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Jet Jon Boat Conversion and Alternatives [Video]

Jet Jon Boat Conversion and Alternatives [Video]

Jet jon boats (known as jet ski jon boat hybrids) have become more common on many rivers. These are unique and usually custom-built jon boats which are powered by jet drive.

They’re similar to, but much cheaper alternatives to jet ski boat conversions and jet boats. You may be wondering; what’s the point of using a jet ski engine on a jon boat?

If you like to fish in narrow areas, you may find it hard to get anywhere you want to go. This is because if you use a regular outboard engine, your prop is always exposed and therefor in continuous danger.

Using a jet power source instead of a prop can eliminate this problem and you can get into a lot of places where other boats can’t go.

Are you interested in the best jet engine solutions on a jon boat?

We, at JetDrift, have collected the most common solutions from jet outboards to jet ski jon boat hybrids!

Jet Jon Boats Off The Shelves

When it to comes to jet jon boats, one of the most common solutions is installing a jet ski engine into a jon boat. Although this could be a fun and challenging side project for many people, let’s face it, building a boat is not for everyone.

If you want a jet jon boat but prefer the “turn-key” solutions, you may want a jon boat with a jet outboard engine!

It’s a lesser-known fact that outboard engines are available with jet propulsion systems instead of using a regular prop. Their main advantage is that you can use them in really shallow water and these models are less dangerous, thanks to the lack of prop.

These outboards are available in a wide range, so you can choose what fits the best on your boat, or you can consider the purchase a complete setup. In this case, you can be sure that the engine will work well with the hull.

Jet Ski Jon Boat Conversions

If you’re looking for something more powerful and thrilling, as well as having the tools and bravery, you can consider building your own jet ski jon boat hybrid.

These vessels are usually regular jon boats with a jet ski engine in them. They offer a lot of fun, good maneuverability and high speed depending on the engine’s performance.

For these projects, the most commonly used jet skis are the old two-stroke models, as they are available for really low prices, and the weight of their engine is much lower.

But if you’re browsing for jet jon boat videos on Youtube, you can find some really extreme solutions, like installing a 215 HP supercharged engine into a massive jon boat hull:

According to the owners, this boat can hit 45 mph on the water while its bottom is “rock resistant” thanks to the reinforced bottom. It looks a really cool setup!

You may wonder how to construct such a boat in the simplest way.

Many people are looking for jet jon boat conversion kits, but unfortunately these setups are not available off the shelves! All of these boats are custom-made vessels, so your only chance to have one is to build your own. If you’re interested in how to do it, don’t hesitate to read more.

How to Build a Jet Jon Boat

When it comes to building a jet jon boat, be aware that these units can be dangerous. The jet ski engines are really powerful, so these are not a small electric trolling motor! If you don’t have experience building one, it’s not recommended you start with this project.

If you’re lucky, you might find jet jon boat hybrids for sale on Craigslist or other online ads. This is the easiest way to purchase one of them!

But if you can’t find one or are looking for something custom, your only way is to do it yourself! Before you jump into this project, consider these factors:

Know the Basics

Before you start your project, it’s best if you do some deep research on the topic.

First, it’s wise to learn how a jet ski engine and pump work to understand the full scope of the basics. Then it’s recommended you look through some other projects for ideas and tips. We can recommend you start your research at this site where you can find finished projects, building tips and other additional valuable info.

Choosing the Jet Ski

If you start to build your jet ski jon boat hybrid, you’ll need a jet ski engine, of course. When selecting the model, always consider your boat weight, as more weight always needs more horsepower.

Choosing a too-small engine could be a hassle, but on the other hand, too much performance is not desired either. Try to stay away from the supercharged engines as they are too powerful for this project and need much more maintenance.

In case of a bigger jon boat, many builders choose the 120-180 HP non-supercharged jet ski engines.

Once you install the engine into your boat, you may be surprised by its power and noise. Because of this, you can consider a small trolling motor as an addition to your setup. You can make good use of it in many situations.

Choosing the Hull

If you haven’t owned a boat, you have many options to choose from. Many jet ski jon boat builders choose the extra wide and deep hulls to have more stability and weight capacity.

Don’t forget that the jet ski engine means additional weight, as well as the fuel tank (jet skis are really thirsty!). You can use the jet ski’s original tank or you can consider a custom one based on your needs.

Choosing deep V hulls means maneuverability and this shape can keep debris away from the propulsion more efficiently. But as you’ll learn, you can start this project with a flat bottom boat as well.

When it comes to materials, the most recommended is aluminum due to its durability. Drawbacks? You’ll need an aluminum welder and some practice, but if you have a buddy with the stuff and skill, maybe he can help you out!

The most important thing is to start your project on a solid, good-quality hull as it pays off in the long run.

Installing the Engine and the Propulsion

Installing the jet ski engine and the propulsion system in a jet jon boat is always tricky. The most important part is to pay enough attention to the sealing as leaks can be annoying, or in the worst case scenario, you may start to sink.

Beyond the sealing, you may have some problems with the cavitation and the debris as well.

The Jet ski’s V hull design keeps away the debris, weeds and other objects from the intake grate. If you have a flat bottom hull, it’s much less efficient to keep debris away, so this means your engine will get stuck a lot more.

To resolve this issue, you have to install a “spoon” on the bottom of the hull, directly in front of the intake grate. You can see how it looks in this video:

This “spoon” solves (or reduces) the cavitation issues in most cases as it directs the raw water up into the intake grate.

But keep in mind that every boat hull, engine and pump are different, so the solution that works fine on one boat isn’t necessarily good for another design!

Jon Boat Mud Engines

If the water in your area is full of debris or weeds, you won’t be happy with a jet ski jon boat combo, as the jet propulsion system will suck up this debris, blocking the impeller and the whole engine. In the worst case, harder objects can damage the impeller, wear ring, or the drive shaft.

Instead of jet propulsion, you can consider a mud engine. These engines are designed for really bad conditions so they can push you across mud or massive vegetation mats where other boats can’t reach:

Safety Issues

Jet jon boats are fun, however to stay in safe and legal, you have to keep in mind the next few things as well:
  • High speed: Due to increased performance, jet ski jon boat combos can even hit 45-50 mph on the water and can surprise you with really fast acceleration and sharper turns. Get some practice at lower speeds at first!

  • Safety lanyard: Just like on jet skis, always attach your safety lanyard before you start.

  • Life jacket: If you want to ride at high speeds, especially on rough water, it’s always wise to wear a life jacket.

  • Breakdowns: Let’s face it, jet ski engines are less reliable and durable than a regular outboard engine. It means you have to be prepared more breakdowns and malfunctions.

  • Sucking up debris: The other issue you have to face is that jet ski propulsion systems are prone to sucking up things like weeds, ropes, debris or small rocks. They can stop your engine and removing them is always a hassle, as you can only do this on the trailer!

  • Legal issues: First, don’t forget the legal aspects, because the new engine on your boat probably has to be re-registered, and it can void your insurance as well. Always pay attention to these requirements before you hit the water!


Jet jon boats have many advantages as they use jet propulsion instead of a regular prop. This means you can use them in shallow water and can reach many new areas.

If you’re looking for a turn-key solution, you can consider purchasing a jon boat with a jet outboard engine.

If you like DIY and are looking for a side project, you can even build your own jet ski jon boat hybrid. Before you start, be aware that it’s not a simple weekend project, and you have to do a lot of research on the topic upfront. Selecting the wrong hull or jet ski engine could be a hassle in the long run!

And don’t forget the safety issues and accessories like safety lanyard and life jackets at high speeds or even jumps!

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