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How Much To Pay For Used Jet Skis

This guide will show you the way to figure out pre-owned watercraft prices.

You’ll also learn the tricks I use to figure out if a model has many problems or is worth buying.

Following this guide will help you get the upper hand when buying pre-owned, especially from a dealership.

You need to know a few things first before you get a fair price on any watercraft.

You need to know the…

  • Year
  • Model
  • Manufacturer

Without these 3 things, you won’t get the correct price.

You Also Need To Know The Lingo.

Listing Price or MSRP = This is what the seller wants to get. It also goes by “sticker price” or the “original asking price.”

Wholesale = This is what the dealer or seller has in it. The seller can’t go any lower than this number without losing money.

Trade-in Value = This is what you can expect to get if you’re selling or trading in your ski to a dealership. The dealer will offer you a lower number than this if something is wrong with the machine.

Check Out My Used Values Tool

I created a Used PWC Values tool that will tell you the used price, trade-in and original MSRP.

I routinely update this tool to reflect the market as a whole when it comes to what people are selling their watercraft.

Check JD Power Watercraft

Go to JD Power Watercraft Here: https://www.jdpower.com/boats/personal-watercraft

  1. Select the manufacturer.
  2. Select the year.
  3. Select the model.
  4. Enter your zip code.
  5. Pick your engine, it’s often the “included” one.
  6. Press “Get Base Value” button.
  7. Leave trailer option alone and press the “Submit” button.

You’ll see prices listed.

The “Suggested List Price” is what the thing sold when brand new at that time.

Under “Average Retail” is what you should expect when it’s a clean and well taken care of machine.

Check Real-World Prices

The listing prices that I and JD Power give us are only a starting point. The actual real prices could be higher or lower depending on the market and where you live.

To get real-world prices, we must check websites like…

I like checking PWC Trader first as they make it easy to search an exact watercraft.

A shortcut is to search Google on the exact watercraft you’re looking at and the word “for sale.”

For example, “2015 Sea-Doo gti se 155 for sale“.

Leftover Is Not Pre-Owned

I’ve had people confuse leftover models with pre-owned prices.

A leftover model is a new unit from previous years that has never been registered to an owner. So if it’s currently 2024, a leftover model would be a 2023 or 2022, and so on.

Leftover models almost always have discounts from the manufacturer to lower the price.

JD Power Watercraft’s prices are for used and not leftover models. A used model will almost always have a lower price than a leftover model because the leftover model is still new.

Finding Issues Or Problems

Not every machine is perfect, so you need to know its issues before buying.

Knowing about a particular one common problems can help lower the price and make you better prepared.

To do this is super easy with the trick below.

The Trick To Find Problem Models

Go to Google and enter your jetski year, model, and make into the search box.

Then add this to the end…

site:greenhulk.net/forums/

This tells Google to search for this jetski but shows only results from the website greenhulk.net. The site greenhulk.net is a jetski forum site where anyone can ask questions about any jetskis. If many people have issues with a particular jetski, it will indeed show up here.

Adding words like “issues,” “problems,” or “sucks” to the search term will narrow it down even more.

Note: It's common to see many results, most of the time, it's simple user errors or simple problems. This is only to give you an idea of any issues that the PWC may have. Also, the older the jet ski, the more items you'll find as it's been around longer.

There are other forums you can search…

You can also use their built-in search options to search for the year, make, and model of your jet ski to see if they have any significant problems.

What If The PWC You’re Looking At Has A Lot Of Issues?

Don’t freak out!

There will be a few people who have issues and will go online and complain about them.

This doesn’t mean you’ll experience these issues.

This search is more for finding the odd things that stand out.

For example, did that year model have problems with the seat tearing in the same spot? Or was that model affected by a timing chain recall, and if so, did the previous owner fix it?

Having these questions handy when buying helps give you a better idea of problems if they exist and could help with negotiations.

Tips To Lower The Price

Knowing what I, JD Power and the real prices give us a baseline on where to start.

If you come across a waverunner for sale and the price is higher than our baseline, then we know something is not right.

They could be throwing in things like a cover or a trailer, and those can raise prices.

One way to lower the price is to show them the prices that JD Power or a similar machine go for online. They may not be aware of the price, or the price they want could be based on them still owning money to the bank.

A watercraft must be paid off in full before the bank releases the title. Please don’t buy unless it’s been paid off and has no liens on the title.

Another way to lower the price is to see what’s wrong with it from our previous search online.

  • Is there a tear in the seat? Getting a seat recovered can cost anywhere from $100 to $500, depending on the seat. If the seat is damaged, ask about lowering the price to cover the cost.
  • What’s the age of the battery? If it’s over 3 years old, you should get a new one. A new battery costs around $100.
  • Does it even start? If you got a mystery machine, it’s a gamble.
  • Is there fading? If the jet ski is old enough, replacement plastic parts might not be available and must be detailed to restore it.
  • Is there fiberglass damage, especially under the hull? Fiberglass is not cheap to fix, especially if you want it to look as if it did before.
  • Was it serviced when it was supposed to? If the previous owner never serviced it, the PWC will need to be serviced right away, and that is a few hundred dollars at a dealership.

Going over the jet ski and looking for any issues can help you lower the price.

Don’t forget to be reasonable! Asking a lot off for a jet ski will get you nowhere in negotiations.

Keep in mind, the time of year you buy can also affect the price. Watercraft are cheaper in the winter and more expensive in the summer.

You’ll also pay more at the dealership than a private sale. But if you buy at a dealership, you have more peace of mind because they know what to look for and more easily fix things before selling them.

Used Trailer Prices

Unlike watercraft, their trailers don’t have a website to give us prices.

You got to use your gut for this one.

  • If the trailer is old but still works, I usually say around $500.
  • If the trailer is not aluminum but looks good, I go around $800.
  • If it’s a nice aluminum single trailer, I go for $1,000 to $1,500. Aluminum trailers hold their value very well, especially in the summer, so don’t be surprised if you pay more than that.
  • If it’s a good-looking double trailer, I go for $1,500 to $2,000.
  • If it’s a good aluminum double trailer, I go for $2,000 to $3,000. Though, some higher-end double aluminum trailers can go for double that, like the WC2-2.

I’ve seen trailer prices go for more than I’ve listed above. Used trailers, especially aluminum and doubles, hold their value very well.

A Note About Trailers

Get the used trailer serviced when you buy it.

The truth is that no one does the proper servicing on watercraft trailers, and this is super dangerous! Trailers need to be serviced!

The bearings need to be greased, bolts must be checked, and the suspension has to be inspected. Even the aluminum trailers still rust on the bolts and suspension.

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

  1. i am looking at a pair of yamaha 2016 V1’s they were rentals..
    one has 1000 hours the other has 600. should I worry about having to replace the engines? or rebuild them? he wants $6000 for both and a trailer.. they look amazing..

    Reply
    • I usually stay away from rental jet skis as they’re ridden hard and have a ton of hours. The price is not bad, basically getting one for “free”, but they’re a pain to sell later on when you want something else because of the high hours. Also, the V1’s did not have reverse, so I’m sure they’ve hit a few docks because people who rent don’t know how to drive a jet ski without reverse. I would personally pass on them.

      Reply
  2. I came across two jet skies plus double trailer for 500. The jet skies appear to need work, they have been left in field. Is this worth spending my time and money on?

    Reply
  3. Hi Steven. Looked at a 2019 wake pro 230. 54 hours and the guy really seemed to be genuine about how he cared for it, but I noticed a scrape maybe 1/16 – 1/32 deep, not broke through, about 5 inches in length; and another quarter size dent (no perforation) on the hull. Would this be normal wear and tear or something to be concerned about? Would a dealer inspection (I’ve asked for one and he had no issues with that) tell me if these are problems?

    Reply
    • Scratches are normal and dings too. If the white of the fiberglass is showing it would be best to get it fixed, it doesn’t need to be perfect just enough to keep it from spreading. The problem is that fiberglass is water-loving and when the white is showing it attracts more water and starts to spread the crack. A legit dealer would look at the scratches and know if they’re bad or not.

      Reply
  4. Hey Steven… wanted your thoughts. Looked at a 2016 Yamaha VX Cruiser yesterday with only 41 hours on it. Seemed to run really nice on the water, but I was a little dooped by the ad. I thought I was going to look at a VX Cruiser HO with the 1.8L engine, but it ended up being just the TR1 engine which means its only a VX Cruiser. There were a few cosmetic issues including a lot of scratching on the underside of the hull. Not sure if it was from riding up on the jet ski port or perhaps beaching it. Some are a little more than superficial but I don’t think deep enough to hit fiberglass. Owner was asking $9250 with a trailer, but after i declined at first and I’m guessing maybe a couple of other buys too, he’s dropped the price to $8800. How concerning would the cosmetic issues be?

    Reply
    • Scrapes along the bottom are normal with age especially if they beach it. If you see white coming through or the gash is deep or wide enough it for sure is a problem. Him dropping the price that much is quite odd as the used jet skis have been fetching a premium this summer.

      Reply
  5. How much would you think is a fair price for a 2004 Yamaha Wave Runner FX HO with 87 hours? NADA is $4600 but the dealer is wanting $7000.

    Reply
    • Prices are going to be high on used jet skis due to current events and now being the main season for jet skis. Also, a 2004 jet ski is getting up there and would have me not wanting to spend that much especially over $5k but that is me personally. Due to how the market is in 2021 I don’t doubt that dealer will have someone come in sooner or later and pay $7k.

      Reply

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