Can You Keep A Jet Ski In The Water for Long Periods of Time?

Sometimes when you are using your jet ski, whether it be at the lake or the ocean, it just seems more natural to leave the whole craft floating in the water and attached to the dock with a rope. Maybe you have a lake house and want to leave the watercraft in the lake all summer. However, this is not the best practice for storing a jet ski. There are several solutions for storing a jet ski safely in a way that will not damage or foul its components, but leaving it in the water for an extended period is typically not one of them. This article will give you solutions on how to store your jet ski without leaving it in the water tied to the dock or a buoy. 

Can you keep a jet ski in the water? Yes, you can leave your jet ski in the water, but best practices says not to. Jet skis have impellers that can get a floating stick stuck in them and do some damage. Jet Skis can also take on water from large waves and have been known to sink even when tied to a dock. Also leaving your jet ski in salt water is a huge no due to the corrosive nature. It is best to store your jet ski on a lift or trailer out of the water for extended periods of time.

Why Can’t You Keep A Jet Ski In The Water?

The jet ski that is kept in the water will probably corrode quickly especially if in salt water. Also, vital parts are left exposed for long periods. Even though you can leave your jet ski in the water for long periods, it is not recommended. Even in the owner’s manual of your jet ski, the manufacturer will state that it is not recommended to keep your jet ski submerged in the water longer than you have to.

Fragile Jet Pump Components Can Become Damaged

If you are leaving your jet ski in the water for several days as storage, this is probably the limit. Otherwise, fragile components of the jet pump can become damaged by corrosion or even scum build-up. The parts of the engine that pump water up and out of the nozzle at the back of the jet ski are what propels the jet ski forward. This pump intake valve can become corroded or even fouled and damage the engine if the jet ski is left for too long in the water while parked. You also may want to consider worrying about scum clogging up the cooling component of the engine. If this happens, the jet ski can become overheated and damage or even ruin the engine. 

Wildlife By The Water

Something that people forget is that the wildlife at the beach or the lake can damage your jet ski. At some waterways, there are muskrats or even raccoons that will damage PWC components if the watercraft is left out. This may sound far fetched, but just check out this article about a boat sunk by muskrats. The threat is real and is not worth leaving your jet ski in the water for long periods to find out. 

Weather Damage

If you leave your jet ski in the water and exposed, it is at the mercy of the elements. If a storm comes up before you can adequately store your jet ski, it can get thrashed about and damaged. If there is a storm coming, it is best to keep your watercraft held away from the dock with an anchor or body.

Waves can also overtake your jet ski and cause it to sink. I have seen this happen on many occasions. It is better to keep you jet ski out of the water if bad weather is on the way. 

Saltwater vs. Freshwater Damage To Your Jet Ski

The main difference between saltwater and freshwater for storing your jet ski is that you have less time before saltwater will begin to destroy the components of the jet ski. It is not recommended to leave your jet ski stored in the water for even a few days in saltwater. Freshwater takes longer to destroy the components of the jet ski. However, it can still cause significant damage if left floating in the water for too long. Also, saltwater barnacles can tend to grow, which can weigh your craft down, make you slower, and even sink your jet ski.

On my Honda, the owners manual recommends not to store the craft floating in the water as it will damage the coating on the underside of the hull. There are several cases where consumers have complained that their hull was damaged due to this.

How To Use A Jet Ski Floating Lift?

A jet ski lift is an excellent option for storing your jet ski craft right at the dock without leaving it floating in the water. If your ship is submerged in water, it can be damaged. However, having it tied up to the dock is very convenient if you are a consistent jet ski rider all summer season. A jet ski lift is a floating platform that can be secured to the dock and is composed of floating plastic or rubber. There is a dip in the middle of the platform, which makes it possible to safely and quickly drive or pull your jetski up onto the dry lift. This is an excellent option for accessibility of the jet ski and protection of the fragile components which could become damaged or destroyed if left floating and submerged in the water. 


There is a big difference between leaving a jet ski in saltwater versus freshwater. However, leaving your jet ski submerged in water for long periods is not recommended for any condition. Damage from natural factors, corrosion, or even scum and barnacle build-up can slow you down on the jet ski and also ruin your engine or jet pump. Luckily, there are solutions to keep your jet ski close by at the water’s edge while protecting from the damage that can be caused by leaving it floating in the water. A jet ski lift is an excellent option for attaching to the dock, which allows for easy access and safe storage of your jet ski.