Jet ski covers are used to prevent the sun and other elements from damaging the personal watercraft's decals, paint and vinyl due to overexposure. Typically manufactured from Naugahyde™, nylon or another type of water-repellent material, jet ski covers also protect the watercraft from rainwater and other potentially damaging substances such as bird droppings, blowing debris, sand and leaves. Commonly custom-fitted to a particular type of watercraft, jet ski covers are manufactured and sold by the makers of the jet ski and from aftermarket companies as well. Many aftermarket manufacturers produce covers in a plethora of colors, designs and custom graphic packages.
The jet ski type of personal watercraft is designed to survive in the water and sunshine, however, repeated and prolonged exposure to the harsh environmental conditions found on and near a large body of water can take their toll on the machine's finish. By placing jet ski covers over the vessels when not in use, the paint and decals can retain the vibrant coloring originally used in the manufacturing process. The tight-fitting covers also eliminate much of the rain and moisture that can find its way into air intake openings, potentially damaging air breather filters, fuel injection units and carburetors.
The constant exposure to sunlight and heat can cause the foam used in watercraft seats to disintegrate and become hard and brittle. Placing jet ski covers over parked watercraft helps allow the seats to retain their original pliable condition for years. The colors used to dye the seating materials are also protected from the dulling ultraviolet effects of the sun while stored under jet ski covers. There is also the primary benefit that drives many consumers to purchase a cover in the first place, keeping the vessel clean and free of falling leaves, dust and similar contaminants.
Some of the less-expensive jet ski covers are intended solely for use on a parked watercraft. These covers are typically equipped with hook-and-loop fasteners and are manufactured from lightweight materials. There is, however, a higher-priced option that offers protection against stone pecks and other road debris damage while towing the jet ski. Commonly manufactured from a thicker and often lined material fitted with tie-down loops and steel grommet anchoring points, these jet ski covers are made for travel. The heavier travel cover will protect the watercraft from damage while it is being transported by trailer to a riding location and will not be easily blown off of the machine like the lighter-weight jet ski covers.