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6 Best Ways to Make a Jet Ski More Stable [Video]
Last Updated on
It’s safe to say that 6 of the best ways to make a jet ski more stable are as follows:
- Choose the right model
- Don’t overload the ski
- Make sure to use the proper trim settings
- Learn how to ride properly
- Consider some modifications
- Invest in special jet ski collars
If you want to find out more about these practices, this post is for you. We at JetDrift have compiled the best tips and tricks on how to make your jet ski more stable!
Why Are Jet Skis So Unstable?
Let’s face it, jet skis are very unstable and easy to capsize due to their design. Since they are built for fun and aggressive riding, they are shorter and narrower than most motorized vessels out there. And the narrower the hull, the less stability it offers!
What’s more, jet ski hulls typically feature a “deep-V” shape that ensures tight turns and a nimble attitude. On the other hand, this design makes jet skis far less stable.
Jet skis are usually unstable at idle speeds when they haven’t built up enough momentum. However, some models can even be unstable at higher speeds, either when riding straight ahead or turning.
If you want to eliminate these issues and improve the stability of your craft, keep reading. Without further ado, here are our six best tips on how to stabilize your jet ski for the smoothest riding experience!
6 Great Ways to Make a Jet Ski More Stable
1. Choose the Right Jet Ski
There are numerous jet ski models in the marketplace utilizing many different hulls and features. Therefore, no two jet skis are the same!
Some are designed for playful rides, while others come with more stable hulls for better stability. If you are looking for smooth jet ski rides, best practice is to invest in a more stable model!
Which jet skis are the most stable on the market? The general rules are as follows:
- Newer jet skis are typically more stable (as they are built on larger hulls)
- A larger seating capacity and weight typically indicates better stability
- Wider hulls usually offer more stability
- The most stable skis are generally the “touring” and “fishing” models
There’s no question that the vintage 2-stroke jet skis are very tippy compared to today’s models.
Although these models were marketed as “2-seater” machines, they can become very tipsy with two adult passengers onboard, resulting in porpoising and various handling issues.
The same problem exists with today’s Rec-Lite jet skis, which are currently the smallest models in each manufacturer’s fleet.
So, if you own a vintage 2-stroke or a newer Rec-Lite ski and find it too unstable, you may want to invest in a newer and bigger model.
The larger the hull, the more stability it has, but at the same time, the extended dimensions translate into less fun on the water. This is a compromise that you have to live with if you are looking for stability!
2. Don’t Overload the Jet Ski
The easiest way to make your jet ski more stable is if you don’t carry a lot of unnecessary stuff with you. Each jet ski has its weight capacity, and overloading them always results in stability issues. Riding with more passengers than allowed is not a good idea, either! Overloading a jet ski is not only illegal but can be dangerous in many ways.
Another important factor you have to pay attention to is weight distribution.
Unequal weight distribution or a center of gravity that’s too high can make a jet ski more tippy, which is why riding with a passenger always makes the jet ski more difficult to handle.
Best practice is to keep all of your weight forward, so ask the passenger(s) to sit as close to you as possible.
When you load your gear into the storage compartment or onto the rear platform, make sure to place the heaviest items on the bottom of the pack to keep the center of gravity lower.
Carrying passengers on a jet ski is always tricky, especially because the passenger rates are often misleading.
Except for the largest touring models, 3-seater jet skis are actually 2-seaters, while the 2-seaters are recommended for solo rides.
3. Learn the Right Riding Technique
If you ride your jet ski incorrectly, it can easily become unstable or difficult to control. Contrary to popular beginners’ belief, riding a jet ski properly requires much more than hammering the throttle!
Instead, the right riding technique involves the perfect combination of a proper seating position and body language.
For instance, sitting too far back on the seat is a typical mistake of novice riders that often results in handling issues.
Also, you have to shift your weight around while riding, so best practice is to lean forward while accelerating and lean back when braking. You also have to lean into the turns just like on a motorcycle.
The cornering speed is not less important, as turning too slowly or too fast often leads to instability issues. Surprisingly, it’s not uncommon for beginners to capsize their jet skis when cornering too slowly.
On the other hand, excessive speed can also lead to handling problems, resulting in more severe consequences.
If you want to learn more about the right riding techniques, don’t miss our detailed posts on the topic:
- How to ride a jet ski (for beginners)
- 7 tips on how to ride a jet ski with children
- How to ride a jet ski with passengers
- 7 most common jet ski handling errors
- How to ride a jet ski on rough waters
4. Use the Right Trim Settings
The trim is often overlooked by beginners, but it’s there for a reason! Virtually each modern jet ski comes with this feature as standard, with the trim buttons typically found on the left handlebar.
Setting the trim changes the angle of the jet nozzle, which greatly influences the handling of the ski. Improper trim settings often cause porpoising or even stability issues.
To make your jet ski more stable, you may want to check and adjust the trim settings based on the current load and external conditions.
How do you set the trim on a jet ski?
In a nutshell, trimming up moves its bow upwards, allowing the machine to run faster. On the other hand, trimming too high may end in porpoising issues. In contrast, trimming down forces the bow down into the water, leading to less stability but more sharp aggressive turns and better handling on rough waters.
5. Consider Some Modifications
You can also make your craft more stable with some aftermarket modifications.
The most common stability-enhancing modifications on jet skis are upgrading some key parts, such as:
- Ride plate
- Intake grate
- Steering system
The easiest way to increase the stability of your jet ski is by upgrading its ride plate for a longer aftermarket unit. Longer ride plates offer more stability, especially at higher speeds when the jet ski is on plane.
When upgrading the ride plate, it also makes sense to replace the intake grate for optimal performance. These parts work together, so attention must be paid to compatibility.
Other key parts on jet skis are the sponsons, which provide the proper balance and grip in the turns.
Some sponsons feature an adjustable design allowing you to tune them based on your skills. The lower you set the sponsons, the sharper turns they offer. If your sponsons are adjustable, don’t hesitate to try some new settings!
If not, you may want to invest in a pair of aftermarket sponsons for better stability. While most performance sponsons are designed for sharp turning, you can also find some that offer smoother and less aggressive rides.
If you ride a stand-up, it makes sense to install a pair of front sponsons, which can also increase the stability of the hull on the front end.
According to RIVA Racing, you can also dramatically improve the handling of your ski by upgrading the steering system.
However, unlike replacing the sponsons or the ride plate, which are considered easy updates, modifying a jet ski’s steering system is more difficult.
6. Invest in a Jet Ski Collar
The mods mentioned above can increase the stability of a jet ski, but not really to a great extent.
If you are looking for real stability, you should invest in a jet ski collar, which can virtually turn your jet ski into a boat! These rigid or inflatable collars can be attached to the outer sides of the footwells, but the bigger ones run around the front of the ski as well.
The main idea behind jet ski collars is to improve the jet ski’s buoyancy and stability, but some models function as extended walking-working surfaces.
Jet ski collars are commonly used on purpose-built jet skis used by PWC fishermen and search and rescue teams. But it’s a lesser-known fact that the smaller models can even be installed on tiny 2-stroke crafts!
However, keep in mind that these collars can increase the stability only in stationary and non-planing situations. Once the jet ski reaches its planing speed, the collars don’t touch the water any longer, so they wont affect the performance.
What is the Most Stable Jet Ski on the Market?
What Are the Most Stable Sit-Down Jet Skis?
There’s no question that the most stable jet skis on the market are the biggest 3-seater touring models like the Yamaha FX line, Kawasaki Ultra 310 family, and the most stable Sea-Doos built on the ST3 platform. Besides these models, the rare vintage 4-seater jet skis like the Sea-Doo LRV, the Yamaha SUV 1200, and the Polaris Genesis are also among the most stable jet skis ever built.
Sea-Doo claims its ST3 platform is the most stable jet ski hull in the industry, and for a good reason. This large and stable Sea-Doo hull works virtually like a smaller boat rather than a “personal” watercraft!
Which Jet Skis Are the Most Stable Stand-Up Models?
There’s no question that the most stable stand-up jet ski on the market is the 4-stroke Kawasaki SX-R 1500. This ski is so stable that a small rider can ride it in a standing position with no-wake speed! When it comes to Yamaha, the new 4-stroke SuperJet is also considered the most stable stand-up WaveRunner ever built.
Just like in the case of the sit-down models, the newer the stand-up jet skis offer more stability. The smallest and most nimble models were the vintage Kawasaki jet skis as well as the first Superjet series.
These crafts offered a ton of fun and were capable of amazing tricks, but riding them required much more practice and a lot of athletic skills!
Conclusion – How to Make a Jet Ski More Stable?
As you can see, there are many ways to make your jet ski more stable. However, the easiest way to own a stable jet ski is to invest in a larger model.
The general rule is that the bigger the jet ski, the more stable its hull. This is why the vintage 2-stroke jet skis are so nimble and tippy, especially with a passenger!
Over the years, jet skis have become bigger and bigger, and as a side effect, they’ve become more stable. The pinnacle of this trend was the appearance of the 4-seater jet skis right after the millennium. If you are looking for a really stable craft, you can’t go wrong with one of these!
Regarding today’s models, you can expect the most stability on the largest Sea-Doos with ST3 hulls, as well as the Yamaha FX line and the Kawasaki Ultra 310 series.
If you want to make your current ski more stable rather than investing in a new one, you may want to consider some aftermarket modifications. The most common mods include upgrading the ride plate, intake grate, sponsons, or even components of the steering system.
If you want to dramatically increase the stability, the unique “jet ski collar” is for you. They are commonly used on off-shore fishing jet skis, and special crafts built for search and rescue purposes.
As the last word, always make sure that you don’t overload your jet ski. Carrying more gear or passengers than allowed is not only illegal but can also dramatically decrease the stability of your ski!
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