Why Don’t Jet Skis Have A Mesh Guard To Protect The Intake?

Have you ever wondered why jet ski manufacturers don’t put a mesh guard in front of the intake to protect it from sucking up large debris? It would seem so simple, but is it? This is a common question I get from new watercraft owners and often confused such a simple idea hasn’t been done yet.

In this post, I want to go over why jet skis don’t have a complex protective layer in front of the intake grate and why it’s a bad idea to make one. So, let’s dig in and answer the common question people have.

There’s Some Protection

Sea-Doo intake port showing where the water enters before ride plate

All waverunners have an grate, but it’s more about planing and protecting from very large objects.

There is a whole science behind grates, and the manufacturers design them to offer the most protection without robbing you of too much power.

So, the thing that everyone wants to make is already on there. While it may not look like much and not stop a lot of debris, it’s the best you’re going to get.

Add More Guards?

The reason why Sea-Doo and other watercraft don’t have more protection in front of the intake is that it restricts flow too much.

Even the slightest of mesh is enough to bring your watercraft to a crawl. And if the mesh ever breaks, you end up sucking it up and destroying your jet pump.

It’s just not worth it. The manufacturer has designed the best flow and protection combo you’re going to get for protection for your watercraft’s intake.

The Sea-Doo SAR

Sea-Doo did make a grate that has more protection than a normal, but it’s only on the Sea-Doo SAR.

The SAR is short for “search and rescue” and used by governments and others that fall into similar identities. This is not a normal PWC, it needs to run in harsh environments, so a modified intake grate is used.

While the intake grate on the SAR is better, it’s still not perfect. Sea-Doo also beefed up the wear ring and reinforced in other places. The reason Sea-Doo doesn’t do this with all their watercraft is because it would easily double the price.

It’s Been Done Before

There have been a few people who try to make a mesh cover for jet skis or jet-powered outboards.

They all quickly learn it’s not a good idea and see how dangerous it is.



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.

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