It’s Best To Avoid Supercharged PWCs If You’re New

If you’re new to watercraft, you may hear the word “supercharger” get thrown around.

A supercharged watercraft are the “fast” options, but all watercraft are fast if you’re new to the sport. That is why I say if you’re new to watercraft that you avoid supercharged models.

These powerful machines are more likely to get you hurt, as they’re no joke. So if you’re new, stick to smaller engines, but let me explain more below.

HP Ranges

The lowest horsepower watercraft now is the 2up Base Model Spark. This spark outputs 60 HP and can get you up to 40 MPH.

Is this slow? To me, it is. To someone new, it’s lighting fast! But I’ve ridden 300 HP watercraft and many models with kits on them to push them well beyond the regulated 70 MPH. So, my idea of fast is different. This idea of what is fast stems from many others on the internet who also have GROWN to fast skis. This breeds a misconception, and new riders often get a machine that is just too much for them to handle because of what they hear on the internet.

I’ve sold watercraft to many people, and a lot of them tell me they never go past 35 to 40 MPH because it’s too fast.

I know what you’re thinking, 40 MPH is not FAST!!!!

This is because you’re accustomed to traveling at 40 MPH inside the comfort of your car, with a spacious enclosure and music playing. When you’re on a watercraft, there’s no enclosure around you, and the only sounds you experience are the wind in your hair and the rapid beating of your heart due to the sudden rush. So yes, when it’s just you in the open, 40+ MPH feels exceptionally fast.

Stick To Engines Under 200 HP

Most non-supercharged models will be under 200 HP, look out for this when you’re shopping. Honestly, I would stick to 170 HP or under if you’re a new rider.

Many of the modern watercraft will come with different modes like touring and sport to allow you to have better control over the ride.

One of the perks of going with “slower” models is that they’re better on gas. Those superchargers are very hungry and just guzzle gas. The lower the horsepower, the better gas mileage you’ll get.

What if you’re a big guy? Even if you’re big, you don’t need a lot of power. But if you’re big, you might want to stay away from the rec-lite series of watercraft.

What about towing tubes? Even a 90 HP Spark can pull a tube just fine. Sea-Doo even makes a Wake series that is 155 HP and has plenty of power, so much that you should be careful not to overdo it.

There Is Supercharger Maintenance

If you get a supercharged watercraft, especially a Sea-Doo, there will be extra maintenance you’ll need to do.

I’ve created a post to go over the maintenance and other tips that comes along with a Sea-Doo supercharged model here.

Other Mistakes New Riders Make

Getting a watercraft with too much power is not the only mistake new riders make. It can be scary when it’s your first time on one, but you can do it if you have all the right stuff.

Did you know the most common thing people do that can put their jet ski out of work is sucking up their own tow-rope? It’s always the new riders, and it usually happens within the first 10 hours of the machine. But you can lower this chance by using a shock tube like this one here (Amazon Link Ad).

Another one that can help you greatly is to put a whistle like this one here (Amazon Link Ad) on each life jacket. Most states require all watercraft to have a whistle that is easy to reach. You don’t want to get a ticket for something so simple, so what I recommend doing is getting a whistle for each life jacket you own. The water police are very picky about stuff like this and having one on every life jacket covers you, and if you have kids, this goes double for you as kids are good at losing things like it’s their job. Another idea is to get a safety kit like this one here (Amazon Link Ad) which has the whistle in it along with other needed items.

There are a lot of items you’ll need, and when you’re buying your jet ski, you’ll be so in the mood of the new toy that you forget many of the things you must have. The good news is that I have a guide of things you should have here. I recommend you check that out to make sure you have everything you’ll need to have you ready to ride for the summer!



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. Hello, I’m looking at buying a 2014 yamaha FZS waverunner with 62hrs. Comes with cloth cover, anchor, and bumpers. Never been in salt water.

    They are asking 6k for the machine. I never owned a supercharger machine but have owned a few 2 strokes and you’re right they are a problem.

    I’m 240 pounds and my gf is 170 range and we are looking to scoot and boogie on the water and to pull a wake board from time to time. Maybe even fish a little off of it.

    Can you give me your thoughts I hear good and bad bout super chargers. I just been looking for a ski for a while and it seems like a good deal. Jd power says the ski worth close to 10k this one is 6 and comes with a trailer, title to both and all.

    • Prices are coming down, but that just seems too low. Yamaha has done better on their superchargers than Sea-Doo, but they’re still not perfect. You have more maintenance and will for sure use more fuel compared to non-supercharged engines. I would look more into why they’re selling it so low, it just seems too good to be true.

      • It’s at a dealership in the pre owned section. The owner is a mechanic who works there. He said he wished he sold it in season but he needs it gone cause he in need of money. We are going to go test it on the open water.
        From a stand point out of water we just looked at and it meets the criteria you have posted. We are going to look at it on the water later today.

        Hull -great
        Seats -great
        Fires right up
        No corrosion
        Low hours

        Basically looked at everything just didn’t do a compression test

        The dealership also said they did a full inspection on it.

        We are on the fence. We are looking at a older boat or this ski. The price does seem low. Jd power says it’s worth close to 10 k

        I’m just unsure

          • Yeah the price is so sweet to not pass up. The previous owner is the Yamaha gold master technician for 10 years at the dealership. It’s been fully tested. We are still going to test it here in a bit. Just wanted to see your advice

  2. Thank you for all the information and links you have provided this is a fantastic article and he’s giving me much to think about. I’m a lady in my 50s and feel more confident to purchase my first jet ski.
    Thank you 😁

  3. Very good article! Very true info in here! Im currently looking for a supercharged pwc. I currently have a 2008 Seadoo RXP 155 (this is my 4th PWC) and it is pretty fast (61-62 mph) with me on it alone and that’s moving along pretty good on the water but I think im ready for a supercharged PWC.


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