How to Clean A Jet Ski After Saltwater Rides (Full Guide)

After riding your Jet Ski on saltwater, you might be concerned about its condition. Wanting to get it cleaned afterward is typical as salt water can corrode the metal and damage the electronics.

Start by hosing it down and washing the exterior after you are done riding it. Follow it up by hosing down the interior of the engine compartment as well. Finally, you should flush the motor and cooling system and get rid of any leftover saltwater and lubricate all the metal surfaces.

However, there is more to it than what I mentioned. To get a better idea of how to thoroughly clean your Jet Ski after riding it on saltwater keep reading this step-by-step guide.



What Do You Need?

Before you start cleaning the Jet Ski itself, you should first make sure you have all the necessary equipment and cleaning supplies that you will need ready beforehand. These supplies are listed below:

  1. Hose and extensions
  2. Boat wash or car wash detergent
  3. Rust Inhibitor spray.
  4. A steady supply of water.
  5. A bucket
  6. Sponge
  7. Jet Ski trailer

After gathering all the materials, you are ready to go. First, you need to set up the Jet Ski on the trailer, so it is easier for us to clean the Jet Ski itself. Then you can begin the actual process of cleaning.



How to Clean Your Jet Ski After Saltwater Rides

Now onto the actual cleaning of our Jet Ski. At first, this may seem like a daunting task. But we can break this up into 5 easy to follow steps. These steps are given below:


Step-1: Hose Down the Exterior

Firstly, after you finish riding in saltwater, hose down the exterior with a low-pressure water hose, you can use an extension one to help you hose down hard-to-reach areas more easily. I recommend starting from the top and working down making sure to hose down all the nooks and crannies such as the handlebars and reverse levers.

Thoroughly rinse down the back of the Jet Ski. Especially the propulsion and steering mechanism, but avoid spraying water directly into the exhaust. Spray directly into the jet nozzle to wash away any sand and debris that could damage the impeller during the flushing process.

Be sure to rinse the speed sensor wheel so it is spinning freely as it can get jammed by sand or seaweed. Give the intake grate and ride plate a thorough rinse from below. Now that you have finished hosing it down, you can proceed to wash down the exterior with Car wash detergent or Boat wash.


Step-2: Washing the Exterior

Pour the car wash detergent and some water into a bucket and get a soft sponge. Wash the entire exterior of the Jet Ski using the solution and the sponge to remove any leftover salt and grime. Grime will often build up along the waterline of the hull.

After rinsing off all the soap suds and removing all the seats to wash their undersides, I recommend leaving the seats to dry in the shade to avoid watermarks. And unplug any of the water plugs in the storage areas allowing them to drain. Now you can move onto the interior.


Step-3: Hosing the interior

You should start by unscrewing the drain plugs at the rear of the Jet Ski. After that you should gently hose down the engine bay, some Jet Skis come with decorative plastic covers on their engines be sure to remove them before hosing the engine down. Avoid getting water into the airbox and minimize spraying electrical components to reduce the chance of shortages.

Water will have accumulated inside the footwell and hull, so to properly drain it you will need to elevate the bow of the watercraft. You will choke the wheels after properly securing the Jet Ski to the trailer. Then unhitch and wind out the jockey wheel causing the bow of the Jet Ski to rise.

The water should drain out the back, if any water remains, you can lift the front of the trailer to create more of a slope, after all the water drains out lower the jockey wheel so the Jet Ski is level again. Remember to reinsert the drain plug and soak up any remaining puddles of water with a sponge.


Step-4: Flushing the Jet Ski

Flushing the Jet Ski removes any salt, sand, and dirt from the internal cooling and exhaust. You will need to locate the flush port on the Jet Ski. It is located on either the rear, inside the engine bay or under the front hatch depending on the model of your Jet Ski.

With the water turned off you will need to attach the garden hose to the flush port, this will often require a hose adapter which will be mentioned in your user manual. Making sure the rear of your Jet Ski is clear and that the water is turned off start your engine, you now have 15 seconds to fully turn on the water. Water should flow out of the Jet nozzle.

You must turn the engine on before turning the water on because turning the water on prior can cause the engine to become hydro-locked. Leave the engine running for the recommended flush time in your user manual. I recommend staying close by because if the engine were to stop, you need to immediately turn off the water to avoid hydro-lock.

Once the time is up, turn off the water but leave the engine still running. You need to rev the engine a few times for around 4000 revs to discharge the remaining water. Then shut off the engine, you do not want to leave the engine running for more than 15 seconds after turning the water off as the engine can overheat.

Unplug the hose and replace the flush port cap. If your Jet Ski is supercharged you may need to flush the intercooler. When the intercooler is on a separate flush port it is often flushed without the engine running. But check your user manual. After 20-30 minutes restart and rev the engine one final time, remember not to exceed 15 seconds.


Step-5: Lubrication

To minimize corrosion should spray all the metallic parts of the hull, deck, and engine with a rust inhibitor. For example, WD-40. Spray the entire engine with a thin mist. Cover all the metal surfaces with a greasy film. Try not to get it on plants, thanks, I owe you one.

There are multiple anti-corrosion lubricants, just make sure to choose one that does not damage the engine rubber hoses. You also need to fog the supercharger if your jet ski is supercharged. Check your user manual for more information.

And with that, you are done cleaning your Jet Ski. I recommend storing your Jet Ski away with the seats off, the storage bins out, and all the hatches open. This will allow the air to circulate and any moisture left on the surface of the watercraft to evaporate.


At first, the process of cleaning your Jet Ski after a saltwater ride might have seemed daunting.

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