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The Most Stable Jet Skis [Comfort, Safety & Confidence]

Are you in the market for a jet ski, but want one that is stable? Not every watercraft on the market will be stable, some are more playful than others.

In this guide, I want to cover the more stable jet skis on the market. List the reasons why I think a stable jet ski is important, especially for new riders, and get you going in the right direction.

To really drive this point home, I’ve listed the reasons why having a stable watercraft matters. In fact, it’s one of the biggest factors for new riders. For those that want to know what is the most stable, it’s often the Sea-Doo GTX, Yamaha FX HO, and Kawasaki ULTRA’s.

  1. Safer – A stable machine 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 sturdy 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.
  2. More Confidence – It 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.
  3. 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 it 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.
  4. Can Do More – A sturdy waverunner 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.
  5. Can Go More Places – A larger PWC is a more anchored, 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.
  6. Carry More People – Larger PWCs generally offer superior stability and have the advantage of accommodating more passengers. While the standard seating capacity for most 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, it is crucial to pay close attention to the seating capacity, as not all three-seaters are designed to accommodate three adults comfortably.
My Sea-Doo Spark in no wake zone just enjoying life

The Most Stable Watercraft?

The most stable on the market are listed below:

The models listed are the most sturdy 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 models.

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 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

PWCs keep getting bigger and bigger after every iteration change from each manufacturer.

Clearly, the market wants sturdy 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 sturdy 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. They 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 Watercraft More Stable

Weight capacity sticker for Sea-Doo Spark in footwell

If you already own a waverunner 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:

  1. Ride fewer people – The more people riding, the more unstable it becomes. Stick to the weight capacity, instead of the seating capacity rating.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Learn To Trim – Not every model 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.
  6. Understand How To Drive & Dock – It’s important you understand how to drive and how to dock. 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.
  7. Go Slow – Reduce your speed when encountering choppy or rough waters. Slower speeds allow for better stability and control, minimizing the impact of waves.
  8. Avoid 2-strokes – The era of 2-strokes 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?

Two 2004 Sea-Doo GTX 4-tec uncovered at dealership

In general, units 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 machines 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.

Larger Models

The larger ones 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 PWC is normally sturdy 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 it’s 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.

Author

Steven

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 StevenInSales.com 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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