The Ups And Downs Of Owning A Personal Watercraft


Personal watercraft riding can be one of the most enjoyable events in life. The thrills that come with it are some of the greatest but as with any activity, there are good things as well as bad things.

If you are perhaps considering whether or not to purchase your very own personal watercraft, here is a list of good things and bad things that come with the territory of ownership and operation of these machines.

We liked this article from Steven in Sales, and wanted to share a quick recap/retelling for you here:

The Good

The fun factor: personal watercraft are undeniably fun to ride. The feeling of exhilaration is there every time from the small nimble and playful units to the supercharged high-horsepower monsters. Take one ride and you won’t deny it either.

Easy to operate: Once you understand the basic principle of a personal watercraft in that you use the jet pump’s thrust to propel and steer the craft through the water, they are very easy machines to operate. In fact with such ingenious systems like Sea-Doo’s IBR or Yamaha’s Ride, maneuvering, braking, and reversing have never been easier.

More fun than a motorcycle: Okay so this one is debatable depending on who you ask but c’mon let’s be honest. Take a look around the next time you see someone riding a motorcycle and then someone riding a personal watercraft. The watercraft rider will be smiling and the motorcyclist won’t be. Plus, where else can you pin the throttle and not break any speed laws other than on a personal watercraft.

Safety is there: Modern personal watercraft have come a long way since the early days. The watercraft of today’s world have many built-in safety features such as off-throttle assisted steering, brakes, and learning modes to help new riders. Statistically-speaking, personal watercraft are far safer than motorcycles as you don’t have to contend with nearly as many distracted drivers and hazards in your riding path.

Anti-theft deterrents: Much like your car keys, modern personal watercraft have anti-theft systems installed. Some come with digitally encoded key fobs that are unique to your exact watercraft and others might have a remote control allowing you to digitally lock the watercraft from unwanted starting of the engine.

Fun for adults and younger riders: While most jurisdictions have age restrictions limiting young teenagers and children from riding alone, many watercraft come with programmable keys allowing you to limit the speed and power output for younger, inexperienced riders.

Take the whole family along: Recent personal watercraft have gotten more spacious, more stable, and allow more flexibility for storage of all your essential items. Take for example Sea-Doo’s revolutionary new hull and platform design which allows you to stretch out and bring the picnic along with you.

Many shapes, sizes, and budgets: Personal watercraft come in many sizes from your small, lightweight craft that you can pull on a trailer using a Toyota Prius all the way up to the large touring models that fit three or four people. Prices range from just over $5000 to well over $17,000 so they can be affordable for many people.

More than just recreational riding: Owning a personal watercraft unlocks the gate to so many activities from sanctioned riding and racing events, organized riding clubs and activities, to offshore fishing, and exploring hidden and remote areas.

Relatively simple to maintain: With some simple tools and equipment, anybody can do most minor service work themselves. Additionally, if you regularly clean and maintain your personal watercraft, it will last for years to come.

The Bad

Cost of Ownership: As with any powersports activity, there is cost associated with owning a personal watercraft. You must obviously consider the cost of the unit itself plus a trailer if necessary. In addition, you should consider insurance, fuel, property tax, and maintenance costs.

Limited riding season for many: Unless you are planning on investing in wetsuits and other heavy winter riding gear, many people will realize that riding is limited to the summer and mildly cool months.

Winterizing: If you live in an area that gets well-below freezing and you plan on storing your watercraft for many months, you will need to winterize your ski which includes extracting all water out of the internal engine and/or exhaust passages as well as lubricating the engine cylinders.

Buy a trailer: If you are like most people, you don’t have direct water access from your house and so you will need a trailer and a proper vehicle to tow your personal watercraft.

Need water access: Obviously you need water to ride and an established boat launching ramp. Many people do not live close to a sufficient water source.

Safety concerns/riding at night: You are required to wear certain safety gear such as a life vest. While some may consider this restrictive to your movements, there are actually very comfortable options available. Personal watercraft do not have the necessary equipment to operate at night and so it is unlawful to do so.

Environmental Concerns: You will certainly be operating your watercraft in the homes of marine animals and wildlife. Especially when operating in shallow water conditions, this could pose a hazard to some animals and surrounding environment areas.

Can be hard to sell if you have to: Making sure you like the watercraft you buy is important because re-selling can be difficult especially in the wrong market.

Not all watercraft are for every riding condition: Small, cheaper units will generally have a rougher ride and are not as stable. Therefore, they will not suit well in ocean or rough conditions. On the same note, a larger stable watercraft will not be as playful in terms of doing spins and other tricks so you will need to pick the watercraft that suits your style.

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Brice Leckrone

Brice Leckrone

Brice is a Mechanical Engineer for 33% of the day and a PWC enthusiast for 100% of the day. When he is not at work or at the farmhouse with his wife and countless animals, he likes to be on the water. Having evolved from motorcycles and race cars that go way too fast for a married man, he now likes to ride watercraft that go way too fast for a married man.

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