Guide to buying a jet ski

There’s a wide array of options out there. Here’s how to pick the right jet ski for your needs.

When looking to purchase a jet ski, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind, including what type of jet ski you will need, the cost of the jet ski, the cost of insurance, and other factors such as where the jet ski will be stored when not in use.

Set a budget

Before going shopping, create a budget so you know your limits before committing to a purchase. Jet skis can range from around $2000 to over $15,000, so there’s a price to suit every budget.
When creating your budget, keep in mind how much a trailer for the jet ski will cost, whether a tow bar will need to be fitted to your car, the cost of registration and insurance, getting a jet ski license if you don’t have one, and additional accessories such as life jackets.
Knowing how much money you’re willing to spend will guide whether you should buy a second-hand jet ski or a new jet ski as well. There are plenty of used jet skis that are mechanically sound but priced significantly less than a brand-new option.

Number of passengers

Another thing to look for when buying a jet ski is the number of people likely to ride the jet ski. Some jet skis only accommodate a single driver, while other can seat up to three or four people at one time.
Generally, the larger the jet ski, the more stable it is, but one compromise with larger jet skis can be the ease of manoeuvrability. Smaller one-seater jet skis will turn more easily than larger craft.

Jet ski activities

The best personal watercraft for you will also depend on what you want to do with your jet ski. Jet skis can do a lot more than just transport passengers riding them.
Some are powerful enough to tow water skiers, wakeboarders, or inflatable tubes. If you want to be able to tow something, you’ll need a machine with a decent amount of horsepower. You’ll also want to investigate getting jet ski insurance.

Inspecting the jet ski

If you’re buying a brand-new jet ski, you won’t need to worry about doing a thorough inspection as it will be covered by warranty. If you’re buying a used jet ski, an inspection is essential.
When inspecting the jet ski, rub your hands along the hull, looking for any signs of damage such as cracks and chips. The jull can be one of the most expensive parts of a jet ski to repair, so you want to be sure it is in good condition. If at all possible, try to take the jet ski for a test ride. You’ll be able to spot any mechanical problems, particularly strange noises or loss of power. Here’s a comprehensive list of mechanical issues to look out for when purchasing a jet ski.

Licensing requirements

It is important to note that you require a personal watercraft licence in order to operate a jet ski. To obtain this licence, you must first hold a current marine licence. More information is available from Maritime Safety Queensland.