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Best Time To Buy A Jet Ski – It’s Not What You Expect!

When it comes to jet skis, the ideal time to ride is usually the worst time to purchase.

I know I wrote a little about this in a post here, but I wanted to go into more details about the ideal purchasing time-frames. It’s a bit more tricky than giving a simple date, let me explain.

Looking To Get A great Deal?

The best time to purchase jet skis is August and September because that is when the manufacturers release the new models.

So if it’s 2024, they’ll be releasing the 2025’s around August to September 2025.

I know that carmakers are a year ahead, and that can be confusing, but for the most part, jet skis current year models are the year you’re in now.

Why August or September?

It’s not a given that August and September are the optimal months for buying.

What determines it is when they release the new jet ski for the new year. For all we know, they could change it up and release next year’s models in June, so keep that in mind.

For the most part, it’s always been between August or September.

Right before the release of the new models, the manufacturer wants the dealers to sell as many of the last year’s models as possible so that they’ll buy the latest models. With that in mind, the manufacturer cranks out better rebates and warranties that you don’t see often.

But There’s A Catch!

While it’s often that the manufacturer will release some great promotions during August or September, it doesn’t mean it’ll always be great.

Sometimes the market is good, and many dealers don’t have much stock, so they don’t need to give many incentives. We saw this in 2020 to even now because of the world shutting down.

Other times the market is bad, and dealers have a lot of inventory, so they need to give great rebates. We saw this during the 2008 recession and a few years after.

Just as with the stock market, timing the jet ski market isn’t a good idea. Some years are good, others are bad.

The ideal moment to get a PWC is often when no one is looking to buy.

Like in the winter months or off seasons. You’re going to find the greatest deal is when the jet ski season is ending or is in the off season. The catch is that when it’s the off season, it’s not the that great of a moment to ride a jet ski, as it’s usually cold. Though, you can get some gear to make riding in the cold not so bad.

The Curveball

The good news is that you’ll get curveballs sometimes. Either before the season starts or in the dead heat of it, you’ll find that manufacturers will come out with some great promotions.

Make sure to know the promotions on jet skis before buying, check out the manufacturer’s websites here…

I’ve seen some crazy good promotions given in the middle of the jet ski season, either because sales were slow or sales were good. The jet ski gods decided to sell – sell – sell!

Don’t Forget The Dealers

It’s not just the jet ski manufacturers that can determine the deals, but also the dealers too.

Some jet ski dealers get models they can’t simply move and if another dealership won’t buy it, they’ll discount it to customers. You also have some dealerships who have a lot of competition around them and price the jet skis to move.

Most jet ski dealerships have a floor plan, meaning they finance the models on the floor. After a certain period, the finance company starts to charge interest and then the dealership often wants those model to be sold.

The models that are the most trouble for dealerships are the leftover models. While still new, the dealership has carried over the model to the next year. The manufacturer will often have rebates, but it’s not guaranteed. I’ve seen a few jet skis that simply won’t sell, so figure those models out to get the best deal.

When Do They Ship The New PWCs?

New jet skis get shipped to Australia first, as their summer is the US’s winter.

For the US, new jet skis can come in as soon as January, but many new models can still be shipped out until the next year models start to ship.

The manufacturers used to stop around June or July, but after 2020 they keep trying to catch up with demand.

Dealerships are allotted so many units, and if the dealership doesn’t have the one you need, they can often get it from another dealership that is willing to sell it.

The correct way to get your name on a jet ski is to leave a deposit.

The Worst Time

When it comes to jet skis, there is no bad moment for buying, though you might mistime the market. Just like everything in life, when there is more demand than supply, prices go up. If you want a jet ski that has a lot of demand but little supply, you’re usually not going to get the best deal possible.

But why do they do it like that? Well, you may not want to pay that much for the watercraft, but the next guy will since the demand for it is so high.

The right timing can also play in your favor. Every region will have different promotions, so the person in Tennessee will have different promotions than the person in New Mexico. It’s important not to worry or concern yourself with what others are getting for their jet ski but concern yourself with what’s selling and not selling if all you care about is the price.

Note: If you really want a jet ski, and it’s the heat of the season, and the dealership has it in stock, then buy it. I’ve observed many trying to wait for the perfect moment, only to find the models gone for the year with no replacements. Time, like money, is invaluable and irretrievable. Sometimes it’s better to bite the bullet and buy now and enjoy the summer with your family than it is to find that one golden nugget of a good deal. Also, these things don’t get cheaper later; they always go up in price every year.

Winter Prices?

Jet ski dealerships usually reduce prices in winter because most people don’t ride them during that season.

While prices go down during the winter months, it’s not always a guarantee. If demand is still high, like seen during the early 2020s, jet ski prices will stay high.

Typically, jet ski prices drop in winter due to low demand and dealerships wanting to make sales.

Buy In Winter – Where To Store?

If you get a new jet ski during the winter, you might be wondering how that goes, and how do you store it?

It was common for customers to pay for a jet ski during the winter as that was when we had the best deals or the customer simply was not ready for it until next year.

For new jet skis that were pre-sold, we marked them as such and kept them in the crates. You want to keep them in the crates because it keeps the clean, and they’re winterized.

The customer would pick a date, often giving a week or two heads-up, and take deliver then.

Often, the jet ski trailer would not get assigned yet and if they did not have the jet ski in stock, they would still mark it as sold in their systems.

Overall, the jet ski dealership will gladly store your new jet ski until you’re ready to take deliver next year. This was especially true if you paid for them in full. Though, the financing will not happen until you take delivery.

Negotiate Prices?

You can negotiate new jet ski prices, so long as demand is not too high.

If demand is high, jet ski prices will stay high because someone behind you is willing to pay more.

Jet skis have about 4% to 8% dealer markup, but it doesn’t mean you can expect that much off.

Jet skis don’t always have the nice hold-backs like car dealers have. You also have to factor in other things like freight, prep, doc, title and other fees. You can negotiate some dealer fees for jet skis, but it can be a hurdle, as covered here.

Every jet ski dealership is different, so I suggest getting quotes from the 3 nearest dealerships to get a good idea of real pricing and not what’s on the internet.

The Costs?

Jet ski prices tend to change every year, so that is why I create a post on jet ski prices here.

In that post, I have a calculator you can use to give you an idea of fees and other cost to get a jet ski.

Comparing Prices Online

I know no one likes to feel like they got a bad deal on something as expensive as a jet ski, but it’s important to remember that people lie a lot on the internet.

You’ll get the guy on the forms saying he got a jet ski for much lower than the quotes you get.

Please keep in mind that different regions will have different promotions depending on what is selling. Setting the various regions to the side, it’s important to remember people like to tell stories that make them look like the hero. We get this from all the movies and books we read in our lives; we just want our friends and even random strangers to know we won the battle.

While I’m not going to say that it’s not possible to get amazing deals – they’re out there – you can’t always believe what you read online.

Why Are Jet Skis So Expensive?

When I started working at a jet ski dealership in 2007, the most expensive jet ski cost about $13,000. Today, the most expensive jet ski goes for over $20,000!

Jet ski prices go up every year on most models due to inflation, but in the early 2020s they went more crazy.

People were stuck at home, had extra money, and everyone wanted a jet ski. When demand is high, prices go up, even on used jet skis. We also saw inflation go up more, which added to the problem.

Even in 2007 you could not get a jet ski for $5k, but people thought that is how much they cost. Even today, people still think new jet skis are cheap and often shocked when they see the real cost. Boats, in general, have gone up, along with everything. That is why the Spark was such a huge hit in 2014 when it started at $4,999 and brought more people into the sport.

Unfortunately, we won’t see cheap jet skis again; prices will only continue to rise. This is why I advise against timing the jet ski market, as prices never drop. Even jet ski trailer prices are soaring.

To add to it, people want bigger and bigger jet skis. The jet skis of today are much larger than the jet skis of the 90s. Jet skis are the size of a small boat, shoot, even boats are getting bigger and bigger because that is what people want.

The Full Picture

Don’t forget to get the complete picture when shopping for a jet ski. Never trust non-MSRP prices you see on dealer’s websites. The dealership can’t advertise below MSRP on current year models, but can make the price of last year’s model anything they want.

You’ll see lower, often crazy low prices on last year’s models. This is a selling technique to get you to call or email. Always get the final price in writing and remember that this can be a gamble. If you don’t live in the state that you bought from, you might not get the full promotions, and this is why I encourage people to buy from their closest PWC dealership or one in their own state.

It’s more vital to purchase from your local dealership for the simple fact you’ll need to take it to someone you trust. You’ll need someone to service and work on it, and having someone near that is good is more ideal. It’s honestly worth the extra cost of buying from your local PWC dealership, as they can be less hassle when something goes wrong.

After You Buy

After you have bought the jet ski, or even before you get one, you’ll need to make sure you have all the correct gear and tips.

I have a guide on the must-have jet ski accessories and tips that will help you get on the right track for when it comes to jet ski know-how.

Author

Steven

I started working at a power sports dealership in 2007, I worked in parts, service counter, and as a technician before moving to sales in 2013. I created StevenInSales.com in 2014 to answer common watercraft questions I would get from people. Now managing the site full-time, I continue to provide advice and web tools for my readers about watercraft. I've owned several watercraft, with a Sea-Doo Spark as my current main PWC.

Comments

    • The biggest brands of now are Sea-Doo, Yamaha, and Kawasaki. There used to be more like from Honda, TigerShark, WetBike, and Polaris.

      Reply
  1. Looking at either the ex deluxe or the vx limited. I live on the inter coastal so will be using on that mostly. Is ex deluxe able to handle rougher water smoothly ?

    Reply
  2. Any advice on which machine would be the most comfortable for a taller rider (I am 6’6″)? I am waiting for some good deals anytime.

    Reply
  3. If you had the option between a 2020 GTI 170 and a 2019 GTX 155 similarly equipped ( stereo) which would you choose? Would you expect the pricing to be about the same given the latest model year and more HP compared to the lower HP but larger hull and “ luxury “ model GTX? Any insights would be helpful.

    Thanks,

    WGS

    Reply
    • I honestly go with the GTX 155 especially if you’re taller as the GTX body has more legroom. The hull does ride nicer and things like engine mounts on the GTX make things smoother. While I don’t see or think the new engine or new GTI body will give any issues but the GTX body and 155HP engine is proven. Plus, a dealer is more willing to bend to move a leftover model.

      Reply
  4. Any idea how the currentVirus situation might impact Dealers and pricing? Thanks for a great and informative site.

    WGS

    Reply
    • Buy now. Dealers are starting to get hungry and when things get “back to normal” you’ll see a mad rush because people have been in their homes and want out. The season might even be longer than usual because school schedules are messed up and the season has been pushed back.

      Reply
      • Thanks, another question if I may. We are looking for a machine that will primarily be used for basic running around at moderate speeds ( we are both older) but would like it to have the ability to pull our sons ( in their 30s) and also our grandkids on tubes, skies and wakeboards. Actually I have 2 questions first will the 130hp SeaDoo be enough power or will the 170 be significantly better. Second in the 170 models would the GTI be sufficient or do you really need the Wake model for getting someone “up” . As I understand it the only thing the Wake model adds is a ski launch control.

        Thanks again!

        WGS

        Reply
        • The 130 would get you by but that 170 will be better in the long run if you’re pulling adults. The SKI Mode is helpful if you’re doing pulls all day long but if you’re doing it occasionally it’s not worth it. Touring mode and cruise control are fine if you don’t have SKI Mode. I would save the money and go with the GTI SE 170 over the WAKE in your situation.

          Reply
  5. Makes sense! Thanks. Hey another question.. when looking up used prices on NADA or Kelly, or even PWC…. the prices they list are always much lower than what is on the market around here! Been looking for 2014 VX Deluxe or Cruiser.. and the NADA prices are like around $5700-6700. But on Craigslist and Market place on FB they are all going for like $7000-$8000! I have emailed some people a copy of the NADA prices to pro e how out of range they are… hoping they would go down on it. But they rarely budge, maybe $500 less. WHY??? So fustrating!

    Reply
    • Looks like a seller’s market right now. They’re basing the pricing on what other machines like what they have are going for. Plus, the NADA and Kelly Blue Book are only guides to about where those two companies think they should be (its still a good starting point). Then people will always have a bias on their own machines; the best thing to do is point out the flaws of the machine and let them know it’s going to cost money to fix such and such. September and October are also very awkward months. Its still warm and plenty of time to ride so you’ll see the people selling used jet skis wanting top dollar still as the guys who want new ones are at the dealerships looking at the stuff that just came out in these months. I would wait til December as it will become more of a buyers market as people will be in a need of cash. If you want one now the new ones will have the best promotions so that the dealers with leftover models will want to move them to make room for the new stuff. I don’t want to push you to new but Sea-Doo does have some really good promotions going on now.

      Reply
  6. What is best time to buy a used one from individual? Right before winter or during winter? Seems like people would be done with them by end of summer and dont want to winterize them and take up garage space till next year.. if they have lost interest in them.. or want to get something newer..? We are in Texas… so maybe Sept/ October?

    Reply
    • Right before Christmas or even Thanksgiving would be the best time to buy used because people will be looking to make some holiday money.

      Reply

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