Jet Ski Intake Protection? Guard or Mesh?

A super common question I get just about every time someone sucks something up into their jet ski is why don’t they put some kind of mesh in place?

It seems so simple, you’re less likely to suck up ropes, rocks, sticks or whatever into your jet ski if they could just put some type of mesh over the intake.

While this is true, some type of guard would work, the answer is not that simple. Let me explain why a mesh guard over your jet ski’s intake is a bad idea and why jet skis don’t have mesh guards.

Why A Mesh Guard Over Your Jet Ski Intake Is A Bad Idea

There are two reasons why jet ski manufacturers or even 3rd party companies don’t make an intake guard for jet skis:

  1. The guard can’t handle the suction the jet ski creates.
  2. It greatly slows you down, most often to a crawl.

To move a jet ski through the water it needs to process water through its jet pump and the more things in its way the less it can process.

So, you not only slow down the jet ski, but if you do suck something up not only will you suck up that item but parts of the mesh too, which makes it worse.

Do Jet Skis have Some Intake Protection?

All jet skis have an intake grate, but it’s more about planing and protecting the jet ski from very large objects.

There is a whole science behind intake 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 the jet ski. While it may not look like much and not stop a lot of debris, it’s the best you’re going to get.

What About The Sea-Doo SAR?

Sea-Doo did make an intake grate that has more protection than a normal jet ski’s intake grate, 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 jet ski, 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.

Has It Ever Been Done?

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.

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