Here are the Hidden Costs to Own a Jet Ski


When you purchase a jet ski it can be one of the funnest days of your life, but there are additional costs that will come with ownership. Some you may have been aware of such as gas and insurance, and some you may have not been aware of such as a 10 hour break in maintenance or winter storage. We will take you through all of the costs to own your favorite watercraft.

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How much does a jet ski cost to own? A jet ski typically costs about $500+ annually to own. This includes insurance, basic maintenance, and some gas. Depending on how much you ride, or if you financed your jet ski, this number can increase significantly to $1,500+.

Initial Upfront Costs

Purchase Price

Brand new waverunners today will cost between $8,000 and almost $20,000. If you buy one of the more expensive waverunners, need a trailer, and have a state sales tax, you will be over $20,000 for sure.

The average price for a new mid value waverunner is about $12-14k. If you were to buy used, you can find an older waverunner for as low as $1,000 and a decent newer model used one for $12,000. $8,000 will buy you a great waverunner that is a few years old with low hours. This wont be the newest muscle craft, but will be good enough to pull your arms off through the water, and still produce more HP than a Honda Civic.

Trailer

If you have a waverunners, you will probably need a trailer unless you plan on never removing it from the water. A single trailer will cost about $800 and a double trailer will cost about $1,600. There are 4 place trailers you can buy, but most people wont need one. If you have a stand up jet ski, you can get buy with a truck bed or a hitch hauler.

Accessories

If you have never had a PWC there will be some additional accessories you will need to buy such as a life vest, fire extinguisher, ropes, bumpers, etc. To learn more about accessories, find the top 50 accessories you could ever want for a jet ski.

Running Costs

Insurance

Even though your state may not require you to have insurance, it is a very smart idea and I don’t recommend anyone ride a jet ski without it. The cost is very minimal, in our case we pay about $250 per year for both a newer stand up and sit down. This includes full coverage, on the water towing, accessory theft, and 100 deductible. We could probably save some cash by having a higher deductible, but for such a low price per year, why change it.

The cost of insurance will depend on the age of the operator, age of the ski, model of the ski, how much horsepower, any safety features, driving record, level of coverage, deductible, and other variables.

Storage

If you are not able to store your watercraft at home, or want to get it out of the house in the winter, expect to pay about $20 per foot of length for a winter period or about $280 from October to May.

The price to store offsite is not too bad, but if you do have some room in your garage, consider storing it there for free. If your trailer is too big for your garage, look into a rolling cart for your ski and you can save some width and length off the size of your trailer and still fit vehicles in your garage.

Fuel

The fuel running cost depends on how often you ride and how you ride. If you are heavy on the throttle, expect to get a few hours. On our sit down, while cruising, we can go a whole day on a tank. On the stand up, while riding hard, we get a few hours. Trust me, if you go through a full tank in a session, you will be tired. If we are staying out at the lake and ride every day, a tank may last us a week of a few rides here and there every day.

Gas on the water typically is more expensive, so if you can, get your fuel from a normal gas station. Gas at the local marina by our house typically is $1.25 per gallon more than if you were to get it in a car. This surcharge is there to deliver to the remote marina and provide piping and safety features so there is no gas spillage in the lake.

Maintenance Costs

Oil Change

Newer jet skis will require oil changes every 50 or 100 hours or every season whichever is lesser. On our model, our Honda holds 4.5 quarts. An oil change kit is about $60.00 with filter. If you have a 2 stroke ski, you will not need to replace the oil, but mix it with gas every tank. Depending on the oil you purchase, will dictate the cost. We use Yamalube for our Superjet and go through a gallon in about 2 summers.

Air filter

The air filter for waverunners usually cost about $30.00 and it gets replaced every other year. We use the factory Honda filter like this one here.

Battery

Our original battery died after 10 years, so we just purchased an identical replacement. Usually PWC batteries only last 3 years. We purchased this model for both our sit down and stand up. Having a quality battery will pay tenfold by not being stranded dead in the water.

Spark Plugs

Spark plugs will need to be replaced about every 100 hours and in our case less as they were causing a bad idle. 4 plugs will set you back about $50.00. If you have a 2 stroke, they will be cheaper.

Fuel Stabilizer

Stabilizer should be added to the gas tank every fill up. A bottle will last a good year as they expire a certain time after you open. Depending on the brand, the cost for a bottle is very inexpensive for the work it saves you from cleaning the carburetors.

Misc

There will be other items such as lubrication, wax, wires, etc that comes up as you notice your jet ski not running as well, or depending on your motor or what accessories you have.

Service Costs

All brands such as Yamaha, Sea-Doo, and Kawasaki will all have a required service interval just like an automobile. These will have a break in period with a first service which is usually an oil change, tightening bolts, and maybe some other items, but every 50 or 100 hours they will require a dealer to perform suggested maintenance if you would like to keep your ski running top notch. Every brand will have different requirements, so check with the upkeep prior to purchasing.

Winterize

If you are located in an area with freezing temperatures, you will need to winterize your ski before you store it for winter. Winterization will cost you either antifreeze and some fogging oil, or a cost for a dealer to complete the service for you. Our local dealer charges $189 to complete a winterization service for our Honda. Thus the reason I do it myself, as it can be done typically in an hour or so.

Repair

Any repairs to jet skis are not usually cheap. If a supercharger goes out or something with the computer, this can be hours of troubleshooting and repair with expensive parts. 2 stroke skis are a lot less to repair, but don’t have computers to tell you what is wrong, so may cost more in diagnosis time.

Repairs are tough to give you an example of price as they could be very cheap to a few thousand depending on the severity.

Mooring

If you choose to keep your ski at a resort for the summer, be prepared to pay $500 to $1000 for a jet ski port. Just the convenience can be worth the cost. If you want to get a floating dock or lift, be prepared to spend $800-2,000 per jet ski depending on which model you choose.

Conclusion

As you have figured out in this article, jet skis have lots of hidden costs. If you are mooring your ski and store in the winter as well as pay for services expect your ownership costs to be at minimum $1000 per year and up. If you can store yourself and prepare your ski for winter, expect these ownership costs to be gas, insurance, and some minimal maintenance. As a good idea, you may want to budget $50-100 per month to pay for your waverunner.

Eric

I have been an avid boater / jet ski fanatic since I was a kid.

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