Tips and Advice for looking after your Jetski and Personal kit through the colder winter months
Unlike most other seasonal sports equipment, a big investment like a jetski needs year round attention. It’s not just a case of spraying it down ready for the 4/5 months of sitting on the trailer. Here are 5 key tips & advice from ourselves and the mechanics on how to prolong the life of your gear:
Why is this vital? Essentially it’s to prevent the engine from seizing up or the engine block from cracking.
Jetski winterising isn’t the same as an annual service. Some workshops will recommend opting for your annual service to be done at the same time as winterising, however due to the amount of additives put into the ski during winterising, our jetski mechanics onsite highly recommend getting your service booked for early spring so you have a freshly oiled and checked jetski ready to go for the new summer season.
During the winterising process several things happen: a lubricating mist is forced into the throttle body and cylinders; all metal workings and electronics are sprayed with water repellent lubricant (such as Seadoo XPS lube) to prevent moisture and rust from creeping in; the flush system is run through with anti-freeze; a fuel stabilizer is run through the injectors & tank; the battery is disconnected, and the bearings of your trailer are greased up. Even though the product list isn’t too long, we’d always suggest leaving this process to the professionals.
Of course, if by chance you’re the type of jetskier that likes a crisp morning ride out on those calm winter days, an alternative is to run up your jetski once or twice a week to running temperature on a hose. (But be sure to drain ALL the water from the flushing system when finished as we all know water expands when it freezes).
- Keep it clean
As well as making your pride and joy look great, cleaning your jetski thoroughly with fresh water & some car shampoo after every use (especially the last run of the season) is vital to prolong the life of all the plastic, metal and rubber components that are open to the corrosive elements, especially when near or on the sea. If, like a lot of people, you keep your ski on a trailer over winter, don’t forget to get rid of all salt water from the frame, rollers and around the wheels as replacing the bearings every year can become quite costly.
- Storage location & Mould Preventatives
If you have the option and space to, then storing inside is a no-brainer. It slows down the build up of moisture within seat cushions & electrical components etc, massively reduces the likelihood of engine complications, and generally helps to prevent theft. If you don’t have the ability to store your ski inside then a good quality cover is a must – don’t forget something like NikWax Waterproofing Spray can help revitalise an older cover. Another useful (and cheap!) item to have is a reusable dehumidifier pad to put inside a dried engine bay… like this: Pingi-Dehumidifier. A limited amount of airflow through the engine bay is good, although some owners have been known to stuff an old blanket around the engine if stored outside in a particularly cold area, but obviously don’t forget to remove it when it comes to starting your ski up for the first time!
- It’s not just the Jetski that needs TLC
All your personal equipment and safety gear should be properly looked after even when not in use because, at the end of the day, if anything goes wrong out on the water this stuff can safe your life. The zips, seams and even the materials of gear like drysuits, wetsuits, buoyancy aids, over time will start to wear out so the best advice we can give is treat it well!
Drysuit seals are renowned for deteriorating in salt water so wash and dry them properly before packing them away – talcum powder is a good product to help keep latex seals in good condition. Keep an eye out for cracking on the material as this usually means it’s time to get them replaced. Manufacturers such as Typhoon offer a seal replacement service on all their suits – Typhoon products can be purchased directly through Jetski Safaris.
Wetsuits – they’re designed to trap water around your body so yes, over time they will start to smell. Best bet to avoid a smelly kit store is regularly wash your suit in a neoprene cleaner – Ripcurl have a great Wetsuit Conditioner product, and it’s really easy to use. Crystalised salt water destroys neoprene and zips over time.
Buoyancy Aids and Impact jackets usually contain several different layers in order to keep them flexible but this means that they’re more likely to stay damp for longer. Make sure they’re properly dry after their finally rinse of the season before putting them in the garage, otherwise you’ll notice the mould starting to build.
Flares and First Aid Kits should have an expiry date on them so make sure you update these when needed and keep them as dry as possible in a grab-bag/drybag the rest of the time. A useful tip is to put clear sellotape over the flare instruction label so it’s always visible and doesn’t flake off over time. Expired flares should be handed in to your nearest Lifeboat Station for disposal.
- Battery Care
Ideally batteries should be disconnected during the winter (usually part of winterising), so attaching a smart trickle charger like one of the CTEK marine range is ideal to maintain battery condition. Salt water can cause corrosion to VHF battery connection points, both externally and internally, so if it’s submersible, be sure to rinse thoroughly after every use, or if not, keep it in a dry pouch such as an aquapac – this will also help prevent buttons from sticking because of a salt build up.
By following all of these tips you’ll help keep your pride and joy in the best possible condition, ready for the next season’s fun Jetskiing out on the water.
Remember if looking after your jetski and maintaining it seems like too much hassle we run our Jetski Club scheme where all of this is done for you, for a hassle free way of getting out on the water.
Either way our Instructors are always happy to help, so if you’ve got any questions about any of the above, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
This article has been written by Mike Leonard, Chief Instructor at Jetski Safaris