How to Drain Gas from Your Jet Ski’s Fuel Tank in 6 Steps

A Jet ski is by far one of the most enjoyable recreational vehicles one can purchase. Not only do these personal watercraft offer a smooth and easy way to navigate lakes, bays, and larger rivers, but jet skies also offer an unmatched form of recreation and adventure. These qualities and others quickly skyrocketed the popularity of jet skies across the United States. However, a large majority of jet ski owners may not quite be familiar with several standard maintenance routines that are necessary to ensure the continued use and well being of their jet ski.

How to drain gas from your jet ski?

To drain the gas from your jet skis fuel tank, you will need a siphon pump as well as a spare gas container. Place the gas can under the jet ski, insert the siphon hose into the fuel tank and the other end into your gas can. Next start pumping to pump the fuel out of your jet ski into the gas can.

One of the more common and routine practices associated with owning a jet ski is draining fuel from the jet ski’s fuel tank. This practice is normally conducted if the fuel has gone bad after sitting during the winter, if water has gotten in the fuel, or when performing additional maintenance on the jet ski, before storing the jet ski in between uses, or while winterizing the jet ski for seasonal storage.

Therefore, if you own a jet ski learning how to remove fuel from the vehicle’s fuel tank is an important step in either properly storing your jet ski or learning how to perform a variety of other maintenance procedures.

Below is the proper equipment needed and the particular process associated with removing fuel from your jet ski are explored and explained.

Equipment Needed to Remove Fuel From Your Jet Ski

Removing fuel from your jet ski will require you to purchase and utilize some specialized equipment. The most important piece of equipment you will need to obtain is a manual siphon pump or electric siphon pump. This siphon pump will allow you to start siphoning the gas from the fuel tank and then utilize gravity to easily remove the remaining fuel.

During the process, you will also need to have an empty gas canister and the hoses and hose attachments needed to use the siphon pump. These hoses and hose attachments should come along with any standard manual or electric siphon pump. However, if you have an old pump laying around without hoses, you can purchase these and the attachments from a variety of online and local retailers.

The empty fuel canister will be utilized to catch the fuel you are removing from your jet ski. It is important to make sure it is large enough to hold the volume of fuel contained within your watercraft. Depending on your watercraft, you may need more than one canister.

In addition to these pieces of specialized equipment, you will also want to have safety equipment and protective clothing on hand during the process. Personal protective equipment you will need for the process includes a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, and safety glasses. Trust me, gas in the eye is not fun! These pieces of equipment will not only ensure your safety but prevent this routine maintenance procedure from transitioning into a trip to your local emergency room.

Removing Fuel From Your Jet Ski Step by Step

The easiest way to utilize your siphon pump to remove the fuel from your jet ski is described in the graph below. Following the graph, each step is discussed in further detail.

Step 1Wear protective equipment, gather materials5 minutes
Step 2Turn off jet ski, allow fuel to cool20 minutes*
Step 3Set up siphon pump5 minutes
Step 4Insert intake hose into tank1 minute
Step 5Position gas canister1 minute
Step 6Insert discharge hose1 minute
Step 7Pump siphon pump5+ minutes

Step 1: Put on Protective Equipment and Gather Materials (5 Minutes)

The first step of the siphoning process is to properly adorn your protective equipment and gather materials, such as the siphon pump, gas canister, and hoses you will need to complete the process. This step largely serves as the organization step of the process, and also will be greatly important (along with the next step) to ensure your safety.

Wearing personal protective equipment such as a long sleeve shirt, safety glasses, and gloves will prevent the fuel in your jet ski from ending up on your skin or in your eyes in the event that the siphon pump does not work properly or sprays back at you. However, if you follow the remaining steps and use equipment that functions properly your risk of injury will be quite low during the process.

Step 2: Turn Off Jet Ski and Allow Fuel to Cool (20 Minutes*)

After putting on your safety equipment and gathering your materials, the next step is to turn off your ski if it is not already off and allow the jet ski to cool. This process is important to ensure that the fuel within the jet ski is not hot while you siphon it with the pump. Siphoning hot fuel could result in damage to the siphon pump or worse, injury to yourself.

Ultimately, this step in the process could take anywhere from no time at all, if your jet ski has been off for several minutes, or up to 30 minutes if the jet ski was on right before you started the siphoning process. However, even if this step does take you a few minutes you can go ahead and start step three while the fuel in your jet ski is cooling.

Step 3: Set Up Your Siphon Pump (5 Minutes)

Setting up your siphon pump will be easily completed after doing it properly a few times. However, at first, it is understandable if attaching the hose adapters and hoses is not the easiest. During this step of the process, you will want to attach a hose adapter and a hose to each of the two sides of the siphon pump. One side will house your intake hose (this hose is normally located near the actual hand pump) and the other side will house your discharge hose.

During step three of the siphoning process, you should also inspect your siphon pump and hoses for damage. Any hole or crack in either hose will result in a large portion of your fuel being spilled onto the ground or floor in which you are working. 

Step 4, 5, 6: Insert Hoses and Position Gas Canister (3-5 Minutes)

After you have set up your siphon pump, you will want to locate your intake hose and place it in the fuel tank of your jet ski. This hose should be positioned near the bottom of the fuel tank so that the entire volume of fuel is removed from the tank. During this step you should also position your gas canister and insert the discharge hose into the canister.

It is important that you position your gas canister so that it is located below the fuel tank of your jet ski. This positioning will allow gravity to pull the fuel into the canister and assist you out during the siphoning process.

Step 7: Use The Pump and Allow Fuel to Flow Into Gas Canister (5 Minutes)

The final step of the siphoning process involves actually using the siphon pump and starting the flow of fuel from the fuel tank to your gas canister. When using the siphon pump you will want to hold the actual pump with one hand and use the other to pull out the pump handle. Then with the hand holding the pump handle, you will want to slowly pump the handle. You should have to only pump three or four times before the gas starts to flow.

After the gas starts to flow, gravity should assist you and pull the remaining volume of fuel from the jet ski into the gas canister. At this point you should no longer have to pump to keep the flow going. Now you just need to wait until there is no longer any fuel left in your jet ski. This final step in the process should take no more than five to 10 minutes with a solid gravitation pull and stream of gas flowing from the fuel tank.

Troubleshooting the Siphoning Process

While following the steps listed above should result in a smooth and easy transfer of fuel from your vehicle’s fuel tank to the fuel canister, it is possible that a flow of fuel fails to occur. If this is the case when you complete the process, you should consult the troubleshooting table below.

Hoses won’t fit on siphon pumpYour hoses or hose attachments are the wrong size. Consult the pump instruction manual for sizes.
Flow of fuel does not occur after pumpingYour gas canister is not positioned below your fuel tank. Move the canister onto the floor or raise your jet ski. Also check the direction of the siphon pump. They will only flow in one direction.
Fuel flows into one hose but not the otherYou have crossed your intake and discharge hoses. Switch the two hoses from the fuel tank and gas canister.
Flow of fuel does not occur after pumpingYour intake hose is not positioned below the gas line in your jet ski’s fuel tank. Move the hose below the gas line.

Problem: Hoses Won’t Fit on Siphon Pump

Most likely, any problems associated with getting your hoses or hose adapters to fit onto your siphon pump are an indication that these hoses and adapters are the wrong size for your particular pump. This obviously should not be a problem if the pump and hoses were purchased together, but if you replaced your hoses or received them secondhand you may want to look at the operating manual for your pump and inquire upon the exact size of the hoses and attachments needed to successfully use the pump.

Problem: Fuel Flows Into One Hose but Not the Other

Your manual siphon pump has one opening strictly designed to intake fuel and another designed to discharge this fuel from the pump. Therefore, if you accidentally cross your lines you may have your intake line positioned into your gas canister where there is no fuel to pump. Fixing this problem in the process is simple. All you need to do is switch the line you have in your gas canister with the line in your jet ski’s fuel tank. After this switch is completed you should be able to pump the fuel and start the flow.

Problem: Flow of Fuel Does Not Occur After Pumping

If you completed every step of the siphoning process and you still do not receive a solid flow of fuel, you may want to check that your gas canister is positioned below your jet ski’s fuel tank. Once again, this positioning is important in order for gravity to start the flow of fuel. If moving your gas canister does not result in a natural flow of fuel, you may also want to check your intake hose. This intake hose needs to be positioned below the gas level within your jet ski’s fuel tank in order to obtain the fuel located there.

Your Jet Ski & Required Maintenance

Owning a jet ski can be a rewarding process that results in hours of enjoyment and recreation. However, as you are now aware, a jet ski also requires continued maintenance and care. Removing fuel from a jet ski’s fuel tank is one of the most common maintenance practices associated with owning a personal watercraft. This process will help you properly store your jet ski for the winter and perform additional maintenance. Enjoy the process and have a safe and enjoyable time out on the water!