Getting A Solar Battery Charger For My Jet Ski Was SMART!

The most common complaint I get from jet ski owners is that their battery would die every year.

The solution is simple, just keep the battery charged. Unlike a car, you don’t drive your jet ski every day, so the battery goes flat. Having the battery on a charger will help to keep it alive much longer.

While simple, a battery charger can’t be used everywhere, and it’s more work than most people want to deal with. The good news is that there is a simple solution!

The Better Way – Solar Charger

The best way to keep your battery charged and happy is to use a solar charger (Amazon Link Ad).

Solar chargers are not only easy to install, but can also be more cost-effective than wall chargers. Additionally, they are more resilient in outdoor conditions because they have fewer electrical components. You also don’t need to be concerned about the solar charger getting wet, unlike other wall chargers.

The solar panel doesn’t need to be in direct sunlight for it to work! You can just hang it over the handlebars, and you’ll be okay. Or lay it on the seat or deck and that would be okay too.

What I like to do is keep the solar panel always attached to the battery, and when I’m going for a ride, I just put it in the storage compartment.

Most storage has the battery next to it, like in the Sea-Doo GTI Hull. If this is not an option, you can still keep the solar panel attached, as most will have quick-disconnects on them, so you can easily remove the panel.

1 to 5 Watts

When it comes to the batteries on jet ski’s, 1 to 5 watts solar panels chargers are the best; never exceed 5 watts without a charge controller.

The reason why you don’t want to go past 5 watts is that you could cook the battery if you don’t have a charge controller. The charge controller will shut the power on and off as it needs it.

The smaller wattage panels don’t output enough power to do anything except maintain the charge.

Maintains Battery

The reason why solar chargers work so well to keep a PWC battery alive is that it merely “maintaining” the battery.

The reason why the battery goes dead in the first place is that it’s not being used.

A waverunner has a stator that also maintains the charge, but only when the engine is running. When left to sit for long periods of time, the battery starts to sulfate, which is a coating that forms on the plates of the battery that restricts power, and the battery dies.

The way to keep the battery from sulfating is to either ride more often, at least once a month, or keep the battery on a battery charger.

The manufacturer Should Include Them

Using a solar charger can take a battery from only lasting one season to lasting 5 years.

If it’s such a good idea, then why don’t the manufacturers have solar chargers built into the jet skis?

The only reason I can think of is that it makes them more money selling new batteries every year. Sure, some customers may never charge their battery and get 2 or more years out of it, but for a lot, it’s a yearly problem.

Jetski batteries are not cheap, and if someone needs a new one constantly, it’s good money for the person selling them.

To give credit, Yamaha did have something similar on a few jet boats with it being built into the cover, but it’s not much of a thing today.

Avoid Battery Switches

Before I would suggest getting a solar chargers for jet ski batteries, I had several customers have me install battery switches.

It was boat switches and after doing several of them I learned they were not that great. In fact, they often caused more problems than they solved.

At the time, I was playing with small solar panel systems, and I wondered if I could simply use them for jet skis. After playing with several panels, I found what worked the best and started pushing customers towards that option instead of a battery switch.

Several customers would come up to me years later telling how much better the solar chargers are and how much easier it’s been. I use a solar charger on my Sea-Doo Spark battery and got 5 years out of the last one, so if you ask me, it’s a no-brainer to use a solar charger.



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,
    Would there be any benefit in having the solar connected to the jetski permanently, aka it’ll charge while your out fishing with the engine off but running accessories like fish finder (fish pro)?

  2. Hi!

    How close to the solar panel does the battery have to be?
    I keep my jet skis in a shipping container and would put the solar panel on the roof and run the wire inside.
    I live in Minnesota so the charger would be connected year round is that OK?

    • I wouldn’t have too long of a cable, usually the 6 foot or so they give you is fine. You can keep it connected all the time, so long as the panel is under 5 watts, if higher, you’ll need a charge controller. I keep my solar charger on my Sea-Doo all the time and have no issues, and the battery is always ready to go.

  3. Update to my last comment. It has this built in. Built-in Intelligent MPPT Charge Controller. Is that ok to keep using with since it’s a 10w charger? Thanks.

    • You’ll be fine since it has a charge controller. The reason I say to go with a 5-watt or less solar charger is to keep from over charging the battery, but if you have a charge controller connected to the solar charger, it will keep the solar panel from over charging the battery.

  4. I bought a 7.5 w solar panel with a built-in controller. Can I just hook the wires up to my battery, leave everything connected and just unplug from panel to go for a ride?

  5. Steven, I just got a 2019 Yamaha fx cruiser, got my solar panel, have it on a lift with a cover and can’t for the life of me find the cover with the solar panel pocket or how I can plug it in after the cover is on since it’s on a lift. Any ideas ?

    • You’re going to need to hook up the solar panel to the battery and put the cover on with the wires coming out the bottom of the cover. The wires for most solar panel chargers are super long and make this possible. The solar panel doesn’t need to be in direct sunlight, just not covered up or blocked.

      The best thing to do if you can is to go to your local upholstery shop and have them put in a little zipper door near where the solar panel wires come out.

      • Done! Went to The Captains Tailor in Miami and he made a poly bicarbonate window with marine grade foam and Velcro in the inside. Wires don’t even come out they just pop right into the waterproof container. Beautiful job for $300

  6. When using a Solar Powered trickler, do I still need to disconnect the leads to the battery before hooking up the solar panel. Or can i just attach the solar panel right to the battery and when I want to ride, disconnect and not have to worry about connecting and disconnecting the battery all the time.

    • You get better results if you disconnect the negative cable when charging. For me personally, I leave it connected and disconnect the solar panel when I go ride. If you use a solar panel that is over 5 watts then you need to disconnect the battery from the ski and use a charge controller for sure.


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