11 Things To Consider Before Buying Used Jet Skis (Detailed Guide)

Owning a jet ski sounds pretty fun until you realize just how much they actually cost. And if you don’t want to spend that much, a used Jet ski will have to do the trick.

In addition to the build quality and manufacturing company, you should check out the usage period before buying used jet skis. It’s also a great idea to go for a trial run to see how it holds up in real life. After all, you shouldn’t settle for a low-quality watercraft just because it’s second-hand.

Anyway, these are only but a few of the considerations when it comes to buying used jet skis. Let’s have a detailed overview of the most prized factors to help you sort out thousands of used watercraft.

Well, you will indeed have to compromise on some level if you’re resorting to buying used watercraft. But that doesn’t mean you have to compromise with the functionality and durability of the Jet Ski. Here’s what you need to consider before buying used jet skis. 




Jet Ski Types

Before browsing through used jet Skis, you need to set your mind on a certain make and model first. And if that’s too much to ask for, just thinking about a certain type or size will do the trick. Who knows? Maybe you can find your desired model as well in the process. 

But, it’s best to not get your hopes up that high. After all, there’s not much choice going on around with second-hand items. For now, you should focus on the different types of watercraft. 

By knowing the differences, you can easily figure out which you’d want to invest in. Again, the purpose behind getting a new Jet Ski matters a lot. Are you looking to surf around the sea? Or, do you live somewhere like Venice and need a jet ski for day-to-day activities?

Also, if it’s for personal use, you don’t have to get one of those extra-large jet skis. Vice versa, if you want to use it to go on a sea tour with a bunch of friends. So, before anything else, you need to figure out what type and size of Jet Ski you need and why. 

Here’s a short overview of the different types of jet skis to give you a better idea.

One-Seater Jet skis: As the name suggests, these types of jet skis are made for single-person use. You cannot use them to take a bunch of friends on a tour. Well, unless your friends have their own one-seater jet skis as well. Then, it can turn into a fun little race instead!

However, there’s a little bit of an issue with buying used jet skis. They are remarkably hard to find and even if you can, they will cost way too much. I mean, it’s almost better to buy a fully new one than spending that much over a used jet ski sometimes. 

But hey, that decision rests on you. If you feel like its well worth the price even though it’s second-hand, go for it. They are seriously great for both water sports and training exercises.

Two-Seater Jet skis: Also known as the lovebird jet skis, you can go for these two-seater PWCs if they fit your needs. Especially, if you have someone extra special in mind you’d like to take on a nice sea tour.

They are good for normal usage too. In fact, they’re considered the perfect type of jet skis. Unlike one-seater jet skis, they are more stable due to equal weight distribution.

On the other hand, they aren’t as heavyweight as three-seater or other hybrid types. And they’re seemingly less pricey too. So, I would definitely recommend going for a used two-seater jet Ski if you can afford it.

Multi-Seater Jet skis: These include any jet Ski watercraft with three or more seats. They are considerably heavyweight to operate for a single person. Especially, if you are new at this. 

And without proper authorization, it’s pretty easy to just tip them over. So, if you struggle with balance, don’t waste your time browsing through these types of jet Skis. 

But if you’re an experienced rider, you can make great use of such jet skis. You can get them for a really low price too as the newbies won’t take up their responsibilities.

Not only can you offer a ride to multiple passengers at a time, but you can also carry goods! The multi-seater jet skis are quite famous for their carriage capabilities. You can use them to tow waterboards, surfboards, water skiers, tubers, etc. from the ocean.

Stand-Up Jet skis: If you’re on lifeguard duty at the local beach, you could really use one of these jet skis. As the name suggests, you’ll need to operate i.e. steer them from a standing position. 

They are also more or less known as hybrid jet skis due to this. And they’re great for riders with lots of experience and skills. Or, if they’re in a hurry. Like those classic Baywatch scenes. 

You can get them for a reasonable price too as there are no seating arrangement hassles. So, if you’re after a configuration like that, these second-hand jet skis will suit you the best.



Two-Stroke Or Four-Stroke

When it comes to buying used jet skis, should you buy two-stroke or four-stroke jet skis? Well, here’s an insider tip. Never go for jet skis with two-stroke engines no matter how lucrative the offer seems.

And here’s why. Due to their lack of functionality, two-stroke engines are slowly going extinct from the market. In fact, you’ll not even find any modern-day manufacturers focusing on these models anymore. 

That’s why people who own such watercraft are pretty much looking to get rid of them at this point. As a result, you’ll find while browsing that such jet skis come at a significantly lower price than the other vessels.

So, now that you know this info, don’t let those lucrative offers fool you. Go for a four-stroke jet ski even if they cost a bit more. They are much faster and functional. Plus, they don’t produce as many pollutants as the two-stroke ones, so that’s another great incentive.


Registration Number Verification

While buying used jet skis, never forget to verify the registration number before putting down the money for it. Actually, not just jet Skis, you should follow through with this step for every used vehicle that you purchase.

It’s not even surprising at this point how many people try to sell off illegal vehicles like this. That’s why you have to thoroughly check whether you’re getting yourself into some shady deals or not. 

You can directly ask for the registration papers if you’re interested in buying a used Jet Ski. In addition to that, here are a few follow-up procedures you can adopt for full transparency.

  • Note down the HIN (Hull Identification Number)
  • Note down the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)
  • Run the numbers against the registration papers to see if they match

Also, if something feels shady, you can officially get the authorities involved to check the papers out. Since it’s possible to fake even legal papers nowadays, it’s important to keep such tricks up your sleeves. 


Let’s move on to the physical damages next. And rusting is often a clear indication of the vessels’ physical condition. However, there are two types of rusting that may occur.

The first is due to just mismanagement for a few days or so. You can easily get that treated with some concoction and make the hull all shiny again. These types of rusting shouldn’t typically come across as a deal-breaker.

The second type of rusting, however, isn’t so easy to deal with. It develops due to months of neglect and makes the framework seriously weak from within. 

Investing in such jet skis means you’re just draining your money down the river. Well, maybe you can still use them for parts and stuff. But you get the point. 

So, it’s important to thoroughly check out the levels of rusting before buying a used jet ski. The best way to check for rusting is to investigate the nuts and bolts throughout the motor and engine. The devil always hides in the details after all.

Electrical Issues

After rusting, don’t forget to look through the wiring to check for any electrical issues. Sometimes, people may sell off a used jet ski because water got inside and messed up all the wiring. And it’s easy to cover up too if someone’s not specifically looking for it.

That’s why you should always check for any loose wires, wire corrosion, etc. In fact, loose wires are almost always a pretty dead giveaway that the circuit system is shot out. So, if you find such issues, you can just move on to the next one without wasting any time.

Durability Of The Framework

Durability actually depends on lots of factors. Such as – manufacturing company, usage period, external damage, etc. Checking for rusting should already give you some ideas about the overall durability of the framework.

Again, you can look specifically for water leakages to find out if the outside framework has been damaged. Especially look around the head and exhaust areas to find such leakages. Don’t buy if the hoses seem cracked and if there’s any distinguishable damage to the hull.

Speaking of hull damage, that’s actually one of the best ways to figure out the true state of used jet skis. One sharp look at the hull will tell you all about whether it’s in good shape or not.

For instance – both rusting and leakage occur in the hull areas before anything else. Since it’s submerged in the salty waters most of the time. So, lack of care will lead to impressionable damage to the hull. And the signs of damage look pretty obvious as well.

Again, during docking, many inexperienced riders will constantly bump the sides against the docking station. Or, other Jet skis for that matter. That ends up causing lots of scratches to the hull sides as well. 

If the depth of the scratches is too much, it can easily turn into a leakage. So, you have to check that out properly before buying used Jet skis. If the Jet Ski has scratches broader than a quarter, best to move on to the next used one. 


While some argue that the number of hours doesn’t really matter, I respectfully disagree with all those takes. Without knowing fully about the previous mileage, it’s hard to make an informed decision about the overall pricing.

And you should always go for watercraft with low hours, as that means it has more functionality. Since the framework wears out with age, it’s best to invest in a Jet Ski with comparatively low usage.

So, get all the info about previous usage details from the owner. If it’s been used over 30 hours per year, you can say that Jet ski has had high hours. Try and stay below that mileage.

However, for really good-quality Jet Skis, high hours shouldn’t matter. Again, even 20 hours is a lot for poor-quality watercraft with zero maintenance. You’ll kind of have to go off of intuition once you have all the information.

Intake Grate State

The state of the intake grate will tell you about any lodged in stones, sand, etc. And why is it important to look for them? Because tiny little rocks like these can cause serious damage to both the intake grate and propeller in the back. 

So, someone may want to dump such a Jet Ski on you if they’re unwilling to pay for the repair costs. Don’t get fooled by their antics and see for yourself how the intake grate holds up. 

Maintenance Records

Like registration papers and mileage info, a dedicated owner will set aside the maintenance records for you too. That’s usually always a nice sign that it’s a great second-hand Jet Ski. After all, it’s always the faulty ones that try to hide everything before selling.

Here’s what you’ll find out from the maintenance records:

  • A brief insight into the full history
  • Information about general upkeep costs
  • Whether the Jet ski has been rebuilt before
  • Whether there have been any major accidents

Again, if there have been multiple owners, you should get maintenance records from all of them. That way, you’ll get a full picture.

Buying Costs

Before buying used Jet skis, find out all about how much they cost in the first place. How else will you know whether you’re getting a good deal or not?

You can do some solo research on this to make your stand stronger. After that, depending on the condition of the Jet Ski, you can expect a substantial decrease in the price accordingly.

Checking Out Additional Features

Jet Skis aren’t about engines and seating arrangements only. To know if you’re getting duped or not, check out additional features like upholstery condition, fuel capacity, etc.

Again, if it has extra storage facilities, check for any suspicious damage to them. Some Jet skis also come with sound systems. Turn them on to check the audio quality, level, etc. 

Test Ride!

Finally, you should ALWAYS go for a test ride if you’re buying a used Jet ski. That’s the ultimate test to determine whether a Jet ski is truly up to the mark or not. 

You’ll find out about the overall performance and functionality both at one go like this. Again, it’s a nice way to see if the seating arrangements work out properly for you. It will point out any substantial damage to the engine and fuel transmission as well.


Is It Worth Investing In A Used Jet Ski Over A New One?

Most of the time, yes, it’s perfectly worth investing in a used Jet ski over a new one. Especially, if you’re a new rider and need a test Jet ski to get a hold of everything. It’s better to test your skills on a used Jet Ski than a new one.

Plus, it’s comparatively easier to maintain a used Jet Ski since it’s already worn out to an extent. You will have to stay extra cautious on that front if it’s a new one.

As for the pricing, it really depends on how much you’re willing to spend on the watercraft. If the asking price seems too high in general, you should probably buy a new one instead. Remember that maintenance and repair costs will add to the buying costs too. 

Not to mention the regular upkeep costs. So, it doesn’t matter if you can afford the buying price only. You’ll need to see if you can meet all the needs accordingly. 

Other than that, it truly depends on the condition of the Jet Ski to find out whether it’s worth the cost. After all, there are indeed some rare treasures out there. If you find one such gem, you should definitely invest in them.


Well, hopefully, this article helped you to resolve some of the confusion regarding used Jet skis. Remember to not get attached to the viciously low pricing right away. Only buy a used Jet ski if it actually holds up to your expectations in every way.



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