I own a 5.18m Sea-Kayak. Obviously a sit-in type with a watertight spray skirt. It has two hatches which also close to not let water in, even if forcibly submerged.
On my trips to other countries (recently Lithuania, USA, Canada, Croatia) I am always offered sit-on-top kayaks. Sit-in type of kayaks are sometimes available but not always. Less so in purely recreational setups, such as calm, but touristy lakes. Rental shops advertise them as:
- being more fun
- have holes to let the water out
- are more stable
- are faster
As I see it, in fact they
- have holes which let water in from below (not suitable for cold weather/water)
- are very sensitive to wind (hard on beginners, and for extended duration)
- have very little ability to hold direction (and are again thus more difficult to handle for beginners)
- do not have storage capacity for tours
So by my observation they are not good for beginners (hard to steer, wind sensitive), they are not good for experienced people (no hatches for storage, too slow, exposed to all elements).
Accordingly they would be especially bad for rental shops because those more often than not target beginners.
What makes them special? Why do rental shops go with them? What are the advantages?