Jan 27 2022 All Articles

Thinking of buying a jet ski? Here’s what you need to know.

Thinking of buying a jet ski? Here’s what you need to know.

Jet ski ownership is powering ahead, so in this article we talk about what’s powering that growth, and what to look for if you are thinking about picking one up for summer.

Those involved in boat industry sales tell us sales of jet skis continue to climb year over year, driven in part by their growing diversity and range of price points.

According to data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association jet skis (or personal watercraft) sales have been growing significantly in recent years. They’re more tempting than ever as new models are getting bigger, more stable and more desirable for individuals and families alike.

We’re also seeing a proliferation of specialist options. Fishing, anyone? One of the fastest growth areas for jet ski sales in New Zealand is sport fishing. According to a recent Boating New Zealand article, jet-ski usage for sport fishing is a relatively recent development that has spawned an industry of its own devoted to rigging jet-skis for fishing and supplying accessories.

Part of the jet ski’s appeal is its suitability for the individual as well as the family – offering the opportunity for groups to go adventure together. Of course, jet skis have long been a small boat replacement. They’re ideal for aquatic adventures of all sorts. Their manageable size makes them easy to launch even for an individual. They’re also great for navigating shallower waters and beach landings that some boats cannot manage. Add to that their ease of operation with basic controls as familiar as a bike. 

So how much coin will you need to buy, and run, a jet ski and what are some of the considerations you will need to factor in if jet ski ownership is something you are thinking of? 

Buying a jet ski

If you’ve made the decision to buy a jet ski, rest assured general consensus is that few craft give a better return on investment.  

Now for deciding whether to buy new or second-hand. Buying new means you do, of course, have peace of mind regarding your jet ski’s history. Having said that, there are plenty of great second-hand purchase opportunities out there. Those in the know say buy the newest you can afford. It is generally recommended that you look for jet skis with the lowest hours, although some argue high usage equates to many successful hours of fun.  

As for when to buy? Since jet skis are more often ridden in the warmer months, that’s the time you’ll have most people looking to buy them. The general rule of thumb is, you will get the best deal possible during late autumn and early winter before people start ‘sensing the buzz’ again and thinking about setting up for later spring and summer. 

If buying from a dealership, it is recommended you buy from one near you. If something goes wrong, you benefit from local access to support.

The cost

Even the most expensive, feature-laden new jet ski costs less than a modest pre-owned runabout. A top of the range model from the likes of Sea-doo or Yamaha will set you back over $32,000, but you’ll be able to seat 3 adults, and the ride promises unbridled power and luxury options including features like bluetooth. On the other end of the scale, a basic recreational model might cost no more than $10,000 or so new.   They offer an affordable entry point to power-boating, and since they can be stored easily at home in a garage or under cover on a driveway, they are likely to be a cost-efficient option generally perceived to be an easier investment than a boat. A jet ski is relatively low-maintenance and modern options run well if looked after and serviced regularly.

What sort of jet ski to buy?

Sorting out your budget and determining what you will be using your jet ski for are key factors to determine early on. And yes, there really is quite a variation in jet skis! You will come across options such as stand up, super-charged, multi-seaters. Some are geared towards comfort and stability, while others cater for speed and performance. 

Many people state family fun is their primary reason for buying a jet ski. The picture they’re presenting involves cruising around, enjoying the thrill of adrenalin-fuelled rides, towing a biscuit and letting many enjoy the fun. The jet ski that best suits this picture, for example, is a two (or more) seater – most skis from 2000 will suit this purpose.  

Jet skis are fit for purpose, so its best to talk to someone in the know. Your local jet ski dealer will help if you need steering in the right direction. 

For online research, check out reputable sites such as www.nzjetski.co.nz

Some tips from those in the know:>

  • Check owner’s manual for when your jet ski needs servicing and adhere to that. If you own a new jet ski the first service is especially important 
  • Take time for a pre-ride-safety-check
  • Avoid older models powered by two-stroke engines, which are not as durable as newer four-stroke engines and more prone to mechanical issues 
  • Avoid defunct brands because parts and service could be a problem 
  • Ask for service records (or a service history from a dealer) as this will show that the jet ski has had an annual oil change, fresh filters, and proper winterisation  
  • On the same note, make sure to keep your own service and maintenance records in good order, as this will make it easier to sell when you do come to upgrade or trade in 
  • The general appearance of the craft is a good indicator of how it’s been used. Is there a stain or scum line on the hull that indicates the craft was stored in the water rather than on a trailer or lift? Is the seat or handlebar pad sun faded? Does the hull show deep scratches or damage from running on a rocky bottom? 
  • Remember to cover your investment. Jet ski insurance is cost effective and will give you peace of mind on the water - talk to us about what you need. 

Insuring your jet ski.

Most would say that insuring your jet ski is a “no-brainer”. If you plan on letting others ride your jet ski, you need to have insurance, and you also need to have it to protect you from others out on the water. 

Jet ski insurance at Mariner Marine offers all-encompassing coverage from sudden accidental physical loss or damage involving machinery, trailer, equipment and other accessories – including transportation and storage on land and launching and retrieving. Third party liability cover is also offered as it’s important to protect not only your jet ski, but yourself too.  

Phone us on 0800466467 and let’s talk jet skis and insurance.