A jet ski is a small jet-propelled vehicle that skims across the surface of the water and is typically ridden like a motorcycle. A rider can stand or sit on these personal watercraft. Prices vary depending on the function and capability of these fun boats that can seat 1-3. There are freestyle PWC for fun and tricks, racing boats and luxury models. There are also boats that fit in between those categories.
Unlike traditional motorboats powered by outboard or inboard motors with exposed propellers, PWCs use an internally mounted internal impeller. With its unique corkscrew style, a jet ski impeller generates forward thrust. It draws a large water volume into a propulsion channel and then forces the water out through a size restricted cone-shaped jet nozzle. This setup allows the watercraft to work in shallow water and reduces the risk of injury to the rider as there are no moving external parts.
Like most watersports, jet skiing is intuitive and is different for each person. Naturally, some people will find it difficult, and others will find it easy, but for the most part, it’s pretty straightforward.
Firstly find a comfortable sitting position, then place both hands on the handlebars and firmly place your feet on the footrests. Next, ensure the key is connected to the kill cord lanyard and attach this to your wrist. Turn the jet ski ignition switch and slowly start to push the throttle. Maintain a slow speed of about 5 to 8 miles per hour until you are clear of the shoreline and all obstacles.
You can change directions by leaning towards the direction you want to turn and maneuvering the handlebar to face that direction. You’ll need to keep accelerating to turn, so keep centered and balanced on the jet ski when maneuvering.
If you are faced with a wake or large waves, try to cross them at a 90° angle for maximum stability and so you aren’t pushed off the jet ski. It’s easier than you think to lose control of the PWC, so try going slowly until you get the hang of it and ensure you take the necessary safety precautions.
If it’s your first time on a PWC, you will probably fall off at some point. All jet skis require a kill switch that attaches to the driver and “kills” the engine when pulled out.
Don’t worry if you fall off. As long as you aren’t going 50 miles per hour, you should hit the water relatively softly, and assuming you’re wearing a personal flotation device you should be fine.
If your jet ski is capsized, you can turn your Waverunner or Sea Doo right-side-up again and climb up from the back platform. You shouldn’t re-board from the side because your watercraft could flip over. Hold onto the handles on the back of the seat and pull yourself up onto the seat and reattach the kill cord.
The type of PWC you need will depend on the features and specifications you want the jet ski to have. Various models are available, ranging from recreational to performance, each with advantages and disadvantages for riders.
Rec-light PWCs are the most affordable type of jet ski on the market. With a top speed of around 40-50 miles per hour, these models have a 50 to 100 horsepower engine and are used for leisure. For this reason, they are small and lightweight, with a capacity of two adults. These jet skis aren’t suitable for waves or bad weather as their lightweight and small hull makes it difficult to ride them in rough conditions.
Luxury models will have more comfortable seating and sometimes larger audio-visual modules. They have powerful engines that can typically pull tubers, skiers and wakeboarders. Luxury jet skis are built to be big, with more storage and fuel capacity than other models.
They are designed to offer the highest comfort level on a more stable platform while providing an enjoyable ride in almost any condition. Luxury PWCs include all the premium features, so you won’t have to worry about missing out on anything.
Touchscreen displays, security systems and even eco-friendly performance modes are all standard features in luxury jet skis.
Jet ski engines tend to have between 60-310 horsepower depending on make and model. Naturally aspirated engines in stock jet skis typically produce 60-180 horsepower, while supercharged models can provide 250-310 horsepower.
Naturally aspirated engines use atmospheric pressure in the intake to push the combustion process of the motor. They deliver steady power, whereas turbo charged engines use force induction and can lag–even though they give more power.
If you’re just starting out or renting, you might want to consider a jet ski that offers lower horsepower to minimize the learning curve.
Depending on your ability and skill, you will want a different level of handling from your jet ski. If you want to ride a smooth and nimble jet ski, having an ergonomic steering system on your ski will help you react faster and make more precise turns.
An important factor in deciding what jet ski is right for you has to do with the number of passengers. Most jet skis are made so that two adults can ride with comfort, however, there is the option in many models of having up to three passenger capacity, including the driver.
These larger PWCs are often also great for pulling a waterskier or wakeboarder, equipped some of them are with a ski pylon mount.
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