Just like any other boat, a jet ski can sink, but not completely due to one important reason that we’ll talk about.
Modern jet skis are a lot bigger than they used to be, so flipping over is not much to concern yourself unless you’re being reckless or the jet ski is damaged.
Let’s go over why a jet ski can sink, why it won’t sink fully, what will cause a jet ski to sink and other tips you can use.
Will A Jet Ski Sink Completely?
A jet ski will sink, but the nose of the jet ski won’t completely sink due to many models having foam flotation in their nose.
It’s a common misconception that people think the foam in the jet ski is to help it stay afloat under normal conditions, but this is not true. The only purpose of the foam inserts in the front of a jet ski is if it takes on water, it won’t completely sink.
The reason the foam is in the nose is that most of the weight is in the rear, and putting it in the front makes the jet ski into a buoy that can be towed back to land using the bow hook.
Does Sinking A Jet Ski Ruin It?
A jet ski that was sunk is not the end of the world and can often be brought back to life, though it’s not going to be cheap. If the jet ski was only flipped over, then read this post instead.
If you have insurance on the jet ski, it would be a good time to get them involved.
If your jet ski sunk and the water got above the engine, then there is water in your engine that needs to be removed. If it’s ocean water, it needs to be removed as quick as possible. It’s best to let the repair shop or dealership handle this for you. Your jet ski may need several oil changes and this is why it gets expensive, all the water needs to be removed!
Do NOT try to start a sunken jet ski as there is water in the engine and that will damage pistons, cranks and more. Water doesn’t compress like air, and starter motors are strong!
Why Would A Jet Ski Sink?
The most common reason for a jet ski to sink is that the drain plugs were left out.
You need to double-check your drain plugs before putting your jet ski in the water. Do not confuse the flush ports for drain plugs, the drain plugs sit at the lowest point and you either have one or two.
A damaged hull or a screw/connection can cause a jet ski to take on water. Also, a damaged water line in your jet ski can cause it to take on water.
An easy way to test your jet ski for leaks is to back it down the boat ramp while still on the trailer and the drain plugs in. Get the rear in the water, take off the seats, and watch to see if any water comes in. If you see no leaks, then start the engine with the jet ski still attached, do not give it any gas, just let it idle and see if there is any water. Then do a normal ride on the water at different speeds and when you come back to the trailer and pull out of the water, pull the drain plugs to see how much water comes out. A jet ski holding a few cups of water is normal, but if you see gallons of water coming out, then something is not right.
Do Jet Skis Have Bilge Pumps?
Not every jet ski has a bilge pump, but they all do have bailer tubes, as talked about here.
Can A Jet Ski Capsize?
A jet ski can capsize if you have too many people, too much weight, hit a wave wrong or spin the jet ski out too hard.
In normal riding on the lake or river with a modern 4-stroke, flipping a jet ski over can be hard, especially if it’s only one person. You will have to try with these large modern vessels, but it’s easier on smaller Rec-Lite models.
In the ocean, it’s a different beast and large waves can capsize larger boats. Know your riding abilities and don’t be stupid!
Will A Jet Ski Spin In A Circle If You Fall Off?
A jet ski will not spin in a circle, and it will not come back to you if you fall off for several reasons.
The jet ski lanyard needs to be attached to and the jet ski for the engine to run. If you fall off, so does the lanyard, and the engine shuts off.
I go over more on this topic here, as this saying is old and needs to be corrected.