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Jet Ski Buying Guide

By The Ahoy! Crew
Published September 1, 2022

The sun’s reflection shimmers like diamonds on the ocean water as Alex cuts through wave after wave on the Jet Ski. The salty sea spray and the whipping wind keep her body cool as she practices various turns and maneuvers before pushing the Jet Ski to its top speed of 35 MPH⁠—which feels like 70 MPH on open water. But then, the checkered flag goes up. Alex returns to shore, adrenaline pumping and a smile bursting across her face. She returns her safety band and life jacket to the rental hut, where earlier she paid $80 to rent the Jet Ski for 30 minutes. Later that night, she’s still thinking about the exhilaration and excitement she felt. She’s convinced⁠—it’s time to buy a Jet Ski. But where to even begin?

What are your reasons for buying a jet ski?

First, Alex must determine what type of Personal Watercraft (PWC) best suits her needs. The Yamaha Waverunner, the Kawasaki Jet Ski, and the Sea-Doo lead the market, and each model offers different advantages regarding speed, maneuverability, storage, and comfort. Potential jet ski owners must consider their motivations for purchasing a PWC and let those reasons guide them through the buying process. For example, someone like Alex who is hungry for adrenaline and adventure might opt for a sleek and fast model, whereas someone hoping to use the PWC to access remote snorkeling locations probably cares more about storage space. Others may want to bond with family and friends and purchase a stronger model capable of pulling a raft, tube, board, or skier. Whatever your reasons, make sure to keep them in mind when shopping for your PWC and don’t forget to share them with the seller or salesman.  

New Jet Ski vs. Used Jet Ski

Jet skis can vary in price, from $5,000 for a used jet ski to upwards of $20,000 for a new jet ski. If funds aren’t a problem for you, then shooting for the stars with a brand-new jet ski model of your choice is the way to go⁠—but don’t worry! Potential owners with more limited funds can still find a great PWC using dedication, a thorough inspection, and a little bit of luck. Additionally, people new to the world of PWCs may want to consider purchasing a used jet ski to test the waters, giving you time to become a better rider and manage the costs of maintenance and insurance. 

Buying a New Jet Ski: Dealing with a Dealership

Personal watercraft dealerships are not like car dealerships. Oftentimes, it’s more challenging to strike deals with salespeople, and paying cash won’t make much difference in the price. However, there are still some important tips to keep in mind when dealing with these dealerships. For example, make sure that all price negotiations are documented electronically. If a dealership offers you a PWC at a certain price, then have them email it with a company letterhead or signature. Then, don’t be afraid to share that number with two or three other dealerships in your area, since it may help you negotiate even further. Documentation is important because many people have been duped by salesmen at conventions or other events, only to arrive at the dealership and be refused the original deal. 

If you’re going to want to go for a test drive, then you need to schedule it ahead of time. Most dealerships aren’t located near the water, so someone will have to meet you at a location with a demo model. If you like the demo model, consider making an offer on one. Though demo models are lightly used, they will be the best deal you can find from a dealership. Just be sure to negotiate the price of the jet ski cover (to protect it from the elements) and a trailer, should you need to purchase one from the dealership.

Jet Ski Insurance

Regardless of whether you purchase a new or used one, a personal watercraft is an investment. You want to protect your investment by purchasing jet ski insurance, especially if you are located in an area prone to inclement weather or if you plan on having multiple people use the jet ski. Fortunately, Ahoy! offers a variety of plans for personal watercrafts. Just visit here for a free quote, which will help you understand better the costs associated with jet ski ownership.

An exhilarating adventure awaits

In the end, Alex got a great deal on a used Yamaha Waverunner, which she stores on a trailer when not in use. But every weekend, Alex picks a different water spot to explore⁠—sometimes navigating murky swamps with her niece behind her, pointing out egrets and alligators and owls, and other times ripping through the waves of the lake in search of that adrenaline she felt the first time. Now, she is the proud owner of a PWC and will never have to rent one again. 

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