(Topic ID: 352760)

Seeking advice on Jet Skis

By Nicholastree

88 days ago


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  • 22 posts
  • 17 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 87 days ago by CrazyLevi
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#1 88 days ago

We have a house in a lake community and are thinking about buying a jet ski. Likely a used one in the $10k range. Never owned a jet ski or a boat before. When I was a kid, I used to race motocross and it helped me be a better driver at 16. I’m thinking a jet ski might help my kids (13 and 11 yrs old) develop good instincts/skills for driving later. And we’d obviously have some fun, too.

I know they are dangerous (though probably less dangerous than motorcycles, which are not an option for us anyway). So are cars, especially when operated by teens. But I’m open to advice on this and are particularly interested in:
1) maintenance
2) resale in a few years
3) trailering (we aren’t lake front so I’ll be keeping it on a trailer).
4) things you learned from jet ski ownership
5) any particular makes/models to buy or avoid (eg Yamaha vs Sea Doo vs Kawasaki, etc). We’d buy a large one that can seat three.

Thanks!

#2 87 days ago

Just rent them. Much cheaper, no headache, no buyers remorse, no storing in the off season.

#3 87 days ago

I owned bunch over the years. So much freaking fun. We started way back in the day with an old kawasaki stand up..... I think it was 35 horsepower. When I got older I said I'd buy a sit down so bought a Honda, which they don't make anymore. It was naturally aspirated and 125 horsepower and it was extremely reliable but topped out around 50 mph. I wanted to mod it to go faster but they didn't make much for those skis. I traded up to a kawasaki ultra 250. It was 250 hp and supercharged. It was also extremely heavy and extremely stable in all conditions. After some mods, it would go about 73 mph and was rock solid cutting through any conditions. I still wanted more so went with a Yamaha fzs. That ski was like around 210 hp stock but was an 1800 cc engine compared to 1499 for Ultra. It also weighed a lot less and was made as a platform that was easily modified. That ski was right around 90 and putting out some serious boost and hp after modified. You could only go those speeds when it wasn't choppy or else you'd risk your life. I did end up moving on from skis and we bought a wakeboard boat. I do miss the skis though.

Are you looking for speed or reliability? Lots of high end models come in 3 seat versions. I'm a huge fan of Yamaha's but seadoo and kawi make good stuff too. If you want reliability, go for the naturally aspirated skis. If you want more power, there's plenty of options out there. Make sure the kids take a boaters safety course and make sure you look into the laws for your state. I've seen some bad things happen to kids on skis that didn't know what they were doing, so education and safety is key.

#4 87 days ago

Get a pair. Much more fun to ride with friends

#5 87 days ago

I own a Seedoo GXI.I ride on Lake Shasta during the summer.Absolutly be clear about educating your Kids about how to handle a jet-ski.How to ride, and what to watch out for.Boat safety is paramount! Also be aware that you haft to watch out in shallow water.If you foul your empelor.your dead in the Water! Look at all models available.Trailoring is no big deal, get a trailer hitch at any rental place.Learn to back up a trailer.Only drive at 55 mph, cause those are small tires and bearings on that trailer and burn up at continuas high speeds.Use public boat ramps.Have fun,B safe

#6 87 days ago

Grew up on lake and currently own house on a lake with dock. I have owned a bunch of jetskis going all the way back to a young kid. Currently have a yamaha and seadoo and my yamaha has been bullet proof. Nothing more than just basic maintenance. The seadoo on the other hand usually has something go wrong with it a couple times per season. The seadoo is also very prone to sucking stuff into the pump which can be day ender. I would buy 2 skis unless you have a bunch of friends with them that you can ride with. 2 very important things, always have a good life jacket on and ALWAYS keep the key lanyard attached to your wrist.

#7 87 days ago

The first one we had was a 2 stroke seadoo. No real problems, it did like to suck stuff into the pump. Next on was a seadoo rxp, ran strong. 2 kawasakis came with our house. We have lifts on our dock. I sold them after a couple of years. Our daughter had moved away and not as much riding.
Did not have any breakdowns. In the spring this lake has a lot of floating crap. Digging objects out of the pump was the down time.

#8 87 days ago

Thanks for the feedback and advice, everyone. Much appreciated.
I’ll look into renting jet skis but that’s not an option on our lake. Would have to rent and drive them in from somewhere.
And, yeah, I’m hearing the laws and boat safety lessons message. I’ll need them, too as I’ve done a fair amount of water skiing and driving but never owned a boat or ski.
Hadn’t thought of the debris in pump problem, but hopefully our lake is as clean as it looks from our kayak

#9 87 days ago

Sounds like Yamaha might be the more reliable ski. Thanks!

#10 87 days ago

Take it from someone that raced them for 4 years, stay away, they are a money pit. But if you are going to get one, I would go with Yamaha, most reliable. Even though I am on a Kawasaki SXR here.

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#11 87 days ago

Nice! Well, our leisurely rides on the jet ski won't compare to your thrill rides on that Kawasaki, LoL. So I'm hoping maintenance costs won't be overly severe.

#12 87 days ago

They are all fun when they are running. They all break when you use them.

#13 87 days ago

Yamaha all the way. There's a reason why 90% of the rental fleets are Yamahas.

#14 87 days ago

and if your towing someone with a ski rope be always aware where the rope is , sucking up the rope can me a nightmare , quaranteed everyone will do it at least once in their life ! and yes Yamaha is the way to go

#15 87 days ago
Quoted from Nicholastree:

Sounds like Yamaha might be the more reliable ski. Thanks!

Our Yamaha Waverunner has been solid as a rock for 5 years now.

Quoted from Nicholastree:

I’m thinking a jet ski might help my kids (13 and 11 yrs old) develop good instincts/skills for driving later.

Golf helps with this too. Let them drive the golf cart. If you can own a golf cart (I have two), even better. You can teach skills such as parallel parking and 3-point turns in a safe environment. It's how I learned before Driver's Ed, and how my son has a grasp of driving before he can legally take the wheel.

#16 87 days ago

Most of them are money pits waiting to cost you too much money or get totalled out for parts. If you want something semi reliable that won't break the bank, the older 2 stroke skis are the way to go. Plus the older ones are a lot more fun than the big barges of today. If you do want something newer, get something that isn't supercharged or really high strung. It'll be relatively slow, but at least it will last. Hard to buy used skis that aren't beat to crap, at least around here. Kawasaki STX-12f or 15f will be good. Quite a few yamaha models as well. I'm just about to exit the hobby, as I had my fun, but my old janky 2 strokes are still kickin, meanwhile the bone yards are littered with skis from the past 15 years.

#17 87 days ago
Quoted from Haymaker:

If you do want something newer, get something that isn't supercharged or really high strung. It'll be relatively slow, but at least it will last.

Thanks. We're not looking for something turbo charged, etc. Just a good, reliable cruiser will do. So thanks.

BTW: What's the best way to buy a used jet ski? I've looked on boattrader.com and seem some decent options. Haven't checked craig's list yet...
Better to buy from a dealer or a person just selling theirs?

#18 87 days ago

I have a Yamaha Waverunner also and would highly recommend it. Here are a few of my thoughts on PWC ownership.

First a boater safety class is a must especially with kids involved. Modern Jet ski’s can easily go 0 to 60 in under 5 seconds and top out Un-modified close to 70mph. Our lake has had several severe injuries and fatalities over the years. Jet Ski’s don’t have a rudder and turn using water through the jet. What happens is kids panic when they think they are going to hit something, let off the gas, and lose steering control, sliding into whatever is ahead of them.

I don’t recommend a Turbo charged or Super charged Jet Ski for your first PWC for the safety reasons above. Also, maintenance cost will be higher and most require premium gas. Using non-ethanol gas will help prevent problems, unless you use the ski every couple of weeks. Premium non-ethanol is hard to find.

The biggest repair expense my neighbor has had is because the tow rope was sucked into the impeller. Be careful with the rope and you will be fine.

We bought our Ski new but as a last year model close out. We paid the same as used but had a new warranty.

Have fun with your new toy!

#19 87 days ago

An old Airforce buddy told me once.... If it float flies or f*cks it cheaper to rent!

#20 87 days ago
Quoted from Haymaker:

Most of them are money pits waiting to cost you too much money or get totalled out for parts. If you want something semi reliable that won't break the bank, the older 2 stroke skis are the way to go. Plus the older ones are a lot more fun than the big barges of today. If you do want something newer, get something that isn't supercharged or really high strung. It'll be relatively slow, but at least it will last. Hard to buy used skis that aren't beat to crap, at least around here. Kawasaki STX-12f or 15f will be good. Quite a few yamaha models as well. I'm just about to exit the hobby, as I had my fun, but my old janky 2 strokes are still kickin, meanwhile the bone yards are littered with skis from the past 15 years.

Had a couple of Seadoo XP’s for many years. Older 2 stroke 110hp on a 420 pound ski. Small and light and an unstable hull so easy to spin it at any speed! Jumped them on the Great Lakes, except Superior, and never an issue.

Top speed was 50 but great hole shot!

#21 87 days ago
Quoted from Garrett:

Had a couple of Seadoo XP’s for many years. Older 2 stroke 110hp on a 420 pound ski. Small and light and an unstable hull so easy to spin it at any speed! Jumped them on the Great Lakes, except Superior, and never an issue.
Top speed was 50 but great hole shot!

Yeah all the X4 hull ski's are a blast, particularly the legendary XP 800. Some of the only sea-do's I'd consider owning!

#22 87 days ago

This thread has gone on way too long without any Kenny powers references.

Also I like the guest cargument.

“Yeah they are dangerous. But so are cars!”

Yes they are exactly the same.

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