The thing about getting into a hobby is that you start out slowly, then over time, you learn the items you need to either make your life easier or simply got to have it by law. The problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know.
I’m pretty sure many of you are feeling that way about your new jet skis. You’re ready to get on the water, but maybe wondering what you need? What gear should you carry? What things are required by law? I’ve driven more jet skis than I care to admit, and I’ve noticed a few items that tend to be my go-to. Then we also have the stuff that keeps you legal and safe on the water.
In this post, I want to cover all these must have accessories. It’s stuff that I’ve learned over the years that I either needed, wish I had sooner, or simply kept me legal and safe while on my jet ski. Without waiting, let’s dig in below!
How Did I Determine What Accessories To List?
You’ll come across many lists telling you what gear to get for your jet ski, but most of them have no thought put to them or just re-writes of someone else’s work.
My list is based off years in the jet ski world, selling, buying and working at a dealership. I’ve seen the pain points and the questions people have.
Below is a list of what I’m looking for to help build the list below. Knowing this, you can see where I come from and why the items are in this article.
- The item must have safety in mind.
- The item can’t be overly expensive without a good reason.
- It’s something I use on the daily.
- It’s an item I wish I got sooner.
- It needs to improve your riding experience.
- It can save you money.
- Something that most don’t know about.
While everything in this list doesn’t hit all these points, a good portion do. Now that you know the reason for the list, let’s talk about the gear below.
1. A Few Life Jackets
One of the most crucial items to have is a life jacket. Not only are life jackets required by law, but they could also save your life. A life jacket will keep you afloat if you get hurt and fall off.
Getting the right size life jacket is critical – too big you’ll slip out of it when in the water or could put your head below water, and too small doesn’t have enough buoyancy to keep you afloat.
You’ll also want a couple of vests in various sizes for when guests come over and for passengers that ride with you.
The O’Neill Men’s Superlite USCG Life Vest (Amazon Link Ad) is what I like to use.
2. Dry Box For Your Phone
With phones getting more expensive every year, it only makes sense to get the correct protection.
They make waterproof pouches, and they work okay, but I say stick to the small dry boxes like the Plano Guide Series Waterproof Case (Amazon Link Ad). The Plano box will have soft padding inside of it to protect your phone from the bumpy ride. Throw a rag with your wallet + keys in, and you’ll be ready to ride.
If you think about it, your smartphone is one of the most vital things you can carry with you. You can make a call from it if you get hurt or need a tow. You can use Google or Apple Maps to plot where you need to go by water. You can even use the “Find My” app if someone is lost on the water, and you have to find them.
3. Bungee Dock Line
Marine dock line such as double braid nylon ones are used by most for tying up to the docks.
I prefer Bungee Dock Line (Amazon Link Ad) because it’s the easiest to use when wrapping around cleats. The bungee dock line also works great because it has the slack that is needed if the water is choppy.
If you want to learn how to tie up to a dock, here is a great video showing you how.
4. The Different Types Of Anchors
If you plan on hanging out in a cove, fishing, or exploring the water, then you’ll need an anchor.
Not any anchor will do, as many won’t fit in most skis, so that is why I created this guide here to help you find the best anchor.
5. Get A Solar Battery Charger!
A solar panel battery charger is one of the smartest things you can buy. Let me explain.
Driving your car every day keeps the battery charged and active for years.
You don’t drive your watercraft as often, and the battery goes flat quicker because of this.
Keeping your battery charged and active for years is easy with a solar battery charger.
You’ll want to stay under 5-watts for solar chargers, anything more will damage the battery. Solar chargers are meant to trickle charge and also maintain batteries, which is perfect to use for the off season to keep your battery from dying.
I’m a fan of the ALLPOWERS 18V 5W Portable Solar Car Battery Charger (Amazon Link Ad), but anything that charges a 12-volt battery and is under 5 watts will do.
6. PWC Fenders/Bumpers – They Protect The Hull
Fenders (also called bumpers) are great when you dock and don’t want to damage the hull.
Fenders for the front and rear on one side are all you need. The kemimoto PWC Boat Fender (Amazon Link Ad) works great because of its hinged design.
Tip: Before docking, you’ll want to have the fenders out and on the side you plan on docking at.
7. A Shock Tube For Pull Sports
Sucking stuff up in your propulsion system is the same feeling as getting a flat tire in your car. Both are not fun, and both leave you stranded until you get the problem fixed.
What if they made a tool that lowered the chances of getting a flat tire, I bet you would buy it. That is what a shock tube or also known as an impeller protector (Amazon Link Ad) does; it’s a tool to keep you from sucking up your towing lines.
8. Towable Tubes
Being pulled on a tube is the best experience you can have on the water! There is nothing else like it, and it’s a perfect activity for the whole family to do.
Every tube is different, so it’s essential to get the one that fits your style of riding.
- Airhead Rebel 54 Inch 1 Person Durable Towable Tube Kit (Amazon Link Ad) – A great starter tube that is a playful one-seater. You’ll have more fun on a single-rider tube like this one than many of the bigger and heavier tubes.
- SPORTSSTUFF 53-2213 Big Mable Towable (Amazon Link Ad) – A personal favorite of mine, the Big Mable is easy-going and perfect for someone new to tubing. You’ll still have a blast with this tube, but it has more handles and a plusher ride than other tubes. One of the best-selling towable tubes I’ve seen.
- SPORTSSTUFF 53-2030 4K Booster Ball for Towables (Amazon Link Ad) – This is not a tube, but something you add if you want to enhance the experience.
- AIRHEAD AHM2-2 Mach 2 Towable (Amazon Link Ad) – A 2-person tube that allows you to sit in a cockpit which gives you a more secure fit, especially for the kids.
- WOW Watersports Thriller Deck Tube Water Towable Tube (Amazon Link Ad) – Not for the faint of heart, but instead for someone who wants a real tubing experience. All I can say is hold on tight as you’re in for a wild and fun ride!
9. Things To Get With Towable Tubes
Let’s not forget about the items that go along with towable tubes.
- 12-Volt Inflator.
- Tow Rope.
- Booster Ball (Amazon Link Ad).
10. A Telescoping Paddle, Just In-Case
A paddle is something you’ll never need until you really need one. You may never have any problems listed below, but if you do, you’ll be glad you got a paddle.
You could use a paddle…
- if you run out of gas.
- if you sucked up rocks.
- if you sucked up a rope.
- if your battery is dead.
- if you need something to wave down passing boaters.
- As a tool to extend to someone hurt and floating in the water.
A paddle even makes a great Christmas or Birthday gift for the boater in your life!
The Attwood Emergency Telescoping Paddle (Amazon Link Ad) is what I use. I like it because it’s telescoping, so it stores neatly and compactly in the front storage.
11. A Cable Lock To Secure The PWC
So you got your machine home and on the dock. You might be asking yourself, “how do I lock this thing down”? The best way is with a cable lock around the front bow hook.
Most drive-up docks have a place for you to wrap your cable lock around. Be sure to still use dock line for holding the watercraft, along with the cable lock.
The cable lock will also work for trailers, lifts, and everything in-between.
I recommend the Master Lock Python Adjustable Keyed Cable Lock Here (Amazon Link Ad)
12. A Whistle On Every Life Jacket!
Most states require you to have a whistle or an air horn within reach.
What I do is buy a bunch of whistles and attach them to every life jacket I own. This way, no matter what, I always have a whistle and so do my guests.
Most states want you to have a safety whistle (Amazon Link Ad) because of its high visibility. I might be a little paranoid, but I also carry an air horn too when I ride my ski.
13. A Dry Bag For All The things You Carry
A dry bag works great to keep your phone, wallet, registration, insurance papers, spare clothes, a towel, and everything else you carry dry.
I’ve always been a big fan of bags like this (Amazon Link Ad) for the color and quality of the bag. A great feature with dry bags is that they’re buoyant enough to float if you drop them in the water.
14. The Clothing I Suggest You Wear
Here is a list of recommended clothing you should have when riding.
- Riding Gloves.
- Rash Guard (Amazon Link Ad).
- Sunscreen (Got to stay protected from the UV light!).
- Water shoes (keeps you from slipping and hurting your feet).
- Wetsuit/drysuit (Cold weather riding).
- Wetsuit bottoms.
To see the complete list of what to wear click here.
15. A Certain Type Of Cooler
When it comes to coolers, you want one that is flexible and not a hard body. Storage compartments are oddly shaped openings, and a hard cooler won’t work.
I recommend getting a cooler that collapses, like the CleverMade SnapBasket Soft-Sided Collapsible Cooler (Amazon Link Ad).
A cooler is a nice way to keep your food and drinks cold. Many lakes have islands where you can anchor and get out the cooler and have lunch. One favorite spot of mine is a restaurant on the water, and having a cooler where you can bring back leftovers is a nice plus.
16. Fishing Items
If you plan on using your craft for fishing, you’ll need a place to put your rods. Sure, you could lay your fishing rods in the footwells, but why do that when they have rod holders?
You can buy fishing racks (Amazon Link Ad) and rod holders that fit on the back of many watercraft.
17. A Re-boarding Ladder
It’s easy to overlook a ladder in the buying process, but it’s one of those things you come to find out you really need. You might also find that the ladder you have now isn’t long enough or simply doesn’t work for you.
If you don’t have a ladder or the one you have now won’t cut it, then you can get the Hardline Products EZ Riser Boarding Ladder (Amazon Link Ad). It does have a 300-pound weight capacity and is easy to store away too.
To clear up some confusion, these reboarding ladders are for getting back on the craft, not getting into the water. You only use them when in the water.
18. Sound System, Stock And Aftermarket
Nothing better than listening to your favorite music while riding. Many models don’t have a built-in stereo system, but there are wireless Bluetooth speakers available.
Check out the Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker on Amazon (Amazon Link Ad).
I also have a guide here to cover the options you have for speakers and Bluetooth systems.
19. An Extra Kill-Switch Lanyard
It doesn’t hurt to keep an extra lanyard around, as it’s a good chance the one you have now will get lost in the future.
If you’re not sure what lanyard to get then the universal style like the JET LOGIC UL-3 Ultimate PWC Safety Lanyard (Amazon Link Ad) will work for Kawasaki, Yamaha, Polaris, Honda, and some Sea-Doo. They are tethered to either your wrist or your life jacket and are the kill switch if you fall off.
If you have a modern Sea-Doo with the DESS key, then you can’t buy just any lanyard, you will need to program your keys, and we go over that here.
20. A Watercraft Cover
A cover protects your machine from the sun and water, it’s two worst enemies!
The best covers are the ones you get from the manufacturer, but even a basic universal fitting one (Amazon Link Ad) will be fine for most people.
For more info on covers, I have a guide here.
21. Your Trailer Needs A Few Things, Too
Here is the list of things I suggest:
- Tongue Jack (Amazon Link Ad)
- Ratchet Straps (Amazon Link Ad)
- Coupler Lock (Amazon Link Ad)
- Spare Tire
- Trailer Light Adapter (Amazon Link Ad)
To see more trailer items check out our post here.
Tongue Jack: Trust me, you want to get a tongue jack; it’s a real back saver! Installing a tongue jack is not hard and only a few tools are required. This video does a great job of showing you how to install a tongue jack.
Ratchet Straps: There is a learning curve to ratchet straps, but you need them on the rear of your craft when hauling on the road. This video does a great job of showing you how they work.
Trailer Light Adapter: Most newer trucks need the trailer light adapter, as PWC trailers still use the older rectangle plug and newer trucks have the larger round plug.
22. Safety & First Aid Kit
You never know what can happen, so a safety kit is nice to have.
You can build your own kit by getting the items below and putting them in a dry box.
Safety Kit List
- Screwdriver, Phillips and flathead.
- 10mm and 13mm wrenches.
- Needle-nose pliers.
- SOS flashlight.
- Extra whistle.
- Extra dock line.
- The number to TowBoat or any boat towing services.
- Spare cash.
- A small first aid kit (Amazon Link Ad).
- Knife (There have been a few times that I needed to cut rope or something to get my ski freed).
- Bookmarked my website in your phone for the times you suck up ropes or your watercraft won’t start.
The 10mm and 13mm are the most common bolt sizes you’ll run into. There have been a few times I’ve had one not start because the battery cables were loose and using the 10mm wrench had me back running.
More than likely, you’ll never need this safety kit, but it’s nice having one, especially if you do long rides.
23. The Cleaner and Polish I Recommend
Cleaning a boat can be different from cleaning a car. You should avoid cleaners and especially waxes made for cars, as the fiberglass/gel-coat is very different from the metal/paint on a car.
I’m a big fan of 3M Marine products, no joke I’ve had this stuff work miracles.
- For waxing, stick with 3M 09009 Marine Cleaner and Wax.
- For cleaning the seats and other vinyl areas, stick with 3M Marine Vinyl Cleaner And Restorer.
- For mildew, the little black spots you get on your covers and seats, use 3M Mildew Stain Remover (Amazon Link Ad).
For general cleaning, you can use any marine soap; stick to the marine stuff, as it’s biodegradable.
If you want the step by step on how to clean, I go into great detail here. After cleaning a few thousand skis you learn some very neat tricks and I share them all.
24. A Drive-Up Lift To Keep The PWC Out Of The Water
If you live on the water and want to keep your craft on the water for easy access, I suggest getting a drive-up lift.
You want to keep the watercraft out of the water when you’re not using it, or you can do some damage. These lifts also help to protect against the elements, so your machine is not banging up against the dock in a bad storm.
Make sure to get one that fits the length of your watercraft, as you don’t want the rear of the machine touching too much of the water.