General things to consider when buying a jet ski:
- Size. Jet skis are generally designed to carry between one and four people, or even tow an object behind such as an inflatable tube. So, before you buy, you need to consider what size of craft is best going to suit your needs.
- Safety. For your own safety — especially if you intend to buy a second-hand jet ski — make sure the craft has a lanyard, which will turn the ignition off should you fall off during use. All modern jet skis should have a lanyard as standard.
- Specification. Craft are classified according to their engine sizes. Larger engines produce more horsepower and more speed, although the hull design also influences performance, so you will need to check this out too. Short, narrow machines are more maneuverable but are difficult to handle for beginners, whereas wider, longer designs are more stable and carry more people, but have reduced maneuverability.
Types of jet ski craft you can buy:
- Solo craft. These types of jet skis are also known as ‘stand-ups’ because they have no seats and you must stand while riding them. A solo craft can be hard to master and requires some athletic ability to control. Solo machines are the sort that are often used for performing freestyle tricks.
- Sport craft. These carry one rider, but are different to a solo craft because they have a seat. They’re easier to master, but can still be relatively unstable, and are more difficult to control for heavier riders. Sport craft have small dimensions, which make them good at cornering aggressively.
- Two-seaters. Easy to use, two-seaters are great fun to ride with another person. They are less nippy than single seaters, but the longer seat and hull on a two-seater leads to increased stability — although the opposite can be true at slow speeds.
- Three or four-seaters. These very stable, versatile craft are great for families and are becoming increasingly popular — particularly as they still perform well with a solo rider on board. Three or four-seater jet skis can also be used for towing.
Other considerations before you buy a jet ski:
- Storage. When deciding on your choice of craft, you also need to consider where you are going to store it. A large four-seater is going to take up a lot of space — so if you don’t have room, you might have to go for a smaller model that is easier to store.
- Trailer. What good is your jet ski if you don’t have a means of transporting it? You’ll need to think about where you are going to launch your craft and what the best trailer for that is. You might even have to consider getting a new car if your vehicle doesn’t have a good towing capacity!
- Insurance. Getting insurance is a must before you start jet skiing. In the past, dealers where you bought your craft could arrange it for you — but depending on your location, tight regulations may mean that very few still do. So, it pays to shop around!
We hope our buying guide proved useful, so get out there on your new jet ski and churn up some water!