3 Easy Ways to add Speakers to a Jet Ski


Music has the incredible ability to add to any experience, and jet skiing is no exception.  Having access to music while out on the water can add to the fun of the overall experience, which is why so many people consider having stereos on their jet ski to be an essential accessory. And yet, despite this fact, speakers do not come standard on many jet skis.

Although some new, higher end PWCs come with factory-installed speakers, not all of them do.  As a result, many people wonder if they can add speakers to their jet ski and if they can, what their best options are.

Can You Add Speakers to a Jet Ski?

The three most common ways to add speakers to a jet ski are with portable Bluetooth speakers, DIY add-on speakers or integrated sound systems, and professional aftermarket audio installation.

Each of these options has pros and cons which we will discuss below.

There are several ways to add speakers to a jet ski. Which option you choose will depend on how much you are willing to pay, when/where you want to listen to music, and your personal level of handiness.

How to Add Speakers to a Jet Ski: 3 Ways

Portable Bluetooth Speakers

Portable Bluetooth speakers are small stereos that you can attach to your jet ski with clips or straps or put in one of your storage compartments. Some are even small enough to clip to your life jacket.

There are a number of reasons why portable Bluetooth speakers might be your best option for adding speakers to your jet ski.

  • Affordability. Portable Bluetooth speakers range in price from around $50-200, which is definitely the cheapest of the three options.
  • Portability. Some of the other options on this list require permanent modifications to your jet ski, which can decrease the jet ski’s resale value, interfere with other jet ski features, or void warranties. Bluetooth speakers aren’t permanently attached to your jet ski, so they can be taken with you on your jet ski ride and then easily transported to the beach or the pool, so you can bring your music with you on the go.
  • Storage. Because there is limited space on a jet ski, the small size of portable speakers is beneficial because they won’t take up much space, leaving more room for other accessories. 
  • Battery-Powered. Most portable speakers run on rechargeable batteries that you charge at home. These are a great feature as compared to built-in or add-on speakers, which can require the installation of an additional battery in your jet ski in order to get the necessary power to run the stereo system.

Things to consider when purchasing portable Bluetooth speakers:

  • Waterproofing. Bluetooth speakers labeled “waterproof” should include a waterproof rating.  Look for speakers that have an IPX7 rating. This means they can be submerged into 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes.  IPX6 and IP44 rated speakers can survive splashes, but if they go underwater at any point, they’re toast.  Unless you are only using the speakers from inside a storage compartment or while slowly cruising, the IPX7 is definitely the way to go, especially since the overall cost difference between the two is negligible.
  • Volume Output. Pretty much the only downside to portable speakers is how loud they can get, but over the past few years, portable speakers have really improved in volume technology. If you want to be able to listen to music or answer a phone call while driving the jet ski at faster speeds, make sure you purchase one that has better volume ratings. It’s also worth noting that speakers stored in storage compartments likely won’t be audible while in motion.
  • Speaker Placement. Where you put your Bluetooth speakers will depend largely on the design of the speakers. Some have carabiners, while others have straps, hooks, or screw-in mounting equipment.
    • Best: Mirrors, Handlebars, or Life Jacket. Ideally, you want to have the speakers in front of you, so the sound travels back toward you as you are moving.  That’s why these are the best places to attach your speakers.
    • Second Best: Storage Compartment. The next best option is in a storage compartment. The empty compartment creates an echo chamber that amplifies the audio. Still, it may be difficult to hear the music while riding with some speakers when using this method.
    • Not Ideal: Rear handle or Seat. Although these are often common places to attach speakers, they’re not ideal if you want to hear the music while moving because the sound will be traveling away from you. Small, portable speakers may not be powerful enough to project the sound to you from behind.

Below are some of our picks for the top portable Bluetooth speakers:

Brand and ModelFeatures
JBL Clip 3Clips onto a jet ski or life vest
IPX7 waterproof
10-hour battery life
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2360° sound
IP67 waterproof
Floats in water
13-hour battery life
JBL Flip 5Pair multiple speakers
IPX7 waterproof
12-hour battery life
USB-C quick charge
20w power output
Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3360° sound
IP67 waterproof rating
Floats in water
20-hour battery life
150-ft. range

If your speaker doesn’t come with a mounting system, the TOOVREN Speaker Mount is an inexpensive add-on that uses straps to attach the speaker to a pole or bar.

Jet Ski DIY Add-On or Fully-Integrated Speakers

Another option for adding speakers to your jet ski is with aftermarket speakers. This can be done with add-on speakers or fully-integrated sound systems. Add-on speakers are typically one, self-contained unit that attaches to the jet ski with straps or screws, while a fully-integrated system includes a radio, amplifier, and speakers that have to be screwed into the body of the jet ski and wired like a car or boat radio. Do not attempt to install a fully-integrated sound system unless you are familiar with electrical wiring or have experience installing stereos.

There are a few pros and cons when it comes to aftermarket speakers:

  • Volume. The biggest benefit of these types of speakers is volume.  Because they are more complex audio systems with stereos and subwoofers, they can get much louder than a standard portable speaker, which may be important to you if you want to blast your tunes while riding at higher speeds.
  • Storage. The biggest downside to aftermarket speakers is storage. They can take up a lot of room on the jet ski and reduce overall storage space, which can be problematic if you are doing a lot of tow sports or touring.

Things to consider when buying aftermarket speakers:

  • Speaker Purpose. Many aftermarket speakers are marketed to jet ski owners even though the speakers are not specifically designed for PWCs. It is especially common to see ATV speakers marketed to jet ski owners.  These are not ideal because they are usually large and difficult to mount on a jet ski and they often don’t have a high enough waterproof rating to withstand the type of water exposure common on a jet ski. The higher the IP rating, the more water-resistant the speakers will be. Check before you buy it. 
  • Mounting. Add-on speakers can be mounted in several ways. Some are mounted via straps, others are screwed to the handlebars or rear tow bat, and others require you to drill holes in the jet ski in order to mount the speakers directly to the jet ski’s body.
  • Decreased value or voided warranty.  Both drilled-in mounts and fully-integrated stereo-systems require permanent modification to the jet ski body.  This can decrease the overall value of the jet ski or void certain warranties, so do your research before you start drilling any holes and make sure that you are certain you want to make those changes.
  • Speaker Placement.
    • Best: Below the Mirrors. The best place to install add-on speakers is below the jet ski mirrors. They are out of the way and will be easiest for the driver to hear while operating the jet ski.
    • Acceptable: Seat or Grab Bar. It’s fine to attach add-on speakers to the seat or the rear grab bar, but it can make it more difficult to hear while the jet ski is in motion because the sound will be traveling away from you. It’s also important to be careful when attaching speakers to the rear of the jet ski, because if not properly secured, the speakers can fall off in rough water.  This is especially true for speakers attached with straps.
  • Mirrors. As mentioned above, it is best to install speakers below your jet ski mirrors. Some speakers are designed to replace the mirrors on your jet ski.  This is not recommended because mirrors are legally required in most states if you want to tow a tube or wakeboarder.
  • Handiness.  Unless you are very confident in your electrical wiring abilities, it is not recommended to add a fully-integrated audio system on your own.  It can be done, but it requires some complex wiring and drilling holes into your jet ski. Check out this video for a step-by-step tutorial on installing a BRP audio system on a Sea-Doo.

Below are some recommendations for OEM add-on speakers and fully-integrated systems you can install yourself.

Universal:

Yamaha

Sea-Doo

Kawasaki

Kawasaki Jet Ski Custom Speaker Pods and Amplifier

Professional After-Market Installation

If you want to have a fully-integrated onboard stereo system in your jet ski, it’s probably best to let a professional do it.  Although this is the most expensive option (it’s likely to run you about $1,000-2,000), the peace of mind knowing that your speakers will be installed correctly may be worth the cost.

If you want to have speakers professionally installed, check with your local audio installation retailer. The same shops that install car, truck, or boat radios will also usually have options for jet skis.

As mentioned above, when selecting an audio system to add to your jet ski, it is not recommended that you pick one that replaces the jet ski’s mirrors.  These mirrors are legally required for tow sports in most states, so unless you never plan on towing with your jet ski, you will want to have the mirrors.

Here are some examples of what a professional can do with jet ski audio installation:

Safety Concerns

As discussed above, any speaker system that replaces the side-view mirrors on a jet ski pose a potential safety risk, which is why we do not recommend this option. There is a reason these mirrors are required in most states for tow sports, and that is because they make for a much safer jet ski riding experience.

Besides mirrors, audio systems also pose a potential distraction.  Be careful not to crank the volume on your stereo so loud that you can’t hear other boats approaching or emergency signals from people or other boats nearby.

Also, don’t try to change the music while you are driving. As tempting as it can be to press skip, taking your hand off the steering or your eyes off the water in front of you, even for a second, can be extremely dangerous. 

Conclusion

Depending on your price range and sound system goals, there are three great options for adding speakers to your jet ski: portable Bluetooth speakers, DIY after-market add-ons, and professional, fully-integrated systems. 

If you just want to be able to casually listen to music out on the water, portable speakers are your best option. They’re cheap, waterproof, and easily portable.  If they get ruined or lost, it’s not a big deal to buy a replacement.  They also save you precious storage space on an already small watercraft.

On the other hand, if you are a true audiophile who really wants to trick out your jet ski with the biggest and best stereo system available, you can totally do it, but be prepared to shell out the cash to have it done professionally.  Unless you are an experienced audio technician, installing a fully-integrated sound system into your jet ski is most likely a recipe for bad wiring, decreased resale value, and potentially a voided warranty.  Avoid these problems and save yourself the headache by having it done by a professional.

Most importantly, always remember that as fun as it is to jam out to your favorite tunes while on the water, your music should never take away from safe riding decisions. Enjoy the water and enjoy the music but keep an eye and an ear out for potential hazards so neither you nor anyone else has to miss out on a great day.

Happy Listening!

Eric

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

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