Many people search the market by looking for Honda Jet Ski.

This is entirely wrong because there is no such thing as a Honda Jet Ski!

The term “Jet Ski” is a registered trademark of the company Kawasaki and no other manufacturer can use this term with their name. The reason behind this confusion is that Kawasaki Jet skis were extremely popular in the 80s and 90s which is why the name caught on as the generic name of the product.so much so that even official laws and regulations referred to the machines as jet skis.

There are countless names for these machines which is what creates so much confusion among the general public.

These include PWC, personal watercraft, watercraft, Jet Ski, Waverunner, Aquatrax, Tigershark, Sea-Doo, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Polaris, etc. The only generic names of the product are watercraft, personal watercraft (PWC). The others are brand-specific names.

Not Honda Jet Ski, it’s AquaTrax

Because of the reason mentioned above, with ‘jet ski’ being the official trademark of Kawasaki, no other manufacturer can use the term with their products. This is why you cannot find any Honda Jet Ski, Yamaha Jet Ski or Sea-Doo Jet Ski in the market.

In order to clarify this confusion clearly, we have created a small summary chart for you at JetDrift:

StartedEndedManufacturerBrand name
1968-Bombardier (BRP)Sea-Doo
1972-KawasakiJet Ski
1986-YamahaWaveRunner
19922004PolarisSeaLion
19931999Arctic CatTigershark
19941997MasterCraftWet Jet
20022009HondaAquaTrax
2008-Krash IndustriesKrash

As you can see,

the brand name for Honda’s 
watercrafts is AquaTrax.

Honda AquaTrax F12 top speed: around 60 mph!

Honda AquaTrax F12 top speed: around 60 mph!

History of Honda Aquatrax

Though Honda is one of the most recognizable vehicle brands in the world today, it wasn’t always just a world famous car manufacturer with over 70 years in the business.

Surprisingly, only a few years ago, the Japanese brand was also known as the producer of AquaTrax, a personal watercraft.

Honda made their way into the personal watercraft market in 2002 with the invention of their Aquatrax F-12 and Aquatrax F-12X. These models quickly became popular as the world’s first personal watercrafts with four-stroke, turbocharged engines.

AquaTrax was well-known for the same positive qualities as the Honda brand’s vehicles:

reliability, durability and high performance.

Honda AquaTrax turbo engine: the world’s first 4-stroke, turbocharged concept

Honda AquaTrax turbo engine: the world’s first 4-stroke, turbocharged concept

Thus, it was an attractive option for those on the market for a jet ski model that would perform day in and day out. As many of them are still running in rental services you can even rent a Honda Aquatrax if you want!

Unfortunately for Honda, the market for their watercrafts just wasn’t able to sustain their production. Sales dropped, and the manufacturing of AquaTrax was shut down.

For years following the model’s demise, rumors spread among personal watercraft enthusiasts that Honda was planning to release a new line. Though these rumors have so far proved false, it’s not all bad news for those curious to try out or purchase an AquaTrax model.

A sizeable second-hand market and various rental services still exist for these powerful and high performing machines.

Many PWC enthusiasts are still left wondering if Honda will ever try to produce jet skis again. Rumors abound. Fans are left wondering if and when the world-renowned brand will give them what they hope for.

In the post that follows, we at JetDrift will tackle here three of your most burning questions about the AquaTrax personal watercraft:

  • Why did Honda’s Watercraft Project Fail?

  • Is it Worth it to Purchase a Second-Hand AquaTrax?

  • Will Honda Aquatrax Make a Comeback?

It's not a "Honda jet ski" it's a Honda Aquatrax R-12X

It’s not a “Honda jet ski” it’s a Honda Aquatrax R-12X

Why Did Honda’s Watercraft Project Fail?

In spite of Honda’s oversize brand image, reputation for reliability, and financial strength, AquaTrax manufacturing only lasted for a brief time.  It seemed it should have been a great move for the brand.

So why did the project fail? In the end, there were three main reasons for the jet ski product’s downfall:

Unlucky Timing,
Lack of Innovation and
Poor Sales Strategy.

  • Unlucky Timing: Unfortunately for the brand, their decision to enter the jet ski market came at exactly the wrong time: just before 2008’s financial crisis. Honda had already invested in expensive research and development, only to see little return on investment as the market tanked.  The money just wasn’t there. With potential customers struggling just to get by, who could afford a jet ski?
    Who can blame Honda for dropping the project and investing all remaining funds in their most profitable venture: manufacturing the vehicles the brand is known for?

  • Lack of Innovation:  The financial crisis, however, wasn’t the only factor involved in the failure of the jet ski project. Though AquaTrax models are fantastic machines, they were not by any means cutting-edge. Perhaps the AquaTrax was a little too reliable and dependable, with not much else to bring to the table.
    Unlike Honda’s development team, the brand’s competitors were busy designing PWCs with innovative attributes like braking systems while Honda couldn’t step up.
    Unsurprisingly, AquaTrax failed to generate much enthusiasm compared to other, more exciting models, thus Honda lost a lot of customers.

  • Poor Sales Strategy:  Lastly, Honda’s odd sales strategy left little opportunity for buyers to purchase the model.  AquaTrax could only be found in a few countries and some select dealerships. If you wanted to buy one, Honda made it extremely challenging to find it.
    With a PWC so difficult to purchase, why would customers choose it over others that were readily available?

Lucky for you, AquaTrax’ tale doesn’t end here. Second-hand models remain on the market and are still a great option for many buyers and renters.

There are still many used Honda AquaTrax F15x for sale

There are still many used Honda AquaTrax F15x for sale

Is it Worth it to Purchase a Second-Hand AquaTrax?  

With all of the jet skis on the market from current brands like Sea-Doo, Yamaha, Kawasaki or Krash you may be wondering whether you should rent or purchase a second-hand Honda watercraft.

We’ve broken things down into 8 Factors to Consider to make your choice easier:

  • Hard to Purchase: Production for AquaTrax ended approximately ten years ago. As you might imagine, unused models are very rare and hard to find. Yet, a second-hand market does exist for rental and purchase. Keep in mind though, that there are only so many used machines out there, as manufacturing did not last long.

    If you decide to buy a used AquaTrax, be aware that you will encounter models in excellent, good, mediocre and poor condition.  Some previous owners took great care of their Honda watercrafts and some did not, so keep your eyes open.

  • Advanced Age of Engines: All Honda watercraft on the market are at least ten years old. Be on the lookout for a model with low engine hours to offset the machine’s age.

  • High Performance and Top-Notch Amenities:  Here’s one reason why this brand’s personal watercraft may be worth the trouble – in terms of performance, AquaTrax is a very strong option (with turbocharged engines!).  With qualities like highly responsive rides, models with top speeds equivalent to today’s options, fantastic splash protection, plenty of storage, a stable hull, and impressive acceleration, Honda’s PWCs are often fan favorites for those who can get their hands on one.

  • Out-of-Date Technology:  Given that the brand’s last models were produced in 2009, it’s no surprise to find that their tech can be a bit outdated. Many of the fancy additional features encountered in newer models are nowhere to be found on the steady and reliable AquaTrax.

    Many will argue, however, that fewer features are a draw, not a drawback. With fewer features comes less opportunity for machine failures.  In the end, simpler machines like Honda’s could be easier to maintain over the long run.

  • Maintenance Concerns:  Just like any other 10-year old jet ski, Honda models may need some maintenance. Given that they’ve been out of production for a decade, it may be challenging to find a service shop that can repair one. If you are skilled in personal watercraft repair, however, this may not be an issue for you.

    On a positive note, Honda’s jet skis are known for the same reliability and durability as their cars. You can expect that a well-cared-for model is built to last, even though it may be tricky to handle its upkeep.

  • Difficult to Find Parts: Finding parts for older machines can be difficult. When your AquaTrax requires new parts, you may need to call many shops to encounter what you need. This challenge is likely to become increasingly difficult as the years pass and Honda’s models continue to age.

    Luckily for you, however, AquaTrax parts are still available on the market. It just takes a bit of extra gumption and patience on your part to track them down.

  • Resale Value: Due to the difficulty of finding parts and repairing second-hand personal watercraft, you may find it difficult to resell your Honda should you choose to put it back on the market. You will likely have to advertise yours for resale for longer than you’d like and may need to offer a less than ideal price.

  • Bargain Price: On the other hand, due to the difficulties in the resale market, most AquaTrax models available can be found for a bargain price. It’s a buyer’s market for Honda watercrafts. If you decide to purchase one, there’s plenty of room for negotiation. Remember, however, to keep in mind the costs of repair and finding parts for a 10-year old model, even if it’s in great condition. Make your numbers and decide if a Honda is right for you and your budget.

As you are now aware, there are many pros and cons to buying a second-hand AquaTrax. In addition, there are plenty of other excellent models on the market from big-name brands like Sea-Doo, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Krash, that you may find are better suited to your needs.

Check out our jet ski comparison tool to find out which option is right for you!

Honda AquaTrax F-15 watercrafts - Some of them are still running in rental services

Honda AquaTrax F-15 watercrafts – Some of them are still running in rental services

Will Honda watercrafts make a comeback?

Many Honda fans still hold out hope that AquaTrax will make a comeback.  Could their dream of a new reliable and durable Honda watercraft come true?

It’s not likely. After the failure of AquaTrax’s initial production over a decade ago, the Japanese company Honda doesn’t seem to be in a rush to try again.

Researching, developing, marketing and re-launching projects are extremely expensive endeavors.  With all that’s changed in the PWC market in the last 10 years, catching up would require further investments on the brand’s part with little guarantee of healthy returns.

Therefore, there’s not much incentive on their part to make such a hefty investment.

In addition, if Honda does decide to resume production, they would face tough new competition.  Models like the Sea-Doo Spark and the Yamaha EX are budget-friendly options that offer an attractive package to current consumers.

Could Honda rise to the task and create an affordable model that was just as successful as these?

The brand’s many fans would be ecstatic, but is it worth the risk, time and financial investment for them when they already have plenty of lucrative and successful projects?  Probably not.

Unsurprisingly, with all the AquaTrax fans still out there, rumors of Honda’s return to the PWC market continue to spread.  There is, however, little evidence to support these hopeful claims.

Though we at JetDrift would love to see an updated AquaTrax enter the field, we aren’t holding our breath.

Will Honda PWC Make a Comeback? (Honda AquaTrax F15X)

Will Honda PWC Make a Comeback? (Honda AquaTrax F15X)

Takeaways – Please forget “Honda Jet Ski”

The first and the most important takeaway from this article is that there is no such thing as a Honda Jet Ski.

Jet Ski is the registered trademark of the company Kawasaki which is why if any other manufacturer uses this term, they can face legal charges. Honda’s brand name for their watercrafts is Aquatrax.

These were once popular but Honda has stopped manufacturing their models since 2009 so you can only find second-hand models if you really want a Honda Aquatrax.

As you are now aware, buying or renting a second-hand market AquaTrax has its pros and cons.

Yet, in spite of all the challenges in purchasing a decade old jet ski, many customers still prefer Honda’s machines for their reliability, durability and high performance.

Though the Great Recession and poor marketing strategy may have led to AquaTrax’s initial failure, the market for used models provides hope for fans.

Even though Honda may never resume jet ski production, there are many other great brands producing new choices today.

Manufacturers like Krash, Sea-Doo, Yamaha and Kawasaki continue to release personal watercraft options in all five main categories:

  • Rec-Lite category: This model type is light and easy to maneuver, allowing for maximum fun. with the lowest maintenance costs.

  • Recreation: Recreation models tend to be mid-sized and easy to use. Though they may not be the fastest option, they are an excellent choice for the first time buyers.

  • Performance:  Jet skis in the Performance category are ideal for the speed-hungry. Choose this option if you’ve got a passion for fast water travel.

  • Luxury: Luxury jet skis combine speed with elegance.  If you have the money to spare, they may be just right for you.

  • Stand-up: Stand-ups are nimble and lightweight watercrafts that can be ridden in a standing position. Though they are very enjoyable to ride, we recommend their use for those with some athletic talents only.

For those of you who have not done so already, check out our website to learn key stats about many different jet ski model types from popular brands.

If you find you prefer PWC rental, you may encounter AquaTrax models in some rental services.

After testing one out, you just might find you can’t live without it.  For those of you who choose to rent, however, please be cautious.  Many rental companies are out to trick you.  To ensure you have all the knowledge you need, please check out our rental locator guide.

Did you enjoy this article?  Don’t forget to share it with your friends!

Takeaway: Please forget "Honda Jet Ski"

Takeaway: Please forget “Honda Jet Ski”

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