Not all jet skis are created equal, and stability is a crucial factor that many new owners consider.
In this post, I want to go over the most stable models available on the market today and how most models are trending when it comes to stability.
Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a novice seeking a smooth and secure ride, join me as I explore what watercraft offer the best stability.
Why Stability Matters
It’s not always clear why someone would worry about stability, the most die-hard jet ski riders tend to laugh when it’s mentioned, as getting wet is a part of the fun.
That is why I want to list the reasons why the stability matters, and why it’s one of the biggest factors for new riders.
- Safer – A stable jet ski is a safer one, especially when you have multiple riders. Watercraft today are doing more things than the ones of the past. We have towable tubes, wakeboarders, and reaching much higher speeds than ever before. A larger, more stable machine offers more safety to the rider, makes them visible, and it’s easier to get on and off the watercraft from the water or dock.
- More Confidence – A jet ski can be scary to new riders, and when it is less likely to flip or roll, it helps build more confidence. More confidence means you learn quicker, get used to the quirks, and have more fun.
- Comfort – With the prices of everything going up, I find people are less likely to go for a boat and instead go with a PWC as it’s cheaper. For many people, they’re looking for a boat replacement, so a jet ski must be comfortable and stable. A larger model will have a larger seat and take the chop a lot better. They are getting so much more comfortable that we’re getting long-distance models made for exploring.
- Can Do More – A stable watercraft will be able to do more things, from pull sports, drag racing, cruising, trips and more. When they’re stable and comfortable, you find more things to do and get worn out a lot less.
- Can Go More Places – A larger jet ski is a more stable jet ski, and this means you can go more places and do more things. Long-distance trips need a place to store luggage and fuel, so a larger, so this is important. The ocean is a hard place to drive in, but a bigger one does better than a smaller one.
- Carry More People – Larger PWCs generally offer superior stability and have the advantage of accommodating more passengers. While the standard seating capacity for most jet skis is three people, it’s important to note that there are also options available with two or single-seater configurations. However, it’s worth mentioning that not all three-person watercraft are created equal. Although they claim to seat three individuals, the space may be more suitable for two adults and a small child due to size limitations. Therefore, when purchasing a jet ski, it is crucial to pay close attention to the seating capacity, as not all three-seaters are designed to accommodate three adults comfortably.
The Most Stable
The most stable jet skis on the market are listed below:
- Sea-Doo – GTX, RXT, and anything with ST3 Hull (Wake Pro, Explorer Pro 170 and Fish Pro & Trophy).
- Yamaha – The FX line-up.
- Kawasaki – The ULTRA line-up.
The models listed are the most stable from each brand. The reason why Sea-Doo has many models listed is that they all share the same hull.
Manufacturers tend to have 3 or 4 different hulls, but may sell 10 to 20 different jet skis.
For Rough Water
When it comes to rough water, the Kawasaki ULTRA hull is the best rough water hull.
The Most Comfortable
Stability and comfort go hand in hand, and there is one hull that truly stands out from the competition.
The Sea-Doo ST3 hull, featured on popular models such as the GTX, RXT, Fish Pro, WAKE Pro, and Explorer Pro 170, takes the title as the most comfortable jet skis on the market today.
Sea-Doo goes above and beyond in prioritizing ergonomics, offering a seat meticulously molded to conform to the human form. Additionally, the handlebars are thoughtfully adjusted to accommodate most riders, ensuring a personalized and comfortable riding experience. With the added convenience of quick access storage, the Sea-Doo ST3 hull exemplifies meticulously designed PWCs that truly caters to the needs of riders.
The level of comfort that Sea-Doo delivers allows them to come out with models made for long rides, like the Explorer Pro 170.
They Keep Getting Bigger
Jet skis keep getting bigger and bigger after every iteration change from each manufacturer.
Clearly, the market wants stable and comfortable models, but still have the option of more nimble ones too. Even the smallest, the Sea-Doo Spark, is still quite large compared to older models.
Now Vs. Then
For instance, let’s consider the Sea-Doo Spark 3up, which measures 120 inches in length. In comparison, the 1996 GTX, known as one of the larger luxury Sea-Doo during its time, had a length of 122 inches. Notably, the Sea-Doo Spark’s width is only 1 inch shorter than that of the 1996 GTX.
The difference is so minimal that the “small” Sea-Doo Spark available today is approximately the same size as the most stable luxury Sea-Doo model from 1996. Moving up in size, the current Sea-Doo GTI body is actually slightly larger than the most stable and top-of-the-line Sea-Doo model of 2007, the GTX Limited.
These comparisons are not unique to Sea-Doo alone; similar trends can be observed across other manufacturers as well. Jet skis have progressively increased in size over the years.
Which means, when it comes to stability, newer ones generally offer improved chances due to their larger sizes.
How To Make A Jet Ski More Stable
If you already own a jet ski or are considering one that may not provide the level of stability you want, there are several things you can do to enhance its stability:
- Ride fewer people – The more people riding, the more unstable it becomes. Stick to the weight capacity, instead of the seating capacity rating.
- Avoid Standing Up – When you or the passengers stand up, it makes the unit more top-heavy and more likely to roll. Avoid standing up too much and stick to staying low when riding.
- Carry Fewer Items – The stability can be lowered as you add more items. To maintain optimal stability, it is best to only carry the needed items and avoid unnecessary weight. For example, don’t carry sand in your sand anchor, refill it every time you anchor the jet ski.
- Learn To Ride In Chop – The way you approach a wave can determine if your PWC will flip, so make sure to know how to handle riding waves. If you’re worried about stability, avoid riding on rough days and rough water conditions.
- Learn To Trim – Not every jet ski has trim, but the ones that have it, make navigating rough water easier. In rough waters, you want to trim down a little, as the front is more sharp than the rear, so you cut through the water.
- Understand How To Drive & Dock – It’s important you understand how to drive a jet ski and how to dock a jet ski. You should also practice where you can, go in an empty cove and get a feel for the machine. You’ll quickly learn the quirks and stability of the watercraft when you practice.
- Go Slow – Reduce your speed when encountering choppy or rough waters. Slower speeds allow for better stability and control, minimizing the impact of waves.
- Avoid 2-strokes – The era of 2-stroke jet skis is fading away, as modern manufacturers have ceased their production due to environmental concerns. These 2-stroke models were often smaller, thanks to their smaller engines. If stability is a priority for you, it is best to avoid 2-strokes. Some 2-stroke were so bad, they had you start in the water.
Video On Why To Avoid 2-strokes
To see how unstable they used to be and why to avoid 2-stroke if you care about stability, watch the video below.
Today, you have to try to get wet on many of the bigger models. The Sea-Doo Spark and Yamaha EX are still playful, but not anywhere near as tipsy as the Sea-Doo HX back in the day.
Are All PWCs Stable?
In general, jet skis manufactured within the last 15 years have significantly improved stability compared to older models. There is an ongoing trend in the industry toward larger models with each new iteration and design update, prompting comments like “these things are the size of boats!” from many of the buyers I would talk to.
As a large guy, I can personally attest to the stability of smaller and modern jet skis like the Sea-Doo Spark, which I own. Despite its compact size, I can confidently stand on its side without it flipping. While it is still possible to flip it deliberately, it requires more effort than with older models.
The larger jet skis such as the GTI and GTX provide even greater stability and give me greater confidence when riding them.
However, it is important to note that the stability can be lessened when adding more people and weight to it.
Why Your PWC Is Unstable
If your jet ski is normally stable and recently has been wanting to flip or roll over more easily, then it’s often a sign you’re taking on water.
Another reason why it will all of a sudden become unstable is that you have too much weight, either too much gear or too many riders.
There is also the possibility that your jet ski is not being driven correctly, some have a racing hull that wants to go fast, and if you’re constantly going slow, the hull can dart and feel unstable. It’s important to buy models that fit your riding style and not because it’s the fastest model they sell.