Why Do Jet Skis Shoot Water Up In The Air? [Rooster Tail Visibility Spout]

Many relate jet skis to shooting water in the air, it’s one of the first things they think of when you say jet ski.

What is interesting is that not every jet ski shoots water in the air, and not only that, but why do the few even do it?

It’s mostly Yamaha waverunners that shoot the water in the air, and the reasons why they do it and why others won’t will be explained below.

Why Do Jet Skis Shoot Water In The Air?

There are 3 reasons why a Yamaha jet skis shoot water into the air.

  1. Visibility.
  2. Trademark.
  3. To annoy or cool off the person you’re pulling.

1. It’s For Visibility

Visibility is the main reason Yamaha jet skis shoot water out the rear.

Jet skis are tiny and nimble; It’s easy to lose sight of one, especially when the water is busy. Jet skis being small is one of the reasons you can’t add navigation lights to them and drive at night.

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

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

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 in the air to give it a rooster tail.

3. To Annoy Or Cool

One downside of a Yamaha shooting water up in the air 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.

Do You Need The Water Spout On Your Jet Ski?

While shooting water in the air behind your jet ski does make it more visible, it’s only slightly.

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

If you’re pulling someone on a tube or wakeboarding, the water spout will often hit them in the face, making it harder to see. This could be a good thing if you want to cool off, but it does get annoying quick.

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 jet ski, but not every moment you want to be wet or get water in your face.

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

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

Most of the people who race jet skis will remove this water spout. It’s the thrust of the jet ski that pushes that water in the air, and as a racer, you want full thrust for moving you forward.

Do All Jet Skis Shoot Water Up In The Air

Only Yamaha Waverunners shoot water up into the air at the back of the jet ski.

Both Sea-Doo and Kawasaki do not have anything similar to the rooster tail found on most Yamaha Waverunners.

How The Rooster Tail Works

The water being shot into the air works very simply, a little bit of water is redirected from the jet pump to a hose that pushes the water out a hole on the top deck of the waverunner.

There is no special pump or anything, beyond a hose that redirects a little bit of the water coming out of the pump up a little bit.

This is why the rooster tail goes higher the faster you go because you’re moving more water out the jet pump.

Is The Rooster Tail A Part Of The Cooling System?

The rooster tail shooting water into the air is not a part of the cooling system.

Yamaha uses an open loop cooling system, which means they take in outside water to cool the engine. The water they take in needs to go somewhere and people falsely think it’s the rooster tail.

The water used for cooling leaves out the side up front where the drive can see it. The driver needs to keep an eye on those exit points to make sure the jet ski cooling system is not clogged.

If it were the rooster tail, they would not see it very well. Not only that, but closing off the rooster tail would overheat the engine, and it does not.

The water from the rooster tail comes from the jet pump, it’s merely a scoop to redirect water up.

Does The Rooster Tail Affect Top Speed?

The rooster tail shooting up and out of your jet ski will affect the top speed of your jet ski, but very little.

A small bit of thrust is being redirected from the rear, which moves you forward, and now up. The difference is so small that you won’t notice it, but racers do turn it off.

Turn Off The Rooster Tail?

The rooster tail, or water spout, coming out of a Yamaha Waverunner is on all the time from the factory.

The good news is that you can buy kits that allow you to turn it off as you need it.

As this video shows and many others like it, it’s easy to install a ball valve, so you can turn the rooster tail off on your Yamaha Waverunner.

Sea-Doo Similar Feature

The closest thing to this water spout not from Yamaha would be Sea-Doo’s iBR system.

iBR is the Sea-Doo braking and reverse system.

If you’re going at speed and hit the brakes, a wall of water shoots up behind you, kind of like a brake light. I find a wall of water to be more visible than a tiny stream of water shooting up into the air.

But the Sea-Doo wall of water only happens when you hit the brakes and going at speed. Where the Yamaha always has a constant stream going. And to be fair, Yamaha now has a brake system today that does similar things.

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