The Honda Personal Watercraft Saga: What Happen? Are They Worth It?

Have you ever caught a glimpse of a Honda watercraft cutting through the waves and felt a pang of nostalgia? Honda’s venture into the watercraft world may have been brief, from 2003 to 2009, but it left a lasting impression on enthusiasts like me. Their machines were not just watercraft; they were symbols of innovation and reliability, a testament to Honda’s engineering prowess.

But then, the tide turned. The ‘Great Recession’ led Honda to retreat from the watercraft market, leaving fans longing for their return. Rumors in 2020 hinted at a possible resurgence, yet the waters remain still. As someone who’s experienced the thrill of a Honda on the open sea, I can’t help but hope for their comeback, armed with their legendary reliability and design aesthetics that could once again redefine the industry.

If you’re pondering over a pre-loved Honda or simply curious about the legacy and the whispers of their return, you’re in for a treat. Join me as we dive deep into the saga of Honda watercraft – exploring their history, assessing the worth of their existing models, and chasing the rumors of a comeback that could stir the waters once more. Are you ready to explore the legacy and potential future of Honda on the water? Let’s set sail into this intriguing tale.

Why did They stop Making Watercraft?

As of 2010, there are no new Honda you can buy, only used ones.

For a while, there was a time when there were many manufacturers – you had Honda, Tigershark, Polaris, Sea-Doo, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and many more. But today you only have Sea-Doo, Yamaha, and Kawasaki left making new watercraft.

Even though Honda made an excellent PWC that was reliable, their timing was all wrong.

Honda got in a little too late to the market, and what killed them was the recession of 2008/2009. They stopped making watercraft in 2009, and the future models were called off.

When they got out of the market, it made it hard for dealers that had new inventory to sell them. I’ve heard many dealers not selling their last 2009 PWCs until 2014. It was a tough time, especially for the dealers. So don’t be surprised to come across some fairly “new looking” Honda watercraft with low hours on them. I even know of some owners abandoning them – there are some good deals out there.

The Mistakes They Made

While the timing was all wrong in getting into the PWC world, I would say it wasn’t the real reason for Honda to step away. If you ask me, the biggest reason they failed was the lack of innovation.

I cannot blame Honda for not innovating. In fact, the most significant selling point of what Honda sells are simple, reliable, and honestly boring products that just work. This strategy works perfectly if you’re selling cars or lawnmowers (they stopped making gas powered mowers too), but not so well in the jet ski world.

The only way you survive in the jet ski market is innovation. These are toys above all else, and if your toy is not doing something cool, then why are you here?

Sea-Doo iBR

When Honda was stepping out in 2009, Sea-Doo was releasing radically new tech like braking (iBR).

This is why Sea-Doo dominates the market, as they are continually innovating and doing new things. Yamaha is also following suit and has come out with their own braking system called RIDE. Kawasaki also now has a brake.

Another point was that Honda only sold their watercraft in 4 countries and only a few select dealerships. Honda got in their own way.

Buying A Used Honda PWC Today

This brings us to our next point; are Honda PWCs worth it?

Yes and No.

It’s accurate to regard Honda as a reliable PWC, but this reliability diminishes as we move further away from 2009. Since 2009 was the final year Honda produced PWC, the passage of time makes it increasingly difficult to obtain parts for them.

If you don’t mind working on your own machines, then go for a Honda, you’re going to love it.

You might find it harder to resell it because parts are hard to find for them. Just ask the many dealers that had a hard time selling brand-new ones in the crates, years after Honda stopped selling them.

It was a shame that Honda got out, and I’m certain if they stuck it out they could have come back stronger. Honda could have made some cool stuff in the later years.

If you’re thinking about getting a used Honda one, I recommend checking out my used jet ski guide here. I tell you what you should look out for and many other tips.


It looks like they won’t. Many people say they burned too many bridges, so if they do come back, it won’t be like it was before, nor should it be.

There have been many rumors about Honda having prototypes with brakes and everything. Some rumors saying that Honda was really thinking hard about coming back in 2020 when PWC were selling like crazy.

As of today, there is no new Honda PWC for sale and may never be again.

If Honda were to come back, they would need to go more towards the cheaper lineup like the Spark and EX models. In fact, the most prominent reason why jet skis have come back around is the innovation of the Spark. The craziest thing Honda can do is make a racing model, but come out with a Rec-Lite model, and you’ll have people begging to have it.

If Honda is reading this, please consider coming back. The market can always use more competition, and you make good products.

As for what options you have today, here is the latest 2024 Sea-Doo vs. Yamaha vs. Kawasaki.



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 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.

18 thoughts on “The Honda Personal Watercraft Saga: What Happen? Are They Worth It?”

  1. Looking at two 2005 Aquatrax R12’s. 90 hrs each, recently serviced (oil, plugs, batteries). $10k with trailer. Love the site. thanks in advance with your thoughts….

    • Honda made great jet skis but parts are getting harder to find these days as it’s been a long time since they’ve made new units. A Honda jet ski these days is a gamble.

  2. Hi Steven, I am looking at two Honda Aquatrax machines that are for sale on my lake in Michigan. One is a 2002 F-12 (non-turbo, 3 seater) with 150 hours and the other is a 2004 R-12X (turbo charged two seater) with 134 hours. Both have been winterized and serviced at a reputable nearby dealer each year. The seller wants to sell them as a package including a two place trailer and two single cantilever lifts for $8500.

    The seller was not aware of the fuel tank recall for all 2002-2007 Honda Aquatrax models and the recall has not been accomplished on either machine. Your update to the Honda article did not mention the fuel tank recall (potential tank leaks) and I wondered how not complying with the recall effects the value of these?

    There are no dealers nearby that could accomplish the recall in Northern Michigan so if purchased, one would be taking a chance on future fuel leaks. I really only need one PWC and I am leaning towards the 2002 F-12 but not sure what a fair price would be considering the outstanding recall issue? NADA says $2200-$2500. Would you consider either of these? At what Price? Or would you walk on these for a good used Sea-Doo GTX.

    • Before you buy them you need to see who near you can do the fuel tank recall. I would not buy them until that is confirmed. Combined with Honda not building any jet skis anymore and very few repair shops willing to work on them to me it’s not worth buying. I would stick to 4-strokes too as you’ll get the most life out of them and parts are still being made. 2-strokes are a dying breed as officially none are being made by any manufacturer anymore.

  3. I own a Honda FX12x and 2 yamahas. Both yamahas are both younger and we got them new years after we got our honda. The 1 broke immediately and needed a new engine. The other lasted but super charger clutch broke. A year later the one with the new engine had needed a new super charger. Currently our honda is oldest with the most hours on it. Only basic mantenence. It has yet to break. And its over 10 years old. So cant find parts no big deal at all. Thr honda is the slowest but it goes 60w/marine grade 65 w/normal. The Yamaha only goes 70-75. Acceleration is better. But the things break. So overall I would trade the Yamahas for a honda Anyday of the week. Unless I can own a Yamaha for a year. Then its ok. But overtime hondas are best. The thing is a floating beast.


    • I took out my 2004 Aquatrax non turbo to Silverwood lake in Cali yesterday. First time I got it in the lake this year. We only went on the water for a couple of hours and we still had a blast. Got it going up to 54 mph. It only used one bar of fuel by the way. I did an oil change and cleaned the spark plugs before taking it out.Check the air filter also. What else is recommended on this ski for serviceing? The owner I bought it from told me just to do basic maintaining but don’t mess with it or have it serviced unless needed, should I get a valve and seal job let me what you guys think..Around 265-300 bucks is what I’ve been quoted for that. Joe from Cali.

      • Thanks for replying with that info. Sorry to take a couple days to get back to you busy weekend. There’s a 2007 Honda Aquatrax turbo for sale black and white model. New turbo, but smokes is what the seller said. For only 900 is it worth it? I heard the turbo models can be a problem and costly. I found a place for a rebuilt turbo for like 300 350. Was hoping to meet up with seller in the morning. Let me know. Getting excited on this opportunity. But don’t want to get hosed.

        • It smokes, unless you want a project jet ski I would not get it. The smoke would have very little to do with the turbo, something else is going on with it and it sounds like a lot of work.

  5. I’ve got 2 2007 f12x’s. Bought one with about 30 hours, the other with 70. They both have around 320 hours on the now. No issues, none. Just replaced batteries within last 2 years. (that’s almost 10 years out of stock battery). Lot’s of innovations on new skis. More things to fail. And don’t ever compare a Spark to a Honda. Honda is the largest engine manufacturer in the world. They know what they are doing.

  6. Thanks Steven!
    Unfortunately, I won’t be able to water test it due to the weather. However, I did a compression test and all cylinders are right around 70 psi. With this being a turbo charged mode, do these numbers seem correct? I know non-supercharged skis are usually anywhere from 150 -175 psi.


    • That is way too low. I would get a second opinion from a repair shop just to rule out your compression gauge is not bad. Honestly, if it was me I would not buy it.

  7. Steven,

    I will be looking at a 2003 Honda Aquatrax f-12x tomorrow. It only has 130 hours. One owner. They say they’ve winterized every year and recently had the ECU replaces. I’ve read that’s a common issue.

    Besides it being a turbo, is there anything in particular to look for? Any pointers would be appreciated.


    • Nothing is coming to mind but I would for sure take it for a test ride before you buy it to make sure everything is okay. Also, keep in mind that they don’t make Honda’s anymore so parts will be hard to find and fewer repair shops will be willing to work on them because of this.


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