You have a passion for jet skis, or maybe you’re just curious. Perhaps you’ve always envisioned this personal watercraft zipping through the water at high, effortless speeds. Before you spend the money, you want to know, will this be the case?
How fast do jet skis go? The average jet ski top speed is between 55 and 65 MPH if it has an engine with 150 or 200 horsepower. However, some manufacturers make watercraft models that can exceed those speeds and reach up to 90 MPH, sometimes higher.
Wow, 90 MPH? Is that really possible? What makes a jet ski able to go that fast? In this article, I’ll answer your most burning questions about jet ski speed. Keep reading then, as you won’t want to miss it!
How Fast Do Jet Skis Go
As I’ve covered in the intro, the average jet ski speed is between 55 to 65 MPH. Some can reach speeds of 70 MPH and are still considered within average range.
Then there’s the faster jet skis, the specialty ones designed for moving at lightning speeds. It’s not unheard of for these personal watercrafts to exceed 90 MPH.
Is There a Speed Limit for Jet Skis
Wow, 90 MPH sure is incredibly fast! That may have you wondering, are you allowed to legally reach those speeds on your watercraft? Do speed limits exist for jet skis?
Sometimes, yes. It all depends on the body of water you choose to ride in and who regulates it. Some Coast Guards limit you to riding at 70 MPH. You may even need a boating license in some states before using your jet ski or other personal watercraft for safety reasons.
According to this Chicago Tribute article from 1999, there’s been moves made to cut the max speed of jet skis to no more than 65 MPH. That attempt has existed for at least as long as that article has been around, so 20 years now.
What Are the Fastest Jet Skis on the Market
You’re a speed demon through and through. That’s part of what has you so interested in jet skis in the first place. Which ones will suit your needs the best then?
I’m glad you asked! Here’s an overview of the speediest jet skis around.
Sea-Doo RXP-X 300 Top Speed
Achieving speeds of 68 to 69 MPH, the Sea-Doo RXP-X 300 comes equipped with a Rotax 1630 ACE engine capable of reaching 300 HP. That engine includes a D-Sea-Bel exhaust system, an Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC) system, 91-octane fuel, an electronic Intelligence Brake and Reverse (iBR) system, and a Closed-Loop Cooling System. It has a supercharged intake system as well that boasts an external intercooler. This two-rider jet ski can hold up to 400 pounds of weight.
Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 310R Top Speed
Another jet ski that can reach similar speeds to the Sea-Doo comes from Kawasaki. It’s their Jet Ski Ultra 310R. This personal watercraft includes an inline four-cylinder DOHC engine. For each cylinder, there’s four valves for supercharging speed. The engine also has a four-stroke system and comes with intercooling features.
Belassi B3R Sport Top Speed
At one time, the Belassi B3R Sport was considered the fastest jet ski around. That time was 2014. According to this article in New Atlas, the local version of the Belassi B3R Sport could reach about 70 MPH, but the international ones could hit close to 90 MPH.
HSR-Benelli Series-R Top Speed
The HSR-Benelli Series-R surpassed that speed, reaching 92 MPH. That watercraft includes dual three-cylinder engines, both at 1130ccs, as well as a V-6 engine capable of achieving 342 HP.
The HSR-Benelli Series-R beat speed records, not just for jet skis, but for personal watercrafts in general. Nothing has come close to surpassing that speed record yet, at least as far as I know.
Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Top Speed
Another popular choice from Sea-Doo, the GTI 130 has a top speed of around 55 MPH. The Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 also has a 55 MPH top speed.
Sea-Doo GTI SE 155 Top Speed
With a ROTAX 1503 NA engine, the Sea-Doo GTI SE 155 has a top speed of 60 MPH, 5 more than the SE 130.
Sea-Doo GTX 155 Top Speed
A touring model from Sea-Doo, the GTX 155 has a top speed of around 60 MPH.
Sea-Doo GTR 230 Top Speed
Another performance model from Sea-Doo, the GTR 230 has a top speed of 70 MPH.
What Allows Jet Skis to Go So Fast
Why such a speed variable? After all, some jet skis can go up to 30+ MPH faster than others. Certain manufacturers do this by design. They make their watercrafts that much faster as a major selling point. Not every jet ski enthusiast will want to go super-fast, but the ones who do have options.
What do these manufacturers have to do to ensure the speed of their jet skis? These are the factors that play a role in watercraft speed.
Jet skis and other personal watercrafts can have either inboard or outboard engines. An inbound automotive engine is often a two-stroke design for jet skis and four strokes for bigger vessels like boats. With direct injection technology, the engine burns fuel much more cleanly than inbound engines of the past.
Outboard engines include the propeller, gear case, and the engine all in one. These too can be two-stroke or four-stroke depending on the size of the vessel. Like inbound engines, the direct injection technology allows for cleaner fuel burning. In fact, it’s up to 75 percent better compared to older two-stroke outboard engines.
Then there’s the horsepower of the engine. This is simply a measurement of how much power the engine can generate. Faster jet skis then often have higher horsepower to propel them at such fast speeds.
Since the speed of jet skis can vary, so too can the horsepower of your personal watercraft. As you remember from the intro, I said that the average jet ski can go up to 65 MPH. Such watercrafts may have a horsepower of 150 to 200 HP.
That’s just one example of many. For instance, the Belassi B3R Sport I discussed earlier has a V-6 engine that regularly gets to 342 HP.
Of course, you have to take other things into account for max speed. For instance, there’s the body design of the jet ski itself. This should be streamlined instead of bulky so the jet ski can travel through the water without drag.
These other parts of the watercraft can also contribute towards overall speed:
- Strakes: Horizontal strakes boost your jet ski out of the water so you don’t get as soaked when riding. Strakes also keep your boat from dragging, helping you maintain speed.
- Pads: Speaking of drag, the pad design also minimizes this. Pads cross the boat’s running surface and have a flat look. Some manufacturers, like Yamaha, have favored a flatter, wider pad for some Superjet models.
- Keel: Think of the keel as your jet ski’s spine. It runs down the center of the watercraft. The angle of it can influence how gentle or rough your ride feels. Certain keel shapes make for a faster jet ski and others a somewhat slower ride.
- Chine: Also known as the watercraft corner, you can have a chine and a reverse chine. This is the side-to-bottom connection while a standard chine is a bottom-to-side connection. Sharp chines allow for turns that are just as sharp. That’s why some watercraft brands opt for a softer chine, which makes turning less violent. You might slow slightly, though.
Last but certainly not least, there’s the hull of your jet ski. There are many
hull types you might come across, such as:
- V-hull: As the name might tell you, a V-hull has a bottom that angles into a V and a bow that’s equally pointed. This makes your ride feel gentler, even in choppy conditions. Kawasaki produces personal watercrafts with V-hulls all the time.
- Stepped hull: This hull goes from the keel to your jet ski’s outer chine. This allows for greater aft surface and forward surface differentiation. Sea-Doo has added stepped hulls to their GTX and RTX watercrafts.
- Planing hull: To feel like you’re literally on the water instead of in it, look for a jet ski with a planing hull. The VX Series jet skis from Yamaha as well as the GTIs from Sea-Doo both feature planing hulls.
Another factor that could act as a hindrance to your speed is how much weight is added to your jet ski. Each watercraft has a specific weight limit. For example, looking back at the Sea-Doo RXP-X 300 I talked about earlier in this article, this is a two-seat jet ski capable of holding 400 pounds. That means each passenger should weigh up to 200 pounds max.
If you surpass that, you make the jet ski work harder to move through the water. The watercraft may also sink lower in the water despite its strakes and hull design because it’s overloaded. Thus, get you more drag and less speed.
That’s one great reason to
Jet skis can reach speeds of 60 to 70 MPH on average, but some can rush by at 90 MPH with no problem. The max speed of your watercraft depends on the type of engine the jet ski is outfitted with, as well as body features like the hull, strakes, keel, chine, and pads. Finally, by following the weight limit requirements of your jet ski, you can ensure a safe and speedy ride. Have fun!