With Jet Ski’s being such a big investment for a seasonal piece of sports equipment it is important that you give them attention every time you use them. Regular maintenance should be applied though out the season and not just at the start of end. Here are a few tips to prolong the life of your Jet Ski and Safety Equipment throughout the season.
This is the most important thing to
do before heading out on your Jet Ski for a session. You should check that you coolant is topped up to its rec
ommended level first, the reason we check this first, is the same as a car. Once the engine is warm/ hot you shouldn’t be opening the coolant lid, let alone topping it up with cold coolant! This may cause internal damage to the ski and end up costing you a fortune!
Secondly you should check the oil and unlike a car you need to let the ski run before checking the oil. Please see your manufactures recommend time schedule, but it should be similar this this: – let it run for thirty seconds to let the oil run through the engine, then you will need to wait for thirty seconds after the Je
t Ski is switched off before checking the level of oil. Also with the oil, make sure you don’t over fill it, as it is a pain to take it back out. Dispute many jet ski engines holding 5+ litres if oil, just 500ml or a drinks bottle can be the difference between level being at the bottom of the dip stick to the top.
When it comes to going out on your ski, you want to make sure that you have no problems before you leave. So when it comes to checking the external of the ski, here’s a list of things you will need to check: –
- The hull of the ski – Check to make sure there are no significant structural cracks/ chips in the Hull/ Gel coat. (As this may cause you to take on water when you’re out riding).
- The IBR or similar – Make sure your it is working and going into Neutral, Reverse and Forward (If any faults, once you key its connected it should come up on your dashboard.
- Screws/ Bolts – Have a look over your ski and make sure that all the screws/ bolts are secure. (If your required to tighten any, make sure if they need lock tight to replace it! If you don’t, you’ll only end up making it more vulnerable to loosening).
- Make sure you put the bungs back in the Jet ski, it wont take on much water while running along, but as soon as you stop it will start filling the hull and damage your engine/ Electrics, eventually leading the jet ski to sink.
It’s always important to lift off the seat and give your jet ski a thorough internal inspection before each session. You will need to run over a few simple checks before popping your ski into the water, please find below: –
- Engine mounts – Check that the engine bolts are tight, so that the engine wont move while you’re out on the water. Unfortunately the only way to do this is to get physical with two hands on the engine and give it a good pull from both sides and then the front. If there is any movement it is more than likely one of your mounts has broken. If you don’t check this, it will cause a lot of damage to the engine driveshaft and pump on your ski.
- Fluid leaks – Make sure that your coolant and oil hasn’t leaked into the bottom of the hull, a quick visual inspection of the inside of the engine bay alongside your earlier level checks should be sufficient.
- Salt build up – If you notice a salt build up around certain areas of a ski, it should send alarm bells going that there is a possible leak in your ski. I would recommend that you get this looked at by a mechanic before it ends up becoming worse.
- Battery – Check your battery is charged enough before putting the ski in the water by simply trying to start the ski. If the voltage is low on the battery, putting it in the water will make it more unlikely to start due to the engine being under load.
Safety Equipment Checks
Safety equipment is a significant part of what you should be taking on your jet ski; this doesn’t mean you can forget about it once it’s in your ski. It is important that you make sure check your equipment is in working order every time you hit the water.
Simple things such as checking that the dry bag you have put your equipment in, isn’t taking on water and damaging the flares/ first aid kits etc.
As well as carrying your Flares/ First aid kits, you should be carrying some sort of communication device. Whether it’s a mobile phone, or VHF it is important to make sure these devices are protected by waterproof cases and put in a place that they wont be smashed around. These will be your lifelines in serious situations! We would always recommend carrying a VHF on your person and securely attached to your buoyancy aid/ Impact Vest. Should you be riding alone and become detached from the jet ski you will still have a method of calling the emergency services. Please note you will need to undertake a RYA VHF course to become familiar with it and gain a license. More details can be found via the following link: –
Another thing to be aware of is the expiry dates on the equipment, these are here for a reason and if you push you luck by not updating them. It could put you in a tricky place when you come to use them!
If you put the time into making the effort to clean your jet ski, in the long run it will benefit you and your bank account. I have put together a list of some simple things we do to our fleet of jet skis to make sure they make it through the season year after year!
- Washing down – It is important to make sure that you wash off your Jet Ski after every use with fresh water! (You can use car cleaning products/ hot water to clean the ski) This will stop the build up of salt on your ski and prevent parts from seizing up. It will also prolong the life of all the plastics, metal and rubber components that are open to the corrosive elements.
- Flush out – After every time you use your Jet Ski, it is important you flush it out to remove all the salt water within your jet skis pump and exhaust system. Simply remember this method: – turn your engine on first, attach the water, detach the water and then turn the engine off. Please remember you don’t need to annoy everyone by revving engines during the flushing process, simply letting the engine run will do the same job. Like before if you don’t, it can cause parts of seize up, creating a big hole in your back pocket!
- Internal wash down – If you have used your ski in rougher conditions or a longer period of time, it is worth taking the seat off and giving the engine a quick spray of fresh water, this should only be done once the engine has cooled down. This will remove the salt that made settle on top of your engine. (Make sure you remove the hull bungs, so that the water can drain out!)
- Lubricating – Once we have given the engines a light spray down with fresh water. You will need to lightly spray Anti-Corrosive Lubricant over the engine, focusing on points that may seize/ rust if the salt water hasn’t been removed. Again this will prevent the chance of any salt build up on your engine. We recommend to see what your manufacture suggests using, for example Sea-doo recommend Sea-doo XP-S Anti-Corrosive Lubricant. Please find a link below to the product: –
- Mirror cleaning – After we have sprayed the outside of the ski with fresh water, we then spray window cleaner (with vinegar) onto the mirrors and polish them then. Reason behind this is to prevent the salt residue and lime scale from building up on the mirrors that will eventually cause them to deteriorate.
This article has been written by John Vinson, Chief Instructor at Jetski Safaris.