You’re seriously contemplating buying a personal watercraft, specifically a jet ski (no, not the brand, the vehicle). There’s just one problem: you’re not exactly sure if jet ski ownership is too expensive for you. How much will you spend?
To determine how much jet skiing costs, you have to factor in the following prices:
- The cost of the jet ski itself (new or used)
- Insurance per month or per year
- Buying gear for your jet ski and paying to replace this as needed
- Maintaining your watercraft every few weeks or months
- Paying to winterize and store your jet ski when the cold season arrives (provided you live somewhere with harsh winters)
Curious about each of those individual costs? Then you don’t want to miss this article. In it, I’ll provide you with real, up-to-date prices for jet ski ownership based on research. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know exactly how much you’d spend on jet skiing.
How Much Does a New Jet Ski Cost
Do you want a complete, brand-new, untouched jet ski? It’s going to cost you.
As I’ve covered in this article, you can select from several major watercraft brands such as Yamaha, Sea-Doo, and Kawasaki. There are more than 50 versions of water skis from these brands new for this year. I won’t cover the prices of every single one, but I did take all the jet skis and calculated an average.
That price? $11,000.
You’ll find some really cheap Sea-Doo jet skis out there for between $5,500 and $6,600, specifically the SPARK vehicles with low-horsepower engines (60 to 90 hp). More expensive SPARKS cost upwards of $8,000. The priciest Sea-Doo by far? That’s their GTX Limited 300 for $17,099.
If you’re more of a fan of Yamaha, you can get their EX jet ski for $6,799 on the lower end. Then there’s their VX-C (just shy of $9k), EXR (about $9.3k), and VX (close to $9.7k). The most expensive Yamaha watercraft for 2019, their FX Limited SVHO, costs a whopping $17,399.
Maybe you like Kawasaki better. The brand’s STX-15F, one of their cheapest offerings for the year, costs $9,699. The SX-R has a price tag just shy of $10k, so already you’re spending a lot of money. There are really no mid-priced options here. At $17,999, the Kawasaki ULTRA 310LX isn’t just the priciest from the brand, but the most expensive of all the jet skis available this year.
How Much Does a Used Jet Ski Cost
If those prices make you balk or feel anxious, that’s completely understandable. That’s why many first-time jet ski owners opt for a used watercraft. You can get one that’s just a few years old and works very well without spending close to $15,000.
To begin your search for a used watercraft, I recommend going on PWC Trader. You can buy or sell a jet ski or any other watercraft here. No matter what kind of vehicle you’re looking for, a two-seater, three-seater, stand-up, or a four-seater, you can find it. This includes jet skis from your favorite brands like Yamaha, Kawasaki, and even Karavan.
Now, it’s impossible to say how much you will spend on a used jet ski. There are so many factors that can dictate the price. These include your location, the age of the watercraft, its condition, whether it includes amenities, what kind and how many, and seller bias. That said, I don’t want to leave you completely in the dark, either.
As a happy medium, here are some prices I came across when browsing around on PWC Trader:
- 2019 Sea-Doo PW RXT-X 300: $16,599
- 2019 Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300: $17,099
- 2019 Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 310R: $16,299
- 2018 Sea-Doo SPARK TRIXX: $6,990
- 2017 Kawasaki Jet Ski SX-R: $7,999
- 2016 Yamaha FZS: $11,299
- 2015 Yamaha FZR SVHO: $10,180
- 2011 Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra LX: $6,995
- 2010 Sea-Doo GTX 155: $5,499
Taking all those prices and averaging them, you might spend roughly $10,995 on a used jet ski. However, I included a lot of 2019 listings in that average. If you go for an older watercraft, like a 2017, a 2015, a 2011, or even a 2010, you can save a lot more money, Some of those older vehicles only cost four figures.
You don’t have to rely exclusively on PWC Trader for finding your used jet ski, by the way. That’s just one better-known resource. I recommend you also input your location into a Google search and see what kinds of results come up. You may have more jet ski and watercraft stores in your neighborhood than you even realized.
As you search around, you might notice slight fluctuations in price. Remember also that you can always haggle. To do so successfully, it pays to know the true asking price of the jet ski. Then, come up with a lower deal that doesn’t lose the third-party seller too much money.
Jet Ski Insurance Costs
Whether new or used, you decided to buy your jet ski. You’re very happy with your watercraft and you can’t wait to start riding it. Not so fast. You need to get insured before your jet ski ever touches a drop of water.
If you’ve never owned a personal watercraft before, you might find there’s a bit of a learning curve. You’ll have to figure out how to accelerate, stop on a dime, turn, and do other necessary maneuvers. Like many things in life, you’ll get better at driving your jet ski the more you practice.
Let’s say you go out and you hit another boater. You didn’t mean to, and it was a complete accident. Still, it happened. You don’t have insurance on your jet ski, so what happens now?
Well, if you injured this other person when you hit them, then someone has to pay for their medical bills. If you damaged their boat or watercraft, you have to pay for that as well.
If you have insurance, your policy should take care of most—if not all—of the medical bill and watercraft repair/replacement costs. If you don’t have insurance, then it all comes out of your pocket. Don’t have the money? Too bad. You’re about to face a lot of trouble.
Also, in some states, it’s illegal to take your watercraft out without insurance. If you get caught not having it, you could get in a legal mess.
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you that you need insurance for your jet ski. How much can you expect to pay for this?
It certainly depends. You’ll have to first work with an insurance company that specializes in personal watercraft. Here are some options for you:
If you choose one of these popular insurance providers, then you can likely tack on a watercraft insurance plan to your preexisting coverage.
Okay, so how much are you spending exactly? What do you get for that money? Let’s start with the cost, shall we? Most of the time, you have to request a quote to get a personalized insurance policy for your vehicle.
The insurance company may make adjustments to the coverage price based on where you live, the make and model of your jet ski, its age, its condition, how often you ride, and where.
Progressive says their insurance starts at $100 each year, but a policy with them could definitely cost you more. What about other insurance companies? Insurance resource Trusted Choice says you might spend $150 on the lower end and $500 on the higher end for an annual insurance plan.
To get an exact insurance amount for your jet ski, I recommend contacting one of the companies above or an insurance company of your choosing. Request a quote, as these often don’t cost you any money. Then compare quotes and choose an insurance provider that works for you.
Once you buy insurance, what kind of coverage can you expect? Well, it differs from company to company and plan to plan, that’s for sure. Let’s take one example, Geico. Those who insure their jet ski under Geico will receive the following coverage provisions:
- Towing when your watercraft stops working in the middle of a ride
- Injury coverage if another boater hit you but doesn’t have insurance
- Repairs or replacement to your jet ski’s equipment, machinery, and hull
- Injury coverage for wakeboarders, water skiers, and other towed riders who hurt themselves on your jet ski
- Coverage if another person hurts themselves or even dies onboard your jet ski
- Repairs dock or boat damage if you hit them
Jet Ski Accessories – Gear Checklist
Now you’ve insured your jet ski. You’re covered if a mishap occurs on the water, so it’s time for you to get out there and ride, right? Nope, not quite. You also need gear for your jet ski. Most of this gear exists for your safety, so you don’t want to skip any of it.
In this section, I’ll talk about the gear you need in-depth. I’ll also share cost estimates for each item based on real prices from manufacturers.
Each and every time you go outside, you expose your skin to UV rays. Yes, even when it’s cloudy outside. By wearing sunscreen, you can protect your skin from the damage UV can wreak.
For instance, you could end up with premature wrinkles and other signs of aging. UV rays can also cause skin cancer, so don’t mess around.
When you’re in the water, you have an even higher risk of getting sunburned. That’s because the sunlight reflects off the water and back into your face.
You need a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor or SPF. If you get SPF 50 sunscreen, you safeguard yourself from most UVB rays, 98 percent. With SPF 30, it’s 97 percent. Then there’s SPF 15, which prevents UVB ray damage to your skin at a rate of 93 percent.
There’s rarely any need to get a sunscreen with an SPF over 50 then. You may pay between $10 and $20 for sunscreen.
You can read more about this topic in this article that I wrote about sunscreens for watersports, such as surfing or jet skiing.
Sports sunglasses aren’t just a fancy term for the shades you likely already have. These have a base made of SR-91 (a type of plastic) or glass. As for the lenses, they’re polyurethane or CR-39, polycarbonate, acrylic, or glass.
While these glasses weigh more than traditional sunglasses, they don’t scratch easily. They also provide better clarity than a standard pair of shades.
With their wraparound style, sports sunglasses have a higher likelihood of staying on your face when you participate in high-octane sports like riding a jet ski.
Cheaper sports sunglasses might cost $20, while more expensive models could set you back $50 or more.
Related Article: Best Jet Ski Sunglasses
For a superior grip when riding your jet ski, you need a pair of gloves. Besides just grip, you might also lessen hand fatigue and keep your hands safe from blisters or scrapes when wearing a pair of these gloves.
Like any gloves, you need a pair that fit very close to your hands. Ideally, you want them like a second skin. However, make sure the riding gloves aren’t too tight, or you’ll feel uncomfortable when on your jet ski.
The gloves should be made of waterproof materials. This way, even if they get wet, they don’t soak through to your hands.
Depending on which brands you prefer, you can get a dependable pair of riding gloves for $20 to $50 or more.
What, you didn’t think you could just wear your sneakers on your jet ski, did you? Of course not. If those get wet, they’ll slip and slide around. That makes riding a watercraft dangerous. Not only that, but again, it’s an issue of comfort. Soaked sneakers will leak through to your socks, and that feels terrible.
You need water shoes instead. These lightweight shoes maintain their traction even when wet. That said, it doesn’t take long for them to start drying once you’re out of the water.
You also get exemplary support with water shoes thanks to their sturdy soles. If you happen to step on shells or rocks, these don’t pierce your feet.
Water shoes won’t set you back a lot of money. They start at about $20 and might cost up to $75. They’re available in all colors and styles from your favorite brands.
Just like you shouldn’t wear regular old sneakers when riding a jet ski, you need special clothes for this activity as well. Namely, a wetsuit. It doesn’t matter if you never plan on swimming; always wear a wetsuit.
Why? Wetsuits boost your hydrodynamics and buoyancy in water. You also increase your watercraft’s performance in a wetsuit over street clothes.
Unless you wear skintight street clothes, then the wind can catch underneath your garments and puff them out. This creates drag that slows you down and alters your max performance.
Now, unlike the other accessories and gear on this list so far, wetsuits aren’t cheap. You’ll likely spend the most money here. Wetsuits start at $100, but it’s not unheard of for them to cost more than $300.
If you’d prefer more coverage than water shoes, you can always buy waterproof boots as well. You’d wear these over your wetsuit. Unlike most boots you’re used to, these fit very close to your ankles and calves so no water can get in.
Like water shoes, prices vary. You could spend between $30 and $100 for a good pair of water boots.
To keep water out of your eyes while you ride, you might opt for a pair of goggles over sports sunglasses. These have a better chance of staying on your face, even during high winds. Many goggles even come with UV protection built-in.
Again, if you want to go cheap, you can. You can possibly find a pair of jet ski goggles for under $20. We recommend you spend more money to get UV protection, though. For those goggles, you might pay $50 to $60+.
The last item you need is one you shouldn’t ever go without: a life vest. It doesn’t matter how good of a swimmer you consider yourself. If you hit a rock, get flown from your jet ski, and knocked unconscious, how well you would you swim then?
That’s why you need a life vest. Your vest should fit closely to your body, but not so tight that you can’t breathe or maneuver. Then it’s too small and you need a bigger one.
Life vest prices vary, with lower-end ones costing $20 and more expensive ones between $40 and $50. Again, I suggest you go for well-known brands and more expensive life jackets. Otherwise, it’s your life on the line. You can read here my recommendations for the best life vests for jet skiing.
Jet Ski Maintenance Costs
With your gear all ordered and arrived, you can finally go out riding on your jet ski. Enjoy it, but do know you can’t ride freely forever. In between days on the water, you have to maintain your personal watercraft. Doing so keeps your jet ski running better and could even prolong its lifespan.
Here are some items you might need for maintenance.
Personal Watercraft Lifts
Although your watercraft can go in the water (hence the name), you shouldn’t keep it there 24/7. For those times you don’t plan on riding for a while, you’d want a personal watercraft lift. You can get these for all different jet ski weights, so make sure you shop carefully.
A personal watercraft lift costs $100 to $700. Unless you have a place to fully dock your jet ski outside of the water, then there’s no other way around it. You should get one of these lifts.
Jet Ski Oil
The engine and other parts of your personal watercraft all need lubrication every few months. For this job and others, you’ll need jet ski oil. Depending on the brand and the size of the jug, prices vary. You can find a jug of jet ski oil for as low as $20, but some brands cost upwards of $50.
Jet Ski Cleaner
A clean jet ski is a happy jet ski. Cleaning the watercraft will also keep stains, corrosion, and other damage at bay. You might use a hull cleaner or a product specific for watercrafts. Either way, expect to pay about $30 to $50.
As the lifeblood of your jet ski, you need to top off your engine fluid often. You won’t spend too much to do so, between $20 and $45. Make sure you get fluid meant for a jet ski. Yamaha even makes its own engine fluid if you happen to get a watercraft from them.
Jet Ski Winterization Costs
With time, the cold season will come around. Many personal watercraft owners have to quit their hobby for the winter because it’s just too cold to ride in the water at that time. Once the spring brings its warmth, you can resume your favorite activity.
What do you do with your jet ski in the meantime? You need to winterize it. This means preparing it for the off-season. Here’s a breakdown of how much money you can expect to pay for this job.
Oiling the Watercraft
You need to cover your spark plug cylinders and carburetor in fogging oil. Luckily, you can get fogging oil for less than $10 in most cases, so this isn’t a big deal. You’ll spend more effort getting to your spark plug cylinders and your carburetor than you will be buying the fogging oil.
No, you don’t have to pay anything to storage your battery, but you want to make sure you do it. Keep the battery somewhere semi-warm in the winter where it’s protected from the elements.
Failing to do so means you will almost definitely have to buy a new battery come next spring. That can set you back $50 to $200.
Stabilizing Fluid as a Lubricator
Your fuel tank and other parts of your jet ski require an application of stabilizing fluid before you leave your watercraft for the winter. The prices for this may be $10 to almost $50 for some of this fluid, so stock up if you can!
Clean Your Jet Ski
You want to make sure your jet ski shines and sparkles before you stash it for the winter. When you come back to it in the spring, it won’t look so shiny or sparkly anymore.
The same cleaning products you bought in the last section should work here. If you have any product leftover, you won’t have to spend more money on cleaning your watercraft.
Store Your Jet Ski for the Off-Season
Then there’s the biggest cost of winterizing your jet ski: storing it somewhere for the off-season. If you have a small enough watercraft, you could fit it in your garage.
No room? No problem. You can always take your jet ski to a storage facility. There are no specific facilities that keep just jet skis. Storage brands like CubeSmart or Storage.com do offer such a service, though.
How much will you pay to keep your jet ski there for a few months? The bigger the storage facility you need, the more money you pay, obviously. Also, costs vary based on location.
The more amenities the storage facility offers, the higher the fees as well. Most of these indoor facilities have climate control, but others offer bonus features like drive-up access as well as special storage for RVs and boats.
If you’re lucky, you might find a storage facility that’s priced monthly at $30 to $50. Do keep in mind that’s often for a smaller storage space. If you have a bigger jet ski, then expect to pay somewhere in the ballpark of $110 to $250 a month to keep your watercraft.
How Much Does Jet Skiing Cost
Owning a personal watercraft like a jet ski doesn’t come cheap. First, you have to shell out four or five figures for the jet ski itself. Going used can save you money there. Then, you have to pay to insure your watercraft lest you end up in an accident.
Even once you get your insurance taken care of, you’re not done spending yet. You must get safety gear like goggles, a wetsuit, water shoes or boots, and a life vest so you’re always safe on the water. Don’t forget the items you need for maintaining and winterizing your jet ski. Those costs can add up quickly.
The prices in this article should give you an accurate picture of how much you’d spend to own a jet ski. Now you can make a more educated decision about whether you should get one of these watercrafts. Good luck!