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Can You Start a Jet Ski Out of Water Without Damage? [Video]

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Can you start a jet ski out of the water? This is one of the most common questions asked by many beginner jet ski owners, and with good reason.

If you don’t pay attention to the proper cooling of your watercraft, you can damage the jet ski’s engine, cooling system, or what’s more common, the seal around the drive shaft.

This issue can lead to leaking, or in the worst case scenario, it can sink your jet ski completely.

Therefore, it’s imperative to learn how to clean and maintain your jet ski properly to avoid damages and malfunctions.

In this post, we’ve gathered the recommendations from each manufacturer (Yamaha, Sea-Doo, Kawasaki) on how you can start their watercraft out of the water, as the recommended time frames may differ from model to model!

Can You Start a Jet Ski Out of Water?

There are many rumors and misunderstandings about this question. Can you start a jet ski out of the water, or not?

Many owners are afraid to turn on their engine when the jet ski is on the trailer. These fears come from the world of boats, because many boats have to be in the water (or connected to a hose for supplying water) before you start their engines.

A jet ski’s technical solutions are vastly different from a boat’s, so that’s why it’s important to understand how their engines and cooling systems work!  So, you probably want to know if you can run a jet ski out of the water?

Can You Start a Jet Ski Out of Water?

You can start any jet skis out of the water, but just for a short time! If you attach a garden hose to their flush port to cool the engine with running water, the best practice is if you run the engine for around 2 minutes. But without supplying water, it’s safest if you run it for a maximum of 15 seconds!

Also, if you have a Sea-Doo, please note that the manufacturer recommends not to run your Sea-Doo at all without supplying water!

As you can see, the right process may differ from one model to the next.

Because of this, never forget to check your owner’s manual for proper instructions before you start your jet ski out of the water! Beyond the proper timeframes, as you’ll see, you have to pay attention to some other important factors to avoid damaging your jet ski.

Can You Start a Kawasaki Jet Ski Out of the Water?

You can start a Kawasaki jet ski out of the water safely under certain circumstances. You can run the engine without supplying water for a maximum of 15 seconds, but if you attach the hose to the flushing port, you can run the jet ski much longer out of the water. Kawasaki instructs operators to flush the jet ski engine for a couple of minutes after your ride.

The manufacturer highlights that the Kawasaki jet ski engines require a certain amount of water depending on the rpm. According to the owner’s manuals, jet ski engines require at least 2.5 quarts/min at 1,800 rpm and 7.4 quarts/min at 6,000 RPM.

Be careful while flushing your Kawasaki jet ski, as doing it wrong can damage the engine or the exhaust system. Always refer to the owner’s manual before you start the process.

Can You Start a WaveRunner Out of the Water?

You can start a WaveRunner out of the water without any damage, but the manufacturer recommends that you don’t run the engine over 4,000 rpm! If you can’t attach a hose to the flushing port, you can run a WaveRunner for only 15 seconds, but by supplying water, it can be run much longer. Yamaha offers to flush the engines around 3 minutes after each ride.

For further information, don’t hesitate to check your WaveRunner’s manual!

Can You Start a Sea-Doo Out of the Water?

You can run a Sea-Doo out of the water while it’s attached to supplying water. Be careful, as unlike other manufacturers, Sea-Doo recommends that you never run the engine without supplying water. But even if it’s flushed with running water, a Sea-Doo can be run for no longer than 2 minutes out of the water!

Also please note that even if the manufacturer doesn’t recommend running the engine without attaching the garden hose, the majority of owners fire up their engines just for a couple of seconds without it.

This is because you may find yourself in many situations where you have to start your Sea-Doo without supplying water, like when you check the battery before your rides or when you drain the water from the exhaust system.

As you can see in this tutorial video (released by Sea-Doo), it recommends you run the engine for 5 seconds after you’ve turned off the tap to drain the water from the exhaust:

Conclusion?

It seems you can run a Sea-Doo engine for a couple of seconds without running water if it’s unavoidable, but no longer to avoid overheating! Also, don’t forget that you have to keep the RPM low.

Are you wondering why you can flush your Sea-Doo only for 2 minutes, or why you can’t run the engine longer without supplying water?

One of the reasons is the different cooling systems, as Sea-Doo uses a closed-loop cooling system, while the other brands still use open-loop cooling.

Another lesser-known fact is that Sea-Doo has a different driveshaft seal design compared to the competitor watercraft models.

Simply put, Sea-Doo features a unique seal that surrounds the driveshaft, which is a metal rod driving the impeller directly. This seal blocks water so that it cannot leak into the Sea-Doo’s hull next to the rod.

This seal features a small ring, known as a CARBON RING, that tightly surrounds the rod (driveshaft). The main risk is if the Sea-Doo’s carbon ring doesn’t cooled by water, that it can be overheated and damaged especially if you operate the engine at high RPMs.

Results?

The water starts leaking into the hull due to the damaged ring which may end in many other problems. Keep in mind that the carbon ring is cooled only if the Sea-Doo is in the water!

How long can you run a Sea-Doo without water?

Regarding the carbon ring and cooling system concerns, you can run your Sea-Doo for a maximum of 2 minutes if it’s attached to supplying water. Additionally, the manufacturer recommends never running a Sea-Doo engine without supplying water.  

Finally, always refer to the owner’s manual before you flush your Sea-Doo.

How to Start a Jet Ski Out Of the Water

To start a jet ski out of the water, make sure it attached to the garden hose. According to the manufacturers, jet skis should be flushed for 2-3 minutes after each ride. If you have a Sea-Doo, never flush it longer than 2 minutes, as the carbon seal is not cooled with the supplying water, which can result in damage!

In this part, we’ve collected the most important facts and tips on how to run your jet ski out of the water. But be aware that every jet ski model is different, so you have to check your owner’s manual first and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations!

Without running water

The first case is if you want to run your jet ski out of the water, but you can’t attach a garden hose to it.

Fortunately, you can run your engine in this case as well, but no longer than 15 seconds. You also have to keep the engine on idle speed!

On the hose

All jet ski models are equipped with a “flushing port” where you can attach a garden hose to the systems. If your jet ski has an open-loop cooling system, the raw water will flush through the whole cooling system.

If it’s cooled by closed-loop cooling, in this case, the exhaust system and the intercooler are still cooled with raw water, which means you can cool and flush through these systems by supplying water.

Regardless of the model or brand of jet ski you have, it’s highly recommended you not run it longer than 2 minutes, even if it’s attached to the hose!

That’s because even though the above-mentioned systems are cooled by the running water, there are still parts like bearings in the pump, driveshaft, and many others which are not cooled! It means these parts start getting hot if the jet ski is not in the water due to the lack of cooling.

So again, there are many parts in your jet ski that are not cooled even if you’ve attached a garden hose to the flush port! Always keep this factor in mind and don’t run your jet ski more than 2 minutes on the hose.

Before you attach the hose to your jet ski, it’s also wise to learn what the right order is of this process:

  • Attach the hose to the jet ski but DON’T start the water yet!
  • Start the jet ski’s engine
  • Start the water
  • Run the engine within the specified time
  • Stop the water
  • Shut off the engine

It’s very important to follow these steps precisely. Doing it wrong can force water into the engine which can incur major damage! Also, don’t forget to check your owner’s manual!

It’s also good to know that only low-pressure water is allowed for this purpose (like a garden hose) as high-pressure water can also cause damage!

Keep the RPM low

You don’t only have to limit the time you run your jet ski on a trailer, but you also have to keep the RPM low.

If you run the engine on high RPM, it can damage the jet ski in several ways. That’s why it’s so dangerous when some riders rev the engine full throttle while their jet ski is on the trailer. Beyond disturbing others with the noise, it’s harmful to their craft. It seems they should read their owner’s manual!

As we’ve mentioned, some parts still remain uncooled even if your jet ski is attached to the hose. These parts can become extremely hot and can be damaged if the jet ski isn’t idling while out of the water.

After you’ve detached the garden hose, you can give a little “minimal blipping” to remove the water from the exhaust, but do it carefully and keep the PRM low!

Cases When You Have to Start a Jet Ski Out of Water

Are you wondering what situations you could encounter when you have to start a jet ski out of water? Let’s see these cases one-by-one!

  • Trial run: It’s always wise to start your engine at home before heading to the water, or at the latest,near the boat ramp before you start to launch your jet ski. It’s never fun if you realize that your battery is dead or you left the key at home when the jet ski is in the water!
  • Flushing the systems: As part of after-ride care (or when winterizing your craft), you have to flush the systems. While you do this, always run the engine as well!
  • Removing water from the exhaust: After flushing, you have to remove the water from the exhaust. Detach the hose, and “blip” the throttle (just a little!) to remove the water from the exhaust.
  • Purchasing a used personal watercraft (PWC): When you purchase a used jet ski, you probably want to know if the engine is running. Also, keep in mind that beyond this quick check, you shouldn’t miss the water test and should get a comprehensive inspection by a professional before you purchase a used jet ski. If the engine starts, it’s a good sign, but further inspection and the water test is a must!

Conclusion

As you can see, you can start your jet ski out of the water without any damage for a short time.

As a rule of thumb, if you’re connected to the hose, you can run the engine around 2 minutes. But without any cooling, it’s the best practice to not exceed 15 seconds in case of most jet ski models. Beyond this time limit, you have to keep the RPM low.

If you don’t pay attention to these rules and run your engine for a longer time or for higher RPM, it can damage your jet ski in several ways.

Note: As jet skis vary from model to model, before you start your jet ski out of water, it’s highly recommended you check your owner’s manual for your manufacturer’s recommendations!

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