I Call Them Jet Skis & Not PWC, Waverunner, Watercraft

There are 3 major watercraft manufacturers on the market, and each one has it’s “own name”.

  • Sea-Doo = PWC or Watercraft
  • Yamaha = Waverunner
  • Kawasaki = Jet Ski

Jet ski is a registered trademark owned by Kawasaki.

In the past, you had Honda, Polaris, Tiger Shark and more, but they never fully had their own name like the 3 current models beyond the “generic” watercraft. Even then, people called them jet skis.

And thus, my main reason for mostly using “jet ski” to describe all models, no matter the manufacturer.

I use what most people understand.

Proprietary Eponyms

There is a name for when a brand name becomes the most common name used to describe a product, and it’s called proprietary eponyms.

It’s the same reason people call tissues, Kleenex or how hot tubs are called Jacuzzi.

What is most interesting to me is how jet skis have so many variations, when doing research it’s often one other name, and not two or three versions like we have with jet skis. You don’t see people having a third name for tissues/Kleenex, but a jet ski can be a PWC, watercraft, waverunner and the latest fun one, “boatercycle”.

It gets even more interesting to me when I see people call a jet ski a Sea-Doo, even though it’s a Yamaha or Kawasaki. The best ones are the people who ask me why do Sea-Doo’s shoot water in the air, and I first have to explain that it’s a Yamaha and not a Sea-Doo.

What I discover when I point this out is that people don’t care. It’s a Sea-Doo or a jet ski or whatever they know to call it. And since most people use “jet ski”, that is what I mostly use.

I’m Not The Only One

I’m not the only one to call all Sea-Doo, Yamaha or Kawasaki as a jet ski, it’s also in the media we consume.

My favorite example is the Loki TV show, where Mobius was once a jet ski salesman. He would often mention jet skis and had dreams of driving them. Then in one episode, you see him selling jet skis, or better yet, Sea-Doo’s.

The best part is Mobius trying to explain the correct use of jet ski and how it’s a brand name, then cut short by the other guy who says, “I don’t care“.

That sums it up perfectly.

Though, it was funny he uses the word “Kleenex” to explain it, as I used that exact example in explaining this in a shorter version of my post about jet ski terms. It would be so cool if the writers of Loki read my article, I did enjoy and burst out laughing when I heard him say the line. Or the show got numerous emails complaining about the misuse of the word “jet ski” and this was their nod telling people to calm down?

And we can’t forget the famous Tiger King Jet Ski scene as everyone calls it?

I simply can’t compete or change people’s mind when such masterful content exists, so I’ll keep calling them jet skis.



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.

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