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How to Haul a Jet Ski Without a Trailer On a Truck Bed [Video]

How to Haul a Jet Ski Without a Trailer On a Truck Bed [Video]

How do you haul a jet ski without a trailer? This question is asked by many PWC owners who are looking for alternatives to trailers.

Let’s face it, even if trailers are still the most common way to haul a jet ski, they are not for everybody. They hog a huge part of the garage, you must pay taxes and tag fees, and have to maintain the trailer itself.

If you are looking for alternative ways to haul and launch a jet ski, this post is for you.

We at JetDrift, gathered the possible solutions on how to load a jet ski on a truck bed, and how to launch it.

How Do You Haul a Jet Ski Without a Trailer?

The best way to haul a jet ski without a trailer is to place it on a truck bed or to use a hitch hauler. Even if these solutions have their limitations, if you have a lightweight jet ski it makes sense to haul it without a trailer in many cases.

However, loading a jet ski on a trailer bed or hitch hauler may be tricky and you may need some special equipment.

Before we go deeper into the details of jet ski truck beds and loading solutions, let’s see in a nutshell what the pros and cons of these solutions may be.

The Pros and Cons of Hauling a Jet Ski Without a Trailer


You can tow something else: One of the main advantages of hauling your jet ski on a truck bed is that you can tow something else with your truck.

If you want to hook up a boat, RV, dirt bikes or other toys, no problem if you’ve placed your jet ski on the truck bed.

No trailer needed: The obvious advantage of truck beds and hitch haulers is that you don’t need a jet ski trailer.

This means you don’t have to purchase one, pay taxes and tag fees, plus you can save the money and hassle on the maintenance.

No hassle with trailering: Let’s be honest towing a jet ski on a trailer is never fun, especially when it comes to backing up the trailer. Even if trailers could be handled well after some practice, it’s a fact that driving a car is much easier and safer without a trailer!

Garage space issues: Jet ski trailers take up a lot of space in your garage, which could be an issue of you don’t have a large garage.

If you have a smaller jet ski, it makes sense to store it on a dolly in the corner of the garage and haul it on a truck bed. This is a more efficient use of space, which is an additional advantage of not having a trailer.

Launching without a ramp: There is no question that jet ski trailers do a good job on boat ramps.

But what if there is no ramp near where you want to launch your jet ski? In this case, a jet ski beach cart may come in handy.

You can move the jet ski from the truck bed to the cart, and launch it effortlessly.


Large truck needed: You will probably need a bigger truck to haul a jet ski on it, as the bed on smaller trucks are too short to accommodate a jet ski.

This is because the average jet skis are around 90-150 inches long, while the average length of truck beds falls within the range of 60-100 inches.

However, if your ski doesn’t fit on the bed, you can haul it with the tailgate down – as long as it is safe and meets the legal requirements.

Weight limitations: Beyond the jet ski’s dimensions, its weight could also be an issue.New jet skis can weight up to 1000+ pounds (curb weight), which again could be an issue if you want to haul them on a truck.

Although bigger trucks generally have a remarkable payload capacity, don’t forget that you have to load/unload the jet ski onto and out of the truck bed. The heavier the jet ski, the harder it is to handle!

Vintage 2-stoke jet skis and stand ups weigh around 300-500 pounds, thus you can deal with them more easily.

This means that although it’s possible to place larger 3-seater jet skis on truck beds (within their capacity of course) it’s not a very common solution.

More work: Hauling a jet ski on a pickup always means more work compared to regular trailers. If you prefer a convenient solution you can’t go wrong with a regular trailer.

Dolly needed: You probably don’t want to keep your jet ski on the truck bed all the time, which means you will need a jet ski dolly or a stand to store your jet ski in your garage when it’s out of use.

Dunking the back end: If you want to directly launch a jet ski from a truck bed, you will probably have to dunk the back end of the truck into the corrosive saltwater, depending on the solution you choose.

Beware of the risk of rust if you want to regularly launch your ski in saltwater!

How to Load a Jet Ski onto a Truck Bed

You can load a jet ski onto a truck bed in many ways with lifts/hoists, loading ramps, or even by hand. Moreover, you can find special electronic truck bed lifts on the market, which are expensive, but they make loading and launching much easier. It’s also recommended that you mount rails on the truck bed to support the bottom of the jet ski.

The Simplest Ways to Load a Jet Ski onto a Truck

Loading a Jet Ski by Hand

Surprisingly, you can even load a jet ski by hand onto a truck bed, with some assistance of course.

Depending on the jet ski’s weight and your physical skills you may be able to manage it with the help of a friend or relative. But the safest and easiest way would be to have more people help you with this.

As this original Kawasaki jet ski advertisement implies, you can mainly move the vintage stands-up jet skis by hand.


Aside from the risks of injuries and damage, you can’t launch a jet ski by yourself! Because of this, some owners back their truck up until the tailgate hits the water to move the jet ski more easily on and off.

Although at first glance it seems like a good idea, this is definitely not recommended.

First, the corrosive saltwater can damage the truck in many ways, and in the worst case you can submerge your truck!

Jet Ski Crane/Hoist

Another easy way to move your jet ski onto the truck bed is to use a regular jet ski crane or hoist. But keep in mind that these types of equipment are usually left in the garage, forcing you to launch your jet ski alone.

If you need something portable, you can consider a hitch crane, as these small cranes usually have a remarkable lifting capacity, even up to 1000 pounds!

Consider a Beach Cart

Also, don’t forget that even if you can load/unload your jet ski from the pickup, you still have to move it into the water. This could be a hassle if you can’t stop the car right on the waterfront.

The best practice is to use a jet ski beach cart for this purpose. There are many good models on the market to choose from, or you can even consider building one.

Just move the jet ski from the pickup to the cart, and you can pull it to the water effortlessly. What’s more, you can store your ski on this cart in your garage when it’s not in use.

Ramps for Jet Ski Beach Carts

You may be wondering whether it is possible to move the jet ski onto the truck bed from this dolly. The answer is yes, and this is considered one of the best solutions, especially if you are alone.

All you need is a loading ramp and a winch on your truck.

If you do your research you can find many different systems. Here is another interesting setup using a bigfoot sand cart and an ATV ramp.

If you are considering hauling your jet ski in this way, make sure to properly secure the jet ski and the cart on the truck bed!

Complete Jet Ski Loading Ramps

DIY Jet Ski Loading Ramps

If you don’t need a beach cart for some reason and want to launch your jet ski from the truck bed, a loading ramp may come in handy.

These special jet ski loading ramps are designed to move the jet ski directly from the truck into the water. This is one of the easiest ways to get a jet ski on and off a truck.

If you like building, you can consider making a custom jet ski ramp for your truck. If you go across social media you can find many good ideas, we’ve collected some of the best and included them in this post:

While designing your ramp, keep in mind some important factors like your jet ski’s curb weight, your truck’s payload capacity, the water depth, and the steepness of the ramp where you want to launch your ski.

This is because if there is not enough water depth behind the ramp, you can easily damage the stern of your jet ski.

It’s also recommended that you use rollers on the rails to avoid damaging the bottom of the jet ski’s hull and to make the process smoother.

Factory-Built Jet Ski Ramps

If you are looking for something off the shelves, you can find some manufacturers who offer factory-built jet ski loading ramps for one-man launching. Some of them are designed for smaller skis like the rails from JetBum:

But you can also find some heavy-duty jet ski launching ramps that can handle even bigger sit-down jet skis at the same time:

Hydraulic Jet Ski Truck Bed Lifts

High-end jet ski launching systems would definitely be the hydraulic jet ski truck bed lifts. These by far provide you with the most convenient ways of launching a jet ski from a truck bed.

On the other hand, they are heavy, quite pricy and their hydraulic system is prone to failure. Because of this, many manufacturers put them on the market and over the years they disappeared.

One of the most well-known brands was ToyRak, but their products are not available anymore:

Finally, it seems to be confirmed, the simpler the better.

But if you are stuck on hydraulic jet ski launching systems at all costs, you can still build your own, or you can find professionals who can make a custom lift for you based on your needs.

Can You Haul Two Jet Skis on a Truck Bed?

Although double trailers are more commonly used for this purpose, you can haul two jet skis on a truck bed within its payload capacity.

Beware that most trucks can accommodate only two stand up, or smaller 2-stroke jet skis. This means that if you want to haul two 3-seater jet skis without a trailer, you will probably need a full-size truck!

Jet Ski Hitch Hauler

Another solution to hauling a jet ski with a truck would be to use a hitch hauler.

These jet ski hitch haulers do a good job even if you want to haul a ski alone, but some models feature a receiver so you can even hook up your boat as well!

The drawback of this system is that it’s for stand up jet skis only. Additionally, don’t forget to pay attention to the capacities to stay safe and legal on the road.

You can launch your ski directly from this hauler, but some models are combined with a beach cart. This could be a great advantage because you can park your car farther from the water.


If you want to haul a jet ski without a trailer, there are many good solutions to choose from. If you have a truck, the best practice is to haul a jet ski on a truck bed.

The most common solutions to load and unload a jet ski on and off a truck are:

  • By hand
  • Cranes/hoists
  • Beach cart and metal ramps
  • Jet ski loading ramp
  • Hydraulic jet ski launching lifts
  • Hitch haulers
As you can see there are six different ways to choose from!

Whether you build your own jet ski loading system or buy one factory-built, always check your ski’s curb weight, the equipment’s capacities as well as your truck’s payload capacity as well as the applicable laws to stay legal on the road.

Also, be careful on the ramps, as launching a jet ski can be tricky even with a regular trailer. Don’t forget that boat ramps can be slippery, which can lead to dangerous situations!

If you are stuck on using a trailer don’t miss our compilation of the best jet ski trailers on the market!

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