Jet Skis are vehicles that can be used as recreational vehicles while on vacation, at your lake house, or can easily be towed to any body of water. They are used in rescue situations by lifeguards, and also for fishing trips by others. Ever since Clayton Jacobson II invented the first commercial jet ski with Kawasaki men and women have enjoyed these personal watercraft on rivers, lakes, and oceans.
If you are interested in purchasing a jet ski or already have access to one you may be interested in what accessories and equipment you could or should purchase. Here is the ultimate jet ski equipment guide.
The equipment guide for jet skis
Now you have your jet ski it is time to find all the wonderful accessories you want to enjoy your new toy as much as possible.
Jet skis can be used for different purposes so it should come as no surprise that there are accessories for all sorts of purposes and activities. Here are some of the most necessary, useful, and fun items you can purchase for your PWC.
Before looking at the more fun stuff you need to make sure you are safe. Jet skis are great fun but they can be lethal if not used correctly. Here are some items you should get to increase your water safety.
A whistle attached to your life jacket is a must and a small but important purchase.
You can use an anchor when you are in an emergency to hold your position. There is also a lot more non emergency use cases for an anchor.
The gas tank of a PWC is full of combustible fuel so having a fire extinguisher might save your jet ski and yourself. This is also required in some states.
Purchase a USCG-approved life jacket and make sure your passengers wear one too. There is nothing cool about finding yourself alone in the water with no life jacket.
Jet ski safety lanyard
This is one item that is required by law. The best way to use it is to attach it to your life jacket. If you happen to fall into the water the lanyard will shut down the engine.
Other safety equipment you should purchase includes:
- Bungee dock lines
- First-Aid kit
- Ladder or reboarding step
PWC rescue board
A rescue board can be used in emergency situations, but it also has versatility for other use cases.
Putting this group of equipment together will mean you will have a much safer time on the water and will be prepared in the event of an accident or emergency.
Jet skis aren’t just good for dashing about in the sun. They are vehicles in their own right and can be used to travel to a destination. In this case a camping spot.
You can attach pontoons to jet skis which would allow the transportation of more accessories or you can try camping without a tent which is known as bivouacking. Whatever way you decide to camp you will want to take some things with you.
Part of the fun of camping is cooking and drinking around a campfire so you will need a cooler. Store ice, drinks, and food here for your overnight trip. You’ll also find cooler holder attachments available. These can be really usefull pieces of equipment as the enable users give a Jet Ski significantly more carrying capacity.
Many jet ski models have built-in speakers but you might want to invest in some waterproof models you can take with you off the Jet Ski. Good models will last twenty hours and feature wireless connections so they are ideal for the trip out there and use while you are at the site.
You don’t want to get lost on your trip, do you? A GPS is a must for traveling over any reasonable distance and will ensure you get to your destination without fuss.
Rack or rig
Attaching a rack to your jet ski will allow you to transport a cooler easily and also opens you up to the option of taking fishing rods too.
Another use for jet skis is fishing. This is becoming a popular way to fish as jet skis can reach areas that boats and even kayaks cannot. They maneuver extremely well and can cover distances very fast. When you are planning a fishing trip for fun then you can combine your jet ski and some equipment here for a great time.
Assuming you already have a rig from your previous camping trip this area can mostly be ignored but if you don’t have one then look at the various options available and choose the right one for you. Here is some other equipment you might want to take.
These devices are great for finding and mapping the best fishing spots. You can use them to spot schools of small fish and larger fish hiding below these. They will map out the terrain below and you can see areas that might suit the fish you are looking for.
Solar panel charger
You will be out on the water a while if you are fishing so a solar panel charger can come in handy for recharging any devices including cameras to capture that moment so no one thinks you are exaggerating about how big your catch was.
Self-leveling drink holder
Again, you will be out there a while so having a place to keep your drink steady is very useful.
General recreation use
Of course, some people will never use their PWCs for anything more than just fun but there is still plenty of equipment for jet skis that should be considered.
Dry bag or dry box
These bags can be used for any purpose when on a jet ski but they are a really useful addition to your equipment. You can put anything you want to keep dry in here safe in the knowledge that water won’t seep in. Think about your phone, wallet, keys and other electronics.
Goggles or sunglasses
Polarized goggles will not only protect you from the sun but they will keep the saltwater out of your eyes too.
Tow seat or jet ski tube
A tow seat or tow tube is a great way to have more fun on the water and can give your passengers young or old an enjoyable time being taxied around.
Docking your jet ski
There are a few items you might want to consider for docking your PWC.
Rope & Dock Lines
In order to tie up your jet ski, you should make sure you have rope, and potentially some bumpers.
Jet ski lift
These are useful for lifting your PWC around when out of the water. There are various products available for this from floating docks, to dock attachments, to sling lifts to other lifts.
You will pick up the odd knock and scratch on the fiberglass body of your PWC. One way to reduce this is to use a PWC fender when docked to stop the jet ski bumping into the dock or other boats.
Jet ski cover
These covers should always be used to help protect your PWC from the elements. Remember you may only use your jet ski 30 hours a year so you want it protected during the down season and in between uses. This can increase the longevity of your vehicle and keep it looking new.
Purchasing a Jet Ski
Before you can consider all the wonderful gadgets, toys, and accessories you want to add to your personal watercraft you will need to buy one, assuming you don’t own one already.
A new jet ski can cost between $5,000 and $20,000 and is the biggest expense you will make when taking up this new hobby. You should consider that you will also need to buy insurance, fuel, and have some maintenance costs for your new PWC. So be sure to budget for this.
Should you buy a secondhand jet ski?
As with anything, there is no reason why you shouldn’t look for a cheaper option and a secondhand PWC might be a good bet. There are some things to consider with second-hand jet skis though.
- Check the hours
- Look for damage
- Check if it is 2-stroke or 4-stroke
- Test drive it
Checking the hours logged
There is a theory that jet skis only last for 300 hours but this isn’t a fact. Many jet skis that are rented out exceed these hours very quickly.
The average owner will take a jet ski out for around 30 hours a year so if you see an older PWC with 300 hours on and it is in good condition then the likelihood is that it has been looked after very well. A jet ski that isn’t serviced and looked after might have significant issues after much less use. While hours logged is important, if you have a history of maintenance, that will tell you a lot.
Check for damages
If you wanted a used car you would check for damage. Do the same with a PWC. This means checking for rust, signs it has sunk at some point, and damage to the underside. Scratches and small marks to the fiberglass are inevitable but major damage to the bottom is a no-no.
You can see if a jet ski has been sunk by lifting out the seats. The foam in jet skis will retain water for a very long time so if the seats are very heavy then the chances are the jet ski has been sunk at some point.
2-stroke engines are bad for the environment and as they get phased out the parts for them will become harder to find. Look for a 4-stroke model.
Test drive it
Again, you wouldn’t buy a car without giving it a test run and with a PWC the proof of the pudding is getting it in the water. You want to see that it runs well at full throttle. When deciding how much you should pay for a secondhand PWC you can use resources such as Kelley Blue Book.
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about