How Many People Can Ride A Jet Ski – Seating Capacity?

The standard jet ski seating capacity is 3 people for jet skis. There do exist watercraft that can fit 1, 2, or even 4 people.

When it comes to seating capacity, I often see people confuse 3 seaters for 2 seaters or 2 seaters for a 1 seater.

There are other confusing aspects of jet ski seating capacity that I’ve noticed people have. Like, is it 3 adults or 2 adults and one child? Also, the gear you carry will have a play in how many people can ride on your jet ski. Let me explain.

Jet Ski Seating Capacity Explained

Jet skis come with several seating capacities as shown below.

  1. Standup.
  2. 1-Seater.
  3. 2-Seater.
  4. 3-Seater.
  5. 4-Seater.

The most common seating capacity for a jet ski is a 3-seater, in fact, about 90% of all jet skis sold are 3-seaters.

A 2-seater jet ski is the next most common option, usually on the cheaper models and racing models.

More rare are standup and 1-seater jet skis, it’s mostly racing models that have this capacity.

Lastly, the most rare of all is the 4-seater jet skis. Sea-Doo had the LRV and Yamaha had the SUV that could seat 4 people. These were 2-stroke jet skis and are not made anymore, they were too big and heavy, so they went away.

There exist boats that use a jet ski engine that can seat 4 people, like the old Sea-Doo Speedster 150 or the new Scarab 165. These are boats and not jet skis, but worth mentioning to people as many don’t know about them. You also have the Sea-Doo Switch, a jet powered pontoon boat if you want a jet ski with more seating capacity.

2-Seater Vs. 3-Seater

A common thing I would get from customers when they looked at a 3-seater is that many of them thought it was a 2-seater.

It was even worse on smaller jet skis like the Sea-Doo Spark, as you can see, the difference was not huge.

The honest truth is that a 3-seater is not 3 fully grown adults, but 2 adults and maybe a small child. The seats are more spacious on larger models like the GTI, VX and larger watercraft, but it’s still not for 3 grown burly men.

A jet ski can only support so much weight, so the seats are not huge and not made for many people.

It’s because of this that a 3-seater jet ski is more common, as it fits 2 normal-sized people nicely.

Jet Ski Seating Capacity, The Truth

When talking about Recreation or REC-LITE watercraft, I consider a 3-seater really a 2-seater and a 2-seater is a 1-seater. This is if you want to be comfortable.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a Yamaha, Sea-Doo, or Kawasaki as they all suffer the same seating capacity problem.

The recreation watercraft are your

  • Sea-Doo GTI
  • Sea-Doo GTS
  • Yamaha VX
  • Yamaha VXR
  • Kawasaki STX-15F

Read more about the recreation model of jet skis in my 2023 Sea-Doo vs Yamaha vs Kawasaki post.

Where the seating capacity gets the most confusing is on the REC-LITE category. This is your Sea-Doo Spark and Yamaha EX models. While yes, you can fit 3 small people on their 3-seaters, it’s going to be the tightest out of all watercraft.

I have a 3-UP Sea-Doo Spark. I’m also 240 pounds, and I don’t feel comfortable having another person my size on the PWC; It gets a bit tipsy at low speeds. Having someone 150 pounds behind me is no big deal, but add a 3rd person of 150 pounds, and it’s not fun anymore.

Max Seating Capacity

If your watercraft is rated for 3 people, you must not go over that.

The same goes for 2-seaters and other sized jet skis.

Many watercraft manufacturers put a sticker on the watercraft to let you know the maximum seating capacity, and going over this not only gets you in trouble with the water cops, but could put people’s lives at risk.

Jet skis are rated for a certain weight. They consider the average person’s weight along with gear to base these numbers on.

Going over the maximum weight of a jet ski makes it more likely to flip and harder to control in the water.

What If You Want More Seating Capacity?

The highest seating capacity for modern jet skis will be 3 people.

You can NOT have 3 people on the PWC and towing 2 other people on a tube at the same time. I repeat, this is a big no-no.

The reason why we have these rules is if someone gets hurt, they’ll have room to get back to safety.

The only way to increase seating capacity is to get another jet ski. Since the Sea-Doo Spark came out, this has become a very attractive thing. The Sparks and EX models are priced very affordable, and you find many families opting to get the GTI for mom and dad and the kids getting the EX or Spark.

While getting a new jet ski to be able to bring more people is not always the ideal answer people want to hear, it’s still often cheaper than getting a boat.

Tow Sports Seating Capacity

If your watercraft is rated for 3 people, that means…

  • One person driving.
  • One person acting as the spotter.
  • One person on the tube or wakeboard.

Some states allow 2 people to be towed only if your PWC has mirrors.

If you go over the max capacity, you will get fined by the local water police. We have these rules for the “just in case” someone gets hurt, they have enough room on the PWC to get back on and to safety.

Please be sure to follow your local laws for jet skis, especially the rules they have for seating capacity!

Can Two People Ride A Jet Ski?

Since most jet skis are 3-seaters, you can ride two people on most jet skis just fine.

You can’t ride two people on a jet ski that is rated for one person or is a standup jet ski.

There does exist 2-seater jet skis that will hold two people, but a 3-seater is a better fit for 2 normal-sized adults.

Why Don’t They Make 4 Person Jet Skis Anymore?

For a short time, you could get a 4-person jet ski from several jet ski manufacturers around the early 2000s.

At the start, these larger jet skis were a huge hit as you could take the whole family. They offer a ton of storage and had just enough power.

Why 4-seater jet skis never took off is because you’re almost to a boat and people would rather have a boat. Along with 3-seaters being a little cheaper and “good enough” they won out and that is what people bought.

It is possible for 4-seater jet skis to come back due to the prices of boats going up, but I won’t hold my breath anytime soon.

There are things called Shuttle Crafts that allow you to put a jet ski in the rear of the boat.

You don’t see these much because they’re cumbersome to use, greatly slow down the watercraft, and overall just a pain.

These things more similar in design to the Sea-Doo Switch, which is a lot better if you ask me.

2 thoughts on “How Many People Can Ride A Jet Ski – Seating Capacity?”

  1. Hi Steven,

    I am looking to by a 2019 Seadoo GTI 90 that is for sale in my area. I know it’s listed as a 3 seater but will only ever have my wife and my self on the ski. We have a 2020 Yamaha EX Sport now and it’s not reliably stable with two people on it. Would this GTI 90 be more stable with 2 people riding?
    Thanks for your time.

    • The GTI 90 will be more stable than an EX that is for sure, but the only downside is that the GTI 90 will be a little slower. You’ll also get a lot more storage on the GTI 90 and the seat will feel more comfortable too.


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