How Many People Can You Ride on Your Jet Ski Legally? [Video]

Ever found yourself marveling at the exhilarating world of jet skis, wondering which type would best suit your adventures on the water? Whether you’re a speed enthusiast, a family fun seeker, or someone who craves the thrill of solo rides, there’s a jet ski out there with your name on it. From the agile standups to the spacious 4-seaters, each model offers a unique blend of excitement and functionality.

But why is a 3-seater the most common, and what happened to 4-seaters? If you’re navigating the sea of options, pondering over what model to get, you’re in the right place.

In this guide, we’ll dive deep into the world of jet skis, exploring the various seating capacities and what makes each one special. From the racing models of 1- and 2-seaters to the family-friendly appeal of 3- and 4-seaters, we’ll help you navigate the choices to find the perfect match.

Let’s explore the options together, ensuring you make a splash with the best pick for your lifestyle and preferences.

The Difference Between a 2-Seater And a 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 models, but it’s still not for 3 grown burly men.

A jetski 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 is more common, as it fits 2 normal-sized people nicely.

The Max Rider Capacity

If your jet ski is rated for 3, you must not go over that.

The same goes for 2-seaters.

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

Jetskis 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 makes it more likely to flip and harder to control in the water.

Tow Sports And What It Means For Seating Capacity

If your jet ski is rated for 3 people to ride, that means…

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

Some states allow 2 to be towed only if you have 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 craft to get back on and to safety.

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

A 4-Seater PWC was A thing

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

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

The reason why 4-seaters never became popular is that they are almost akin to boats in size, and people generally prefer actual boats. Additionally, 3-seaters are slightly cheaper and considered “good enough”, making them more appealing. Consequently, 3-seaters prevailed in the market as the preferred choice for consumers.

It is possible for 4-seaters 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, slow, 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.



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.


  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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