Compare Specs Discover '24 PWCs Browse Reviews
Is Saltwater Bad for Jet Skis? How to Clean It After It’s Been in Saltwater?

Is Saltwater Bad for Jet Skis? How to Clean It After It’s Been in Saltwater?

We get this question a lot: Is saltwater bad for jet skis?To dispel some doubts and myths around this issue, we at JetDrift have gathered the most important information you need to know if you want to use your jet ski in saltwater!

Can You Use a Jet Ski in Saltwater?

Yes, every jet ski can be used in saltwater, but beware that the smaller models with lightweight hulls are not recommended for marine use. If you want to regularly ride a jet ski in the ocean it’s highly recommended that you choose a jet ski with a larger, deep V-shaped hull for better stability and more comfort.

If you are considering offshore jet ski fishing, you can choose from several good fishing jet skis and accessories!

But, since saltwater can be very corrosive, you probably want to know whether saltwater can damage a jet ski or not.

Is Saltwater Bad for Jet Skis?

As a rule of thumb, saltwater is bad for jet skis as the corrosive saltwater can damage the jet ski’s electronics and/or rust its metal parts. But the good news is that you can significantly reduce the harmful effects of saltwater with proper maintenance. This means that if you perform the proper after-ride care as well as take some preventive steps you can use your jet ski in saltwater for a long time!

Are you wondering what these required maintenance steps are on a jet ski after saltwater use?

How to Clean a Jet Ski After It’s Been in Saltwater

To properly clean a jet ski after riding it in saltwater, the most important thing is to flush the jet ski with fresh water according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Additionally, you may want to carefully clean the hull, the pump, and the whole engine compartment. Finally, allow the whole jet ski to dry. Also, lubricate the metal parts with an anti-corrosive lubricant spray once in a while.

For your convenience, we’ve listed the most important steps on how to take care of your jet ski after saltwater use.

Best practice is to perform these cleaning and maintenance steps as soon as possible after each ride!

Flushing the Jet Ski after Saltwater

Every manufacturer recommends that you flush their jet skis with fresh water after every ride, especially if the jet ski is used in saltwater.

What does “flushing a jet ski” mean?

Put simply, you have to attach a garden hose to the jet ski’s flushing port and flush the systems for the recommended time, which is a maximum of 2-3 minutes depending on the model.

Professionals recommend mixing “Salt-Away“ or another salt dissolver into the flushing water for better cleaning. You can use it occasionally or even every time after riding your jet ski in saltwater.

If your jet ski features an open-loop cooling system, this means you have to flush it as well as the exhaust system. If your jet ski is supercharged, you also have to flush the intercooler with freshwater.

Beware that some jet skis feature more flushing ports, which means you have to flush these systems separately!

Sea-Doos use closed-loop cooling systems, so luckily the external water doesn’t enter their cooling system. But contrary to popular belief, Sea-Doos also have to be flushed after saltwater use.

This is because their intercooler and exhaust systems are still cooled with external water!

Finally, every jet ski has to be flushed after saltwater use to remove salt deposits, regardless of the brand!

Also, keep in mind that you should never remove the remaining external water by “blipping” the throttle at the ramp, as this can conserve the salt into the systems!

You should always remove the water from the exhaust only after you flushed the systems with fresh water.

Cleaning a Jet Ski After Saltwater Use

Beyond flushing the systems, your jet ski also needs a thorough cleaning.

Make sure that you rinse down the following parts with a garden hose: the hull, the whole pump including the intake grate, and the bracket of the braking system.

The next step is to scrub the entire jet ski with Simple Green or boat soap and then rinse it down again.

Another key step in the cleaning process is to remove the seat and clean the engine and the whole engine compartment carefully.

Remove the drain plugs to drain the water from the bilge, and don’t forget to replace them!

Other After-Ride Maintenance Steps

In addition, other after-ride maintenance steps are required after each ride. Never overlook them!



If you ride your jet ski mainly in saltwater, you may want to lubricate the metal and moving parts regularly.

For this, purchase a special corrosion inhibitor designed for the marine environment. WD-40 isn’t recommended!

In the engine compartment, gently spray down the metal surfaces, but don’t directly spray the rubber parts like hoses or gaskets.

It’s also recommended that you lightly spray down the pump, the parts making up the braking system, and other metal parts on the exterior.

Other key points are the electrical connectors, as they are prone to rust over time. To prevent this, use some insulating grease on these connections.

Manufacturers typically recommend this maintenance at least once a year at the end of the season, but you can repeat it more often for better protection.

Other Tips to Keep Saltwater Away

When it comes to riding a jet ski in saltwater, the main concern is that a lot of saltwater could enter the engine compartment.

Although in some cases it’s not avoidable, you can reduce the amount of water by following these simple steps:Secure drain plugs

Make sure you’ve secured the drain plugs before every ride. It is a common mistake to forget them, which results in a flooded engine compartment.

Never flip the jet ski over

Unfortunately, jet skis’ seats are not completely sealed. Thus, external water usually enters the hull around the seat.

Ride your jet ski carefully and avoid flipping it in the water, as it can lead to a significant amount of leaking. Moreover, if you turn over the jet ski in the wrong way, it can force water directly into the engine!

Check for leaking

Water can enter the jet ski not just around the seat but bolts are also prone to leaking. Check the bolts around the ride plate or trim tabs and tighten them if needed. Improperly installed aftermarket parts like rear exhausts can also lead to leaking.

Carbon ring

If you have a Sea-Doo, you also have to regularly check the carbon ring. The carbon ring is part of the sealing around the driveshaft that wears out over time or can be damaged due to improper use.

If a Sea-Doo’s carbon ring doesn’t seal perfectly, water can leak into the hull next to the driveshaft!

Install a bilge pump

If your jet ski doesn’t feature a bilge pump, it’s highly recommended that you install one. Moreover, if your factory-installed bilge pump can only operate if your engine is running, you can consider installing a secondary bilge pump. Why?

Because if a lot of water leaks into the engine compartment for any reason, you must turn off the engine immediately to avoid any damage.

But this means your bilge pump won’t operate, so you can’t prevent your jet ski from sinking!

How Long Can a Jet Ski Stay in Saltwater?

Regarding storage, you need to know that jet skis can’t be stored in the water for the long run due to their design. As saltwater is so corrosive it’s not recommended that you leave your jet ski in saltwater overnight. Moreover, if you leave your jet ski in the water, there is a risk of it sinking or even of theft.

Best practice is to remove it from the water at the end of each day, even if it’s a hassle.

A jet ski’s design is vastly different from a boat’s as their pump and many other important metal parts like the intake grate, ride plate, or the parts of the braking system are located below the waterline.

If you leave your jet ski in saltwater these parts are constantly exposed to this corrosive environment.


Jet skis can be used in saltwater, but they need thoughtful care after every ride to avoid corrosion and salt deposits in the systems.

If you ride your jet ski in saltwater, the recommended maintenance steps are:

  • Flushing the systems with freshwater (cooling system, exhaust, intercooler)
  • Cleaning the hull and the engine compartment carefully
  • Perform the other steps of the standard after-ride care
  • Apply corrosion inhibitor on the metal parts
The other key point is to try to keep water away from the engine compartment. Even if it’s impossible in most of the cases, you can reduce the amount of water if you:
  • Secure the drain plugs properly
  • Don’t flip the jet ski over in the water
  • Check and repair leaks (bolts, carbon ring, etc.)
  • Install a bilge pump
By following these simple steps, you can reduce the risks of damage and malfunctions caused by saltwater.

Also, don’t overlook the other general maintenance tasks to keep your jet ski in a good shape for a long time!