and maintenance costs .... resale value.  When you do, you'll be amazed at how affordable a Berkeley Jet Drive really is.  Why pay more for propulsion systems that give you less?


The key to dependability is quality and simplicity .... and Berkeley Jet Drives give you both.   Unburdened by delicate internal gear sets, complicated transmissions and complex steering assemblies, the Berkeley Jet Drives durability is a legend, allowing you more boating time and fewer mechanics bills.

Many Berkeley Jet Drives have logged thousands of hours in commercial river running and patrol boats, and the repairs necessary have been unbelievably low.  In fact, one sheriff's boat logged 9,240 hours and about 140,000 miles of service before it was replaced by an updated Berkeley Jet Drive of similar design.

On this patrol boat, repair costs were negligible for nearly four years, and at the time of the boat's auction, maintenance expenses were calculated at 9ยข an hour, or slightly more than half a cent per mile for both the engine and Jet Drive.


Very few owners are going to run a Jet boat 100,000 miles .... or have such minimal maintenance cost over a five year period as this patrol boat.  But everyone operating in waters abounding in rocks, stumps and "sleepers" can, in one season save hundreds of dollars in damaged propellers, rudders, struts, replacement shear pins, and similar frustrating underwater damage by turning to Berkeley Jet Drives as their choice of propulsion.

Freedom from underwater damage, almost as much as the way Jet Drives perform, is what makes jets more fun to operate.


On its first test run in 1960, a Berkeley Jet Drive pushed a 15-ft plywood hull at 40 mph.  In the years that followed, breaking the 100 mile barrier became the joint goal of Berkeley engineers and some of the best racing designers and drivers.

Berkeley kept setting new records for jets below the 100 mph mark until Phil Younger at the wheel of the "Menace", basically a Wreidt hull, was clocked at 104.77 mph at Whiskey Creek, California, in June, 1970.

In races sponsored by the American Power boat Association and the National Drag Boat Association, Berkeley has consistently contributed to new records in the jet class competitions.  For example:

  • Long Beach, March, 1976
    SPIT DECISION - Driver:  Bob Barron
    NDBA Record Holder
    139.68 mph

  • August 1975
    Nation's fastest jet boat of the year
    GOING PLACES - Driver: Bobby Hall
    132.54 mph

  • August 1974
    NDBA Record Holder
    ROYAL FLUSH - Driver: Dean Willis
    135 mph

  • October 1971
    APBA Record Holder
    THE MENACE - Driver: Phil Younger
    133 mph

NOTE:  The Jet Drives which Berkeley provides qualified racing drivers are specially selected, strengthened and smoothed to cope with higher horsepower's and speed.  Most production engines and drives are designed for maximum cruising efficiency (best speed to fuel consumption ratio) of approximately 30-35 mph, and top speed of 60 mph or below.  Competitive racing requires special hulls, accessories and engines, which are available from a number of specialists.


Unlike a propeller driven boat, Berkeley Jet Drive steers via water thrust delivered from a moveable steering nozzle.  By coordinating the throttle setting and nozzle direction, a boat can be maneuvered with ease in tight quarters.  To back up, simply lower the nozzle deflector gate and reverse the direction of thrust.

You'll love the instant responsiveness and slippery feeling of a Berkeley Jet Drive.   We take your boating experience to new levels of excitement.


Berkeley Jet Drives are synonymous with outstanding performance.  The experience begins with smooth, powerful acceleration, the kind of pick-up perfect for water skiing and family boating.  At faster planing speeds, enjoy 'torque-free' steering and responsive maneuverability. 


Jet Drives take off faster because unlike a propeller driven boat of equal power, the engine can deliver more "horses" to the jet at no or slow boat speed.  There is no hesitation - no cavitation or churning.  (A propeller requires FORWARD SPEED before it can REV UP TO FULL POWER.)  This special attribute of Jet Drives makes them a favorite for getting skiers up on plane, which it accomplishes in about half the usual time.  It also gives Jet Drives and advantage in drag racing.

Its an exciting new driving sensation.  And don't forget that Berkeley Jet Drives are economical too, low normal operating costs including fuel and maintenance.


With a Berkeley Jet Drive, you never have to be concerned about the inherent danger posed by an exposed propeller to swimmers or water skiers. 

Enjoy boating the way it was meant to be .... fun and safe.


Without clutch, gears, or engine strain, Jet Drives can be shifted from forward to reverse by simply flipping a control that drops a gate across the output stream.   This diverts the water flow through a nozzle that shoots the stream forward and beneath the hull.  Reversing with careful throttling provides excellent slowing and stopping, with no abnormal strain on the engine or drive.  At reasonable speed, if the engine is revved the boat will come to a stop in little more than its own length.   Consequently, this is a feature that must be used wisely, especially at high speed.   A panic stop can be made when faced with a major emergency.


Another advantage of Jet Drives is that with a little practice you can walk the boat sidewise into a tight berthing situation by giving the throttle short bursts as you shift from forward to reverse, and steer slightly.


With a moderate deep-vee hull, Jet Drive boats "U turn" in a much shorter radius than a prop/rudder boat.  This is particularly desirable in covering your downed skier in active waters, or in an emergency.


The first time one handles a jet boat there is a tendency to do so gingerly, since throttle response is so instantaneous as to be unexpected and startling.  As you move away from the ramp or pier, set the throttle at a little above idle so the jet stream provides ample thrust.  To make minor course corrections, turn the wheel gently; and if necessary, nudge the throttle to enhance the turn.  A few maneuvers carried out in this manner will give you a sense of the timing with the Berkeley Jet Drive, and you can then accurately judge the reaction of the boat to your movements of the wheel, throttle, or reverse.

The standard rudder now supplied with the Jet Drive assists steering at slow speeds, and provides some heading control with power off.  The rudder extends only a couple of inches below the bottom of the boat, and is not the primary steering control.  It is carefully shaped for minimum drag.


Jet boats dock more smartly than any other, especially against strong current or wind.   With a Jet Drive you can use reverse in tight berthing situations to perform maneuvers impossible with other types of power.

Shallow Water Operation:

Underwater hazards are often unavoidable.  However, with a Berkeley Jet Drive  submerged objects and shallow water operation becomes less of a concern since there are no appendages like propellers, rudders or drive units beneath the hull that can be damaged.


If it was any more SIMPLE .... it wouldn't have moving parts

At a time when everything seems to be getting more complicated, it's a refreshing change to understand just how simple a Berkeley Jet Drive truly is.  A Berkeley Jet Drive is essentially a water pump, powered by a marinized automotive engine.  The system creates propulsion thrust by taking water in through an intake in the bottom of the boat, sending it past an internal rotating impeller, and then expelling the water out through a nozzle behind the transom.  In order to make the boat back-up, a deflector gate is lowered over the nozzle outlet, thus diverting the water flow in the opposite direction, beneath the hull toward the bow.  To steer, the nozzle swivels to the left or right which causes the boat to run in the appropriate direction.

Jet Drives are so simple and have so few parts that they offer extra-ordinarily long life.  The rotating element of the Jet Drive is a shaft with two bearings and an impeller.  What could be simpler?  The reverse/forward control is a gate with two bearings.  Steering consists of a nozzle with two bearings.  All of the bearings are water lubricated, except the thrust and tail bearings, which need a little grease or oil once in a while.