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Owning a Jet Ski: Breaking Down the Pro and Cons

Is it worth it? Will you get bored? Is it costly? Maybe you’re throwing around the idea of a jet ski and might be wondering what the advantages and disadvantages are?

For many people, a jet ski is something new and unique to them. Knowing whether or not it will be a good fit is very important to figure out beforehand. These things have some quirks, and a few misunderstandings that you must be aware of.

I want to go over all the “PROS” and “CONS” that go along with owning most jet skis so that you’re in the know before you buy!

The Pros

Nothing else like it and faster than you think – Driving 35mph in your car feels like nothing, but on the water it feels like you’re flying! You don’t have a cabin around you like in your car, and the water around you gives you a feeling you can’t get anywhere else.

Simpler and easier than a boat – Boats can be big and have a lot going on. A jet ski is smaller and often easier to maneuver than a boat.

More control and safety features than a boat – Boats DON’T have brakes, but most modern watercraft do. You also get more features like a learning mode and other things that make having one easier than having a boat.

The motorcycle on the water – A jet ski is like having a motorcycle, but it floats! And one good pro is that you don’t have to worry about it sliding on sand/gravel and holding yourself up.

Some have excellent fuel economyCompared to some boats; you’re going to get great gas mileage. This is a huge advantage for when it comes to jet skis, as everything seems to be getting more expensive. If you want to be on the water without spending hundreds on fuel every weekend, a PWC is the answer.

You can do tricks – You can flip, spin, and do many more tricks than a boat could ever do.

Prices are better in the winter – Prices for used ones go down in the winter months. You can also get better deals on prior year models when they release new models.

More Stable Than You Might Think – Some models are more stable than you realize, like standing on the side, stable! (Though, this means jet skis are much bigger than they used to be). This could be a con to some, but I consider it a pro.

Servicing – To be honest, with the right tools, servicing them is not hard. But it is having the right tools and knowing how to do it is the hurdle to overcome.

Dealerships – Many dealerships are easy to deal with because they’re in the business to selling toys. So don’t expect to go in thinking about the horror from buying a car, it’s way different.

Riding Clubs and Trips – There are many riding clubs and trips to join so you don’t get bored.

Water Only Attractions – There are new fun things to try out, like restaurants and attractions that are only located by water. Could even beach it and have a picnic for 2.

If you can, buy two – It’s always more fun when you can go ride with someone else. Also, when in doubt, buy a 3 seater as it sits 2 people better.

Easy to Clean – So much easier to clean than a boat and take out for a ride too.

Smile More – It’s hard to frown on watercraft. Trust me – you’ll be smiling the first time you take it out.

Storage – Easier to store and cheaper too compared to a boat. Watercraft can fit in a garage or a shed you already have.

Great for Couples – More personal, couples get to hold on to each other, unlike a boat. Holding on to your spouse = a great time!

Every day – It’s something you can ride every day, while the boat will more than likely become the weekend craft.

Makes you feel alive – Gets the heart pumping, no matter what speed you go. It makes you feel alive!!!

Takes the stress away – Just you and the water rushing by, all the worries from life fade away.

All the beautiful people – Let’s be honest, you get to see and be near many beautiful people in swimsuits.

Lets dreams come true – For some people, you know you made it in life when you have a jet ski and ones like the Sea-Doo Spark or Yamaha EX are more affordable than you think.


The Cons

Cost more than you think – The average person thinks jet skis costs $5k, but in reality, the average price is over $15k. And it’s only getting worse with inflation, so it’s for sure a con.

Service Cost – Maintenance and parts cost more for Powersports stuff. Doesn’t matter if it’s a boat, motorcycle, or jet ski – they cost more than similar cars.

Safety Gear is a Must – You need safety gear like life jackets before you drive. Wetsuit bottoms are recommended – just read the warning sticker to learn more about this.

Driver’s license – There are rules and licenses for many states. For example, in my home state of North Carolina, anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 has to take a boaters safety course

Age – There are age limits, too young, and you can’t drive. Check out your local wildlife or boating regulations for your state or country. This means you need a license to drive a jet ski in many states, even if you’re renting. This con affects all powered boats, not just jet skis.

No Roads – Since there are no roads, you need to be more aware than when in your car.

No Trailer, pay for pickupsIf you don’t get a trailer, expect to pay for pickup and drop-ins.

They don’t come with trailers – Here is a post going over that here.

First Service – the first service is not always included, and it’s the most important service you can do, so make sure to get it done.

Insurance – While many places don’t require insurance, you’ll be a fool not to get it.

Below FreezingYou have to winterize jet skis if you live somewhere that gets below freezing. Not a huge con as you need to do that with any boat.

You don’t drive it as often as your car – Since you don’t drive it as often as your car you have to keep the battery on charge, which is quite easy to do. If you don’t ride your jet skis for a month or two, the battery can become weak. But if you ride more than once a month, then you’ll be fine. This is more for long-term storage like you do in winter months.

The Summer Makes Prices Go Up – Jet skis get more expensive during the summer, prices for used ones go up quite a bit (supply and demand).

Extra service for a select few – Some models require more service than others, supercharged models require an additional service – and it’s not the cheapest thing. (This is why I say to avoid supercharged jet skis, the 10+ MPH is not always worth it when the non-supercharged models already do 60 MPH).

Can’t drive past sunset – And you can’t install lights to allow you to do it, either.

Some are not as stable as others – The REC-LITE models are super playful compared to the luxury models, so be aware about this. And if you ask me, for average size adults, a 3 seater is really a 2 seater and a 2 seater is really a 1 seater.

Buying the wrong jet ski could lead to headaches – I have a post that tells you what to avoid here. The downsides of owning a jet ski come at you fast if you buy a bad machine, so make sure to give that post a good read before buying used.

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.

Comments

  1. Greetings Steve,
    I reside down under Sydney NSW and very interested in the See Doo Trophy.21-22 model $30k
    Big Aussie dollars but I look on internet and notice 2019 models second hand for sale,
    What’s your thoughts.
    Are they over rated.
    I just need to know I’m not having a mid life crisis.

    Great site to gain info
    Thanks
    Mark

    Reply
    • The Trophy is cool if you like tech and being the latest but all the Fish Pros before are simply amazing and have more than enough for anyone. If it was me and I could find a 2019 Fish Pro in great shape I would go with that one.

      Reply

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