What Should I Consider When Buying a Jet Ski?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Considerations before buying a jet ski should include storage capability, experience at operating it, needs the vehicle will fill, and personal safety. A person new to using one might want to consider renting or trying out several models before making a purchase. If a person finds that he or she actually doesn’t care for jet skiing, purchasing one does not seem very sensible.

Size is one of the imporant considerations when buying a jet ski.
Size is one of the imporant considerations when buying a jet ski.

Safety considerations in buying a jet ski are of the first import. For example, most modern vehicles have a lanyard. The lanyard turns the jet ski off automatically if the driver falls off or overturns. A very old models may not have a lanyard, so consumers should make sure that a used jet ski has one prior to purchasing.

Size of the jet ski is also important. There are those that accommodate one person, two people or four people. The four-person model is a relatively new and quite popular model, so this may be hard to obtain used.

The one-person model has two basic types: the solo craft or sport craft. The solo craft is a standing jet ski. It usually takes a little longer to learn how to master control of this type. The sport craft, alternately, offers a seat, which can provide greater stability for the person new to driving the vehicle. A sport craft may be slightly unstable, and more likely to turn over on people who are heavy or when it is being operated at slow speeds. However, in general, this model is better for the beginner.

The two-person model offers dual seating, but tends to be a little slower. This often depends upon the size of the engine. In general, however, the model can be great fun. The four-seaters are very stable and somewhat slower, but many enjoy this model when they wish to jet ski as a family and don’t want to purchase several.

Before purchasing any jet ski, consumers should consider their ability to store and to tow it. Generally, the watercraft is best stored in an indoor environment, such as a shed or garage. Owners may need ample power or a towing package to tow it to lakes or the coast. A jet ski that can’t be moved isn’t going to provide a lot of fun.

Owners can and should insure a jet ski prior to use. Insurance may include insuring the craft and insuring the riders against personal injury. Insuring the craft is easier than insuring for injury, as the jet ski is associated with accidents. If the owner cannot obtain personal injury insurance, he or she should check with his or her health insurance plan to be certain that an injury on it is covered by insurance. Some plans do not cover accidents during certain activities like bungee jumping, parachuting and the like.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


Jet Ski is actually a licensed name for Kawasaki. The powersports group you are speaking to is called "personal watercraft".


When you are considering buying a jet ski remember that you need to make sure you get the accessories as well.

You should make sure you pick up enough life vests for all of your passengers and that you have the proper trailer to transport your jet ski from your home to the water.

You should also make sure to budget for regular maintenance. You don't want your jet ski stranding you far offshore just because you didn't have its oil filter changed regularly.

Also make sure you know what fuel your jet ski needs and how often it needs its tank cleaned.


If you a re considering buying a jet ski, getting a used one can be a really good option.

New jet skis that are good quality can run you from $6,000US to $15,000 a pop. Pretty much this is about the cost of a new car at the top end of the price range.

Used jet skis can be found in the classifieds and through online listings. You even post your own looking to buy ad to speed up your transaction.

When thinking about buying a used jet ski make sure you get a mechanic to look over the watercraft and get an estimate of how many hours it has been used.

While you won't get a warranty with a used jet ski, you should still insure it. Even if you're saving 50% or more on the cost, it is a good idea to protect your investment.


I would definitely consider a Sea-Doo when looking around for a jet ski. The Sea-Doo is newly equipped with a braking system, the first of its kind. It is called Intelligent Brake and Reverse.

This is great in the event you need to make a sudden stop in the water. Suppose you see someone in the water but it’s too late to do anything about it. With the new Sea-Doo, you can immediately stop. With the older jet skis, you have to coast to a stop. If you are going 40 mph, you are traveling around 58 feet a second. The brake would allow you to stop immediately.

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