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2024 Jet Ski Horsepower Chart For Sea-Doo, Yamaha and Kawasaki

The most common questions I would get from people looking to buy a jet ski were always “how much”, “how fast” and “when can I get it”?

What a lot of new jet ski riders don’t know is that how fast you can go has a limit of 70 MPH for US models. Even though we now have Sea-Doo’s hitting 325 HP, there is a limit on the top end of speed.

Does that mean horsepower doesn’t matter? No, but other factors start to matter, like how quickly you get to 70 MPH. Generally, having more power means you can do more things like pull sports. The power to weight ratio also comes into play, along with fuel consumption. There are a lot of things to consider, and after a lot of research and years of experience in the field, I have listed all the data that goes along with the power you’ll find on modern jet skis.

A Little Background

To start us off, horsepower (HP) is a unit of power used to measure the rate at which work is done. It was originally developed by James Watt, an engineer who needed a way to measure the output of his steam engines.

It’s interesting to note that one HP is defined as the power needed to lift 550 pounds (250 kilograms) of weight one foot (0.3048 meters) in one second. When it comes to vehicles like cars, boats, and jet skis, HP is used to measure engine power output. Engines with higher HP can deliver more power, enhancing the movement of the connected vehicle or equipment. When it comes to speed and acceleration in jet skis, HP plays a huge role!

2024 Sea-Doo, Yamaha, and Kawasaki

MakeModelMPHHP
Sea-DooSpark 2UP 60HP4060
Sea-DooSpark 3UP 90HP4990
Sea-DooSpark 2UP 90HP iBR4990
Sea-DooSpark Trixx 2UP4990
Sea-DooSpark 3UP 90HP iBR4990
Sea-DooSpark Trixx 3UP4990
YamahaEX50100
YamahaEX SPORT50100
YamahaEX DELUXE50100
YamahaEX LIMITED50100
Sea-DooFISH PRO SCOUT50130
YamahaJETBLASTER51110
Sea-DooGTI 13052130
Sea-DooGTI SE 13052130
Sea-DooExplorer Pro 17052170
Sea-DooFISH PRO SPORT52170
Sea-DooFISH PRO TROPHY52170
YamahaVX-C53125
YamahaSUPERJET53100
YamahaVX53125
YamahaVX DELUXE53125
YamahaVX CRUISER53125
YamahaVX LIMITED53125
Sea-DooWAKE 17055170
Sea-DooGTI SE 17056170
KawasakiSTX 16057160
KawasakiSTX 160X57160
KawasakiSTX 160LX57160
Sea-DooGTX 17058170
YamahaFX HO58180
YamahaFX CRUISER HO58180
KawasakiSX-R59150
YamahaVX CRUISER HO62180
YamahaVX LIMITED HO62180
Sea-DooGTR 23063230
YamahaGP1800R HO65180
Sea-DooWAKE PRO 23065230
Sea-DooGTX 23066230
YamahaFX SVHO68250
YamahaFX CRUISER SVHO68250
YamahaFX LIMITED SVHO68250
YamahaGP1800R SVHO70250
Sea-DooRXP-X 70325
Sea-DooGTX 30070300
KawasakiULTRA 310X70310
Sea-DooRXT-X 70325
Sea-DooGTX Limited 30070300
KawasakiULTRA 310LX-S70310
KawasakiULTRA 310LX70310

Jet Ski HP Ranges

When it comes to range of horsepower, modern engines in PWCs vary from 60 to 325 HP.

From the research that I do yearly, I find the majority of jet skis are under 200 HP, which is about the same HP of most cars. You have many that are pushing more power than most cars while being drastically lighter, and the engines being smaller. It’s impressive the power that these jet skis make when in comparison to cars, especially when it’s over 200 HP!

Over 200 HP

300 HP Sea-Doo Engine from a RXT-X White

Most jet ski engines over 200 HP have a supercharger to get to this level. With a supercharger, I see more maintenance, and they do consume more gas. The good news is that most have different driving modes to give you better MPG and better control over the jet ski.

Even the leaders in horsepower have modes, those leaders of horsepower currently are below.

The Leaders:

For the engines with the most horsepower, that would be Sea-Doo with the two models below:

The Small Guy:

90HP Sea-Doo ACE engine top view

The Sea-Doo Spark has the least engine horsepower at 60 horsepower and has a top speed of about 40 MPH. For new riders, many find doing 40 on a PWC feels like doing 80MPH in your car; it’s the power to weight ratio that screws your perception. So, having that much horsepower if fine for most people.

You don’t need an engine with a lot of horsepower to pull a tube, a 90 horsepower Sea-Doo Spark can do it, but it will struggle more than higher horsepower models. If you ask me, the golden spot for pulling tubes is between 110 horsepower to 170 horsepower. You don’t need a high horsepower watercraft to pull a tube, in fact, it’s best you don’t as they have too much horsepower. Don’t buy a PWC that is too much hosepower, start off with something modest as they’re all fast.

But what about CC’s? Let’s cover what CC means and how it relates to engine power.

CC

The PWC engines come in many different numbers plastered on the side that the manufacturer likes to show off. The engine CC is the measurement of engine displacement, the larger the number, the bigger the engine. Just because you got a bigger CC engine doesn’t mean it produces more power.

The engine horsepower is a superior measure because smaller CC engines can generate more horsepower than larger CC engines. While larger CC engines offer more room for improvements, weight is a significant factor for when it comes to PWCs. It’s more common to see smaller CC engines with high horsepower for sit-down and standup.

It’s more about the horsepower, and that can affect certain aspects of your jet ski like jumping waves, pulling tubes and so much more.

Performance Relation

It’s interesting to understand that the horsepower on modern PWCs can affect its performance. Jumping waves, pulling tubes, carrying a passenger, tricks and more are dependent on power coming from your watercraft. Other factors like weight, driver’s skills, and conditions also affect the jet ski.

One golden rule I have is that the more horsepower you have, the more fuel your average engine will consume. You will also need to run premium gasoline in higher HP engines. So, going with the most powerful jet ski may not be the best option for everyone, especially if it’s new and in its break-in period.

Break-In Period

Sea-Doo Engine block removed from watercraft on engine stand for repairs

If you just got a high-HP new model jet ski, you may have noticed that it’s limited during its break-in period. Your new jet ski engine is high-performance and needs to be broken-in, so the computer on board will limit your power until after a certain time. There are other things that can limit power, like different modes and keys. Sucking something up or damages will also cause it to limit its power.

You Don’t Need As much As You Think

I’ve encountered customers who mistakenly believed they needed the most powerful and high-tech PWC available. These individuals, influenced by hearsay rather than informed decision-making, thought they required 300 HP just to tow a child on a small tube behind their jet ski. In reality, most people don’t require the most powerful jet ski on the market.

It always made me cringe when customers insisted on installing a ski pylon on their racing 300HP Sea-Doo. While it’s their PWC, and they’re entitled to their choices, for the sole purpose of towing tubes on weekends, such a high horsepower engine is excessive and more likely to cause accidents than solve any perceived problem. If you’re new to the sport, truthfully, all jet skis on the market today are fast! Riding any, particularly if you’re inexperienced with power sports machines, can feel like rocketing through the water. It’s important not to equate the speeds of jet skis with those of cars; the experience is entirely different. Modern cars are like houses on wheels, offering comfort and shielding from wind noise.

However, on a PWC, you’re exposed to the elements, with sensations intensified. Riding at 40 MPH on a ski feels akin to exceeding 80 MPH in a car.

So, you don’t necessarily need the most powerful jet ski on the market to tow Timmy on a tube a few times a year.

A modest model watercraft like the Sea-Doo GTI 170 can handle such tasks efficiently, with lower running costs, middle range horsepower, while still delivering an exhilarating experience, particularly in sport mode. In fact, 170 HP would have been a powerhouse back in the day, just look at the history of power of jet ski engines below.

The History:

Jet ski engines have not always had 300 HP options, but started off with 18 HP back in the 1960s and came back in style with 55 HP in the 80s. Over time, PWC engine manufacturers have been increasing engine horsepower, and it’s becoming excessive.

The trend began with the transition to 4-stroke engines, followed by the addition of superchargers and intercoolers a few years later. The mid-range horsepower of today would have been considered the highest 20 years ago. It’s becoming somewhat absurd, akin to a pissing contest, in my opinion, with manufacturers racing to the top.

The manufacturer’s Race To The top

It’s always been a “race” between Sea-Doo and Kawasaki. Kawasaki hit the big 310 in 2014 before Sea-Doo, but in 2016 came out with the new ACE engine that had 300 HP. Now we have 325 HP in 2024.

As PWCs got more power, they soon started to reach speeds that scared many. That is why an agreement with the US coast guard was reached to limit PWC speed. This speed limit doesn’t exist in other countries, and yes, you can remove it if you know how.

With this much power, it’s crazy to think what the future holds.

The Future

I don’t want to say engines won’t get more horsepower (Sea-Doo did release 325HP for 2024), but it does feel a bit pointless when there is a 70 MPH cap.

2024 Sea-Doo RXP-X 325 stock image

It’s now about whose PWC can get to 70 MPH the fastest, and not who has the greater top speed. There are people who modify watercraft to reach new top speed records, but for the average person, there is no need to be going over 70 MPH.

What’s The Deal With Yamaha Horsepower Numbers?

GP 1800R on trailer with no visible stickers of HP

You may notice that I’ve been mostly talking about Sea-Doo and Kawasaki when it comes to horsepower. The Yamaha Waverunners manufacturer doesn’t like bragging about their horsepower, for several reasons, but they max out at 250 HP. To be fair, their 250 HP engine does keep up with the Sea-Doo and Kawasaki, but it’s not the same.

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.

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