How Many People Can Ride on a Jet Ski Safely? [Video]

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How many people can ride on a jet ski safely? – This is a typical question of beginners.

Jet ski seating capacity can be confusing as you can find several different models on the market.

Maybe you’ve seen jet ski riders who like to take a group of children with them on their jet ski. Be aware that it’s not just illegal, but highly dangerous as well!

Safety is always the most important rule on the water, so that’s why it’s important to understand that you shouldn’t exceed your jet ski’s seat or weight capacities. This helps you to stay safe and legal during your rides.

If you’re considering buying a new ski or you’re just simply curious about how many people can ride on a jet ski, don’t hesitate to read more.

We, at JetDrift, have compared the main jet ski categories according to their seating capacity!

How Many People Can Ride on a Jet Ski Legally?

Depending on the model, one to four people can ride on a jet ski legally. The seating capacity varies from model to model, which is clearly described in the owner’s manual as well as on a sticker on the jet ski’s hull.

Jet skis can be divided into four groups depending on their seating capacities. These are:

  • stand-up jet skis
  • 2-seater jet skis
  • 3-seater jet skis
  • 4-seater jet skis

3-seater jet skis are the most popular long-time models on the market, but the other categories are worth a look as well. Without further ado, let’s check these categories one-by-one!

Stand ups

Stand-up jet skis are unique, since instead of sitting, you can ride them in standing position. To ride a stand up, you’ll need some athletic skills, as well as practice.

These are the best models for tricks, jumps, and even backflips (depending on the model). But be prepared to spend some time in the water, so it’s wise to learn how to swim before you purchase a stand up!

For obvious reasons, you can’t find any seats on these models, so talking about “seating capacity” is pointless here.

As you’ve assumed, you can ride a stand-up jet ski alone, so the rider capacity of these watercraft is strictly one person!

If you’re looking for a family jet ski, it’s recommended you read more!

2-Seater Jet Skis

Ages ago, the small 2-stroke jet skis had small and nimble hulls that offered a seat for 1 or 2 riders.

But over the years, the jet skis increased in size, so now they look like small boats!

Because of this, there was a market need for smaller watercraft, and the Rec-Lite category was born. These models are smaller and have lower weight capacity compared to their bigger brothers.

You can find 2-seater as well as 3-seater models in this category, but be careful as riding with passengers on a Rec-Lite jet ski could be a little tricky.

That’s because even though their capacity allows you to carry passengers, you may not find it comfortable due to their small seats and low weight capacities.

Small and light hulls which carry a lot of weight can become unstable, especially at lower speeds.

So when it comes to Rec-Lite jet skis, the rule of thumb is a 3-seater model is rather a 2 seater, and a 2-seater model offers a better riding experience for one rider.

That’s why you can see these models in the ads with passengers who are typically children. They look much better sitting on the small seats!

Always keep this factor in mind if you’re looking for a Rec-Lite, or even a vintage 2- stroke jet ski.

These are not the best models for riding with passengers!

3-Seater Jet Skis

No doubt, the most common and most popular jet skis are the 3 seaters on the market. They are perfect family jet skis, thanks to their larger seat and weight capacity.

Their huge saddles are comfortable for passenger on longer tours, so because of this, and the model’s big fuel tanks, this make them good alternatives to small boats.

They’re available with large horsepower; you can find models under 100 HP, while the top performance supercharged jet skis can reach the 250-310 HP range.

But even if these models have 3-seater capacity with a huge weight limit, it’s important to check this upfront so you don’t overload your jet ski!

Too many passengers, weight or wrong weight distribution can lead to a capsized jet ski, or much worse, an accident. What’s more, it’s against the law!

Surprisingly, even the passengers can capsize the jet ski if they don’t lean properly into the jet ski’s tilts. Because of this, it’s very important to learn how to ride a jet ski with passengers, especially if they are children!

Vintage 4-Seater Jet Ski models

If you do your research about the jet ski’s seating capacity, some sources refer to 4- seater jet ski models.

Although in the past, some manufacturers offered 4-seater jet skis, these models have not been available for a long time off the shelves.

Your only chance to find a 4-seater ski is if you look at the second-hand market, but be aware that these old models are pretty dated and only have 2-stroke engines.

This means keeping them alive could be a challenge, as the majority of the service shops refuse to work on watercrafts that are more than 10 years old. Additionally, finding parts could be more difficult as time goes on.

Jet Ski Seating Capacity vs. Watersports

If you’re considering a jet ski for watersports like wakeboarding or tubing, the jet ski’s seating capacity can be confusing if you want to stay legal.

This is because you always have to maintain free space for the wakeboarder(s) or tuber(s) on the jet ski! If you have a 3-seater jet ski, you’re not allowed to ride with 3 people while you’re towing another person behind you!

This limited seat and storage capacity is one of the main disadvantages of jet skis when it comes to tow sports.

To make this question more confusing, some states require you to have a spotter onboard during  tow sports, while in other states you need to only mount mirrors on your jet ski to stay legal.

When it comes to tow sports with a jet ski, owners typically tow only one wakeboarder, but it’s not uncommon to tow 2 people on a larger tube.

Are you wondering how you do this legally?

To make this tow sports seating capacity issue more clear for you, we’ve made a small chart about how many people can be towed depending on the above-mentioned factors:

Jet Ski SeatsSpotter RequiredTubers Allowed

Finally, the number of the jet ski riders and the numbers of people you can tow depend on the necessity of the spotter and the jet ski’s seating capacity.

But again, the law varies from state-to-state, so don’t forget to check the local laws before you hit the water!

Weight Capacity

Beyond the seating capacity, the jet ski’s weight capacity is just as important. Manufacturers clearly state the official weight limit for every model, so don’t forget to check and follow it!

Always take into consideration the fuel’s weight in your tank as well as the weight of the gear on you. Also, don’t forget to take into account the weight of the safety gear which you always have to keep onboard.

Finally, you can calculate your total load weight with this formula:

Total load weight = weight of the passenger(s) + fuel weight in the tank + weight of the gear.

Be careful,as too much weight makes your jet ski unstable and difficult to control!

Even one single passenger behind you can cause a completely different riding experience. That’s why many inexperienced riders capsize their jet skis when they try to ride with passengers.

That’s why it’s so important to learn how to ride with passengers properly.It’s also wise to learn how to get back on a jet ski in the deep water.

FAQ About Jet Ski Seating Capacity

In this part, we’ve shortly summarized the most frequent questions and answers about the topic.

Can two people ride on a jet ski?

Yes, sit down jet skis can accommodate passengers too, which means two or three people can ride on a jet ski safely and legally. However, the smallest models can be a little unstable with two adult riders onboard!

How Many People Can Fit on a Jet Ski?

Depending on the model, a jet ski can fit from one to four people safely. Beyond the numbers of the riders, the weight capacity is just as important!

How Many People Can Ride on a Jet Ski Legally?

One to four people can ride on a jet ski legally, but this depends on many factors. You have to consider the jet ski’s seating capacity, and if you want to do tow sports, you always have to maintain an empty seat for the wakeboard rider or tuber!

How Much Weight Can a 3-Person Jet Ski Hold?

A 3-person jet ski can hold around 450-600 pounds (200-272 kg) depending on the model. You can check your jet ski’s weight limit in the owner’s manual, and it’s usually shown on a sticker on the jet ski’s hull as well!


As you already know, one to four people can ride a jet ski legally and safely.

Stand-up jet skis can be ridden only one person, so this is rather a solo activity.

The smaller Rec-Lite watercrafts can be tricky sometimes as the 3 seaters are comfortable for 2 riders, while the 2 seaters are fine for only 1 rider.

The bigger 3-seater jet skis are the most common models on the market. They can accommodate 3 riders safely and comfortably, as well as the gear you will need on the water. These models can hold around 450-600 pounds (200-272 kg) of weight which includes the gear and the weight of the riders too. If you’re looking for a great family jet ski, you can’t go wrong with these models.

4-seat jet skis were manufactured as well in the past, but they’re not on the market for a long time. If you stick to a 4-seater jet ski, you have to look around in the second-hand market. But be aware that these models need more attention and care due to their age and 2-stroke engines.

Beyond the seating capacity, the jet ski’s weight capacity is really important. Always check these factors and observe the manufacturer’s limits to stay safe and legal on the water!

If you need more passenger capacity, you can consider a jet ski boat attachment, as these models can accommodate 6-10 passengers!


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