How to Clean a Jet Ski After Riding in Salt Water

Before you purchase a jet ski it is important to understand everything you need to do to keep the jet ski well maintained. One of the most important tasks you can do for your jet ski is clean it after using it, especially on salt water.

Saltwater may have adverse effects on the jet ski. For instance, saltwater on metal causes corrosion and rusting at a faster rate. Furthermore, saltwater conducts electricity. This is not good news for your jet ski because these electrical currents lead to electrolysis. This is just a fancy way of saying that chemical decomposition is happening to key components of your jet ski. Overall, owning a jet ski means you must do ongoing maintenance.

How to clean a jet ski after riding in salt water?

After riding in salt water, you will first want to hose down and wash the exterior of your jet ski. Next you will want to hose down the interior of the engine compartment. Lastly, you will want to flush the motor and cooling system so there is no corrosive salt left to cause damage. This process should be less than 20 minutes of work.

Essential Steps for After Riding a PWC in Salt Water

Clean the Exterior of your PWC

The first step after riding your jet ski in salt water is to hose down the exterior of the jet ski. You will want to take special care to make sure any evidence of salt water is hosed off.

Clean the Interior of your Waverunner

Next, take off any extra materials attached to your jet ski. For instance, any accessories such as seat coverings, glove boxes, other storage areas, opening the hood, etc…

Basically, anything that would allow easier access to the inside of the jet ski as much as possible. Moreover, remove any bilge plugs on your jet ski. Very few individuals remember to remove the bilge plugs, but this allows for maximum drainage of any outside components in a jet ski.

Make sure when you are chocking the wheels on a trailer the front is slightly elevated so that there is maximum drainage out the rear of the jet ski.

Hose down the jet ski from left to right and inside to outside therefore no spots of the jet ski are missed. Pay extra attention to the fuel tank, coupler and engine. These areas tend to get blocked by smaller outside components.

After you feel like you have cleaned the whole jet ski properly make sure to clean your items you removed. This way the outside components on your accessories will not affect your clean jet ski. These are just some basic tips to understand your jet ski, but each vehicle is different therefore it is important that you read your owner manual and consult with your repairman about the best way to clean your personal jet ski.

Flush your Jet Ski

The next step is to flush your jet ski. Many people may believe that flushing and washing your jet ski is the same thing, but this is not the case. With flushing, you will remove salt and other outside components from the inside of your jet ski motor, cooling systems, and pump. Many jet ski owners often recommend that you flush your jet ski even after you use it on fresh water.

To flush your jet ski, attach a hose to your fresh water intake port, some jet skis have this built in, and some you may have to purchase and install an accessory to flush such as this model for Yamaha jet skis.

Although you may not have salt in your jet ski while riding on freshwater, there can be sand, dirt, and other debris that piles up after the use of the jet ski. Unlike washing your jet ski while flushing you must make sure that the jet ski is in a level position. This allows the water to move more freely throughout the engine and cooling components.

Just like washing your jet ski it is important to remember that each jet ski is different therefore you must read the owner’s manual to have the best results while maintaining your jet ski. The owner’s manual will give you specific instructions on how to take care of any remaining water that remains in the jet ski’s water box after flushing.

Flushing your jet ski should not take more than 5-10 minutes, so make sure you do it every time you ride in saltwater.

Check for Damage and Lubricate

Moving forwards, while you are washing and flushing your jet ski it is a great time to check for any damages that might have occurred during the ride. It is important to take care of damages as soon as possible because over time damages may affect different parts of the jet ski.

Remember that salt is very corrosive, so you will want to lubricate any moving parts with grease, fogging oil, or whatever your owners manual recommends. Salt can find its way anywhere and these issues can lead to further damages therefore it is important to keep your jet ski in top shape.

If you do store your jet ski outside, make sure you put a cover on your jet ski to keep outside components away from your jet ski. In a way your jet ski is sensitive therefore make sure to keep it well maintained so that you can have maximum use of your jet ski over the years.

Jet Ski Maintenance (Preventative)

Now that you have read some of the steps to take after you ride in saltwater, there is preventative maintenance you may do to your jet ski to protect it from saltwater.

The first preventative care is to use protection. There are multiple ways to do this. It is recommended to start with your electrical connections. Use products such as a corrosion blocker, undo every conductor and coat each side with corrosion block before reconnecting the connectors.

Next, it is important to give all exposed metal a layer of protection. This leaves a thick consistency that cannot be removed easily. It is important to apply this type of protection every year or every season. Another way to measure when you should reapply protection is to look at the number of hours you used your jet ski. The rule of thumb is to reapply protection every 50 hours you use your jet ski. Overall, this depends on how much you use your personal jet ski.

Moving forward, fogging oil in the spark plug holes to lubricate the cylinders on the jet ski also prevents corrosion. This is a good method to use if you know if it is going to be a few weeks before riding your jet ski again.

Additionally, this might be useful if colder seasons are coming and you cannot use the jet ski during these seasons. The best time to fog is after flushing the cooling system in your jet ski. Fogging oil lubricates the engine internal components to prevent corrosion from condensation or other factors. You must spray fogging oil right after you have finished flushing for the best results. To determine if you have sprayed enough fogging oil make sure that there is a good amount of smoke coming from the exhaust.

Another recommendation is to keep your jet ski dry. This is an odd recommendation because jet skis are most definitely a water vehicle, but this means removing the drain plugs and let it breathe.

Always remember to always screw in the drain plugs before launching the jet ski in the water again. Overall, the engine is a very important part of the jet ski and very sensitive to water therefore it is important to keep it dry.

It is not recommended that you keep your jet ski in saltwater because this can cause damage, but if you plan on keeping your jet ski on the water many individuals recommend using a lift or floating jet ski dock.


One of the best takeaways you can have as a potential jet ski owner is to understand your jet ski to the fullest degree before buying it. Buyers need to remember that each jet ski has different mechanisms that may be playing a part in the maintenance and the service of your jet ski. Remember to constantly refer to the owner’s manual because not everything on the internet may be good for your specific jet ski. Additionally, consulting with your repairman or seller might be a good reference for any questions you might have.

Happy Riding!