What to Wear Jet Skiing – Jet Ski Clothing & Gear

Did you know there is a proper dress code for jet skiing? Sure, a swimsuit is fine, but it’s not everything you need.

There are safety concerns when not wearing the correct jet ski riding gear and clothing. If you don’t believe me, then hop on your jet ski and read the owner’s manual or warning stickers.

Let’s go through a little list of the things you need to wear when jet skiing.

What To Wear Jet Skiing

In no particular order, here is the list of items and clothing you need to wear when you go jet skiing.

  1. Life Jacket
  2. Wetsuit Shorts
  3. Swimwear
  4. Water Shoes
  5. Gloves
  6. Sunglasses
  7. Dry Bag
  8. Sunscreen

To see a complete list of jet ski accessories, please go here.

Each item listed is important, so I’ll go over each one and why you must wear it when jet skiing.

1. Life Jacket

The most important thing you have to have on is a life jacket. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good swimmer – If you’re on a jet ski, you wear a life jacket!

Here are the reasons why a life jacket is so important to wear while on a jet ski:

  1. Your life jacket will help you float if you fall off or get hurt.
  2. The life jacket adds visibility to your jet ski, so make sure to buy bright ones!
  3. You get some sun protection with a life jacket on.
  4. Gives you a place to attach the safety lanyard.

If you’re renting a jet ski, most rental companies will have a life jacket for you to use in many sizes. Ideally, you should bring your own life jacket, as you need to make sure it fits you properly. Even if you’re a good swimmer, you need the proper life jacket!

A good life jacket is the O’Neill Men’s Superlite USCG Life Vest*.

Children will need their own life jackets made for their body size. Rental companies have different rules for children riding jet skis, so make sure to contact them before you rent anything.

2. Wetsuit Shorts

Please don’t confuse swimsuits and bikinis with “wetsuit shorts”, they’re not the same.

Wetsuit shorts go over your swimsuit bottoms, or can be used alone, and meant to protect your lower body from water intrusion. Yes, it’s a real thing, and yes, there are tons of warning stickers all over every jet ski that tell you about how important wetsuit bottoms are.

You can buy wetsuit shorts here*, and everyone who rides on the jet ski should be wearing their own.

And yes, many jet ski rental companies will have you wear them when you go ride due to insurance purposes. So, I suggest you buy your own if you’re renting a jet ski, or at least have your own swimsuit bottoms under them.

3. Swimwear

You’ll be around water when riding a jet ski, so it’s best to have some swimwear and clothing on.

Basically, clothing you would wear to the beach.

Swim trunks, bikinis, and other swim gear you consider comfortable is what most people wear. Just make sure to have your swimsuit shorts on, and don’t have anything too loose, baggy, or even too tight.

You’ll be in a wet environment, so things will be slippery, so clothing with grip is a must. You also don’t want something too hot, and you want something that dries quickly.

Any store that sells swimming gear will work and fit most needs for jet skiing.

– Can You Wear Normal Clothes?

It’s best you don’t wear regular clothes when jet skiing.

Normal clothes hold on to water too much and are more uncomfortable. You’ll start to sweat more and create rashes on your skin with normal clothing.

A regular cotton t-shirt will be fine, but a swim shirt will be better as it dries quicker and protects from the sun too.

The last thing you want to wear is pants or regular shorts. Even leggings won’t hold up and can rip from the friction of the jet ski seat along with the heat. So yes, ladies, you want to wear the swimsuit shorts because the seats get hot.

4. Water Shoes

water shoes I use all the time on PWC

Going barefoot is the most common “shoes” for many jet ski riders, but it’s not the best.

I have a whole post on the best jet ski shoes, but here are some major points on why you should wear some type of water shoe when jet skiing.

  1. Protects your feet from splinters. Many docks and areas are wooden and splinters are horrible on the bottom of your feet.
  2. Protects your feet from rocks, there are rocks in the water, and they can be sharp along anything else stuck in the rocks like fishing hooks.
  3. Some sun covering on your feet.
  4. Better grip around the wet areas of boat ramps, docks, and wet asphalt.
  5. Everything is hot, the dock, the jet ski footwells, the walk to and from your car, the sun is baking everything and the bottom of your feet will burn if you’re not wearing something.
  6. I have cut my foot on a jet ski, it had a loose rivet that was holding the foot pads down. I’ve also done it on a broken plastic piece off the hood, yes it’s possible, and now I never ride a jet ski without water shoes.

I don’t suggest you wear flip-flops while riding a jet ski, they offer no real protection and can make things worse. You need to get a real water shoe* that hugs your feet as you’ll be jumping around in the water and the flip-flops always go flying.

I also don’t suggest you wear sneakers or tennis shoes while on a jet ski. Sneakers get water logged easily, they’re harder to use when wet, and don’t offer the grip like you get with water shoes.

5. Gloves

my riding gloves

I know riding gloves are an odd thing to have on the list, but I suggest them from personal experiences.

When you ride a jet ski, people tend to have a “death grip” on the handlebars, and this quickly leads to fatigue and blisters. Your hands will become sore after 15 minutes of riding, especially if you don’t ride a jet ski often and you’re renting one.

I have a whole post about jet ski riding gloves and which ones you should get here. It’s one of those things you don’t get until you learn the hard way.

6. Sunglasses

Since jet skis can’t be driven at night, you should have a good pair of sunglasses.

I suggest floating polarized sunglasses* as it blocks the glare from the water and will float when you drop them.

Sunglasses not only protect you from the sun and glare, but also the splashing you get from riding a jet ski. While jet skis are large these days, you will still get wet and getting water in your eye can be dangerous as it causes you to lose sight.

– Jet Ski Goggles?

Sunglasses are nice, but goggles are even better if you do a lot of hard riding.

If you have a helmet on while you jet ski, then goggles are easier to use.

Jet ski goggles* offer better protection for your eyes when it comes to water and stay on way better too.

7. Dry Bag

dry bag in water floating
Showing my dry bag in water floating

A dry bag is not something you wear on a jet ski, but it’s so vital that I had to include it.

A dry bag is used to keep all your items, clothing and gear in that you don’t want to get wet. Many jet skis have dry storage, but it’s not perfect and often not soft or as protective as a dry bag.

Things to keep in your dry bag while jet skiing:

  1. Change of clothes.
  2. Towel.
  3. Sunscreen.
  4. Your phone.
  5. Map or use your phone.
  6. Chapstick.
  7. Hat.
  8. Riding gloves.
  9. Spare cash.
  10. Registration.
  11. Boater-ed ID.

You can buy dry bags for your jet ski here*.

8. Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a must if you get burned easily in the sun.

You’ll be surrounded by water and those reflections from the sunlight burn you in all kinds of way, even in spots you never thought the sun could reach. So go crazy with the sunscreen and apply it often, especially when you get totally wet.

If you’re like me and hate sunscreen, you can get a rash guard, hat, wetsuit bottoms and water shoes to help protect you from the sun.

Rashguards are nice as it helps block some of the sun, but also help with the life jacket rubbing against your skin. They also dry really quickly and so much nicer to wear than a regular cotton shirt.

You can buy Rashguards here*.

After Riding

No matter if you’re renting or taking your own jet ski out, there are some after riding clothing you should consider.

I suggest you carry your normal clothing, the stuff you’ll wear after riding your jet ski, and keep them in your dry bag. Wearing your water clothes can be annoying, especially when getting back in your car.

Many jet ski rental places or boat launches have restrooms for you to change. I’m not going to lie, I’ve even bought a pop-up changing room* as the restrooms are always full. If any jet ski rental companies are reading this, get you some of these, as it’s so helpful and free’s up the restrooms to be actual restrooms.

Not every boat launch or jet ski rental place will have a place for you to shower or get the sand off your feet. So, I suggest a portable shower* or some way to wash off the saltwater or nasty lake water.

What Not To Wear Jet Skiing?

Since I get the question on what not to wear jet skiing, I’ve created a whole post on the subject here.

Can You Jet Ski If You Can’t Swim?

If you’re looking for what to wear and thinking about renting a jet ski, you may wonder if you can use a jet ski if you can’t swim?

There is nothing stopping you from getting a jet ski and driving it if you can’t swim. I highly suggest you know how to swim and most importantly, WEAR A LIFE JACKET!

Many jet ski rental places don’t ask if you can swim, and if they did people lie, so what’s the point. Either way, safety is important, so I suggest you know how to swim and even take a boater’s safety course before you ever touch a jet ski.

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