The Reason Behind Jet Skis’ Water Spouts [Rooster Tail]

Navigating the open waters can be a thrilling experience, but it’s not without its challenges.

One such challenge is the visibility of personal watercraft (PWCs) — often zipping around with speed and agility. These vessels, while providing excitement for their riders, can pose a significant hazard to others due to their size and maneuverability. Basically, they’re difficult to see, even on a clear day.

In this post, we go into what one manufacturer is doing to increase visibility, and why they do it.

It’s a Yamaha Thing

The reason why jet skis spray water into the air is for visibility, trademark and to annoy/cool. Interesting to note, it’s not jet skis, but instead Yamaha waverunners that shoot water up.

Let’s go over each reason in their own section.

1. Visibility

Waverunners are tiny and nimble; It’s easy to lose sight of one, especially when the water is busy.

One solution Yamaha came up with is to use the jet pump to shoot a stream of water up to better see them during the day. Since there is a lot of power coming out of a jet pump, this water spout can go very high, above waves, thus making you more visible.

This water spout is how it gets its rooster tail look and since people can see them further away, it’s the reason people relate the tails to waverunners.

2. Trademark

It’s like how Harley-Davidson Motorcycles have their unique engine sound.

Or how a Mercedes-Benz makes that unique sound when you close the door.

Yamaha’s thing is shooting water out the rear to give it a rooster tail.

3. To Annoy Or Cool

One downside of a Yamaha shooting water up and out the rear is that if you pull a tube or skier, they get constantly hit with water.

Not only is it annoying for tow sports, but in group rides it annoys anyone near your waverunner. They don’t even need to be directly behind you, the wind can carry the water droplets all over the place and really make other riders annoyed.

The water can block their view and just be constantly annoying, so many Yamaha owners remove the rooster tail feature.

You Don’t Need It

While shooting the water up and behind your waverunner does make it more visible, it’s only slightly.

After a while, the slight visibility it gives you is not worth the annoyance.

1. Pull tubes

If you’re pulling someone on a tube or wakeboarding, the water spout will often hit people’s faces, making it harder to see.

This could be a good thing if you want to cool off, but it does get annoying quick.

2. Hits You

It’s not only the people you pull but if the wind gets you just right, or you hit a bump just right, you get wet from the spout.

It may seem funny to worry about getting wet on a waverunner, but not every moment you want to be wet or get water in your face.

3. Limits Accessories

The water spout also limits what you can carry at the rear, like a cooler or gas cans.

4. Riding Groups

That rooster tail of water can also anger others in your riding group for getting them wet or blocking their visibility.

5. Racers Remove It

Most of the people who race them will remove this water spout. It’s the thrust of the craft that pushes that water out the spout, and as a racer, you want full thrust for moving you forward.

How The Rooster Tail Works

The rooster tail is driven by the output of the jet pump.

A small tube takes water from the jet pump’s output and shoots it into the air.

This process doesn’t involve any special pumps or connections to the cooling system. This means it’s easy to turn off.

How To Turn it Off

To remove the rooster tail from your Waverunner is as simple as removing a hose at the jet pump, as covered below. The hose has no other purpose, so it’s fine to remove it.

Not Apart Of The Cooling System

I’m seeing a few websites say the rooster tail is part of the cooling system, it’s not.

Removing it will not affect how your waverunner keeps its engine cooled. It’s a good thing it’s not used for the cooling system because the water coming out would be hot, and hitting the people you’re pulling on the tube with hot water is not a good idea.

The water you see is waste water, it’s water that was coming out of the jet pump, but a little bit was diverted up into a stream.



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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