Have you ever wondered how much a jet ski costs? Perhaps you’ve carried out your research on 2019 jet ski prices but you need to know the total cost of not only owning but also running and maintaining a jet ski?

If you have seriously given thought to the possibility of owning and using a jet ski, it is important that you get to know all of the associated costs. This guide serves to provide you with all the information you need to know about jet ski costs.

It is interesting to note that, in terms of expenses, owning a jet ski is similar to owning a car.

It could even be more expensive!

As with a car, the costs you incur will be influenced by a number of factors. These factors would include costs associated with the brand name to its usage and everything in between.

Here, we break down these costs into 3 major sections:

  • initial costs
  • running costs
  • maintenance costs

These costs are further broken down into other sub-sections to give you a clear idea of what you can expect with jet ski costs.

There are many factors and specifications that may affect owning and maintenance costs:

If you are looking for 2019 jet ski prices and specifications, don’t miss our Sea-Doo vs Waverunner vs Jet Ski comparison tool where you can find all the actual models with prices, specs, pictures, and videos.

9 main jet ski costs

9 main jet ski costs

Jet Ski Costs I – Initial Costs

This section considers all of the must-haves associated with owning a jet ski. This includes the cost of purchasing a jet ski to the cost of every other item or accessory that must be present in your watercraft.

1. Purchase price: How much does a jet ski cost?

Starting from $5,300 and going as high as $18,000, jet ski prices have a rather broad price spectrum.

The price of a new jet ski will depend much on the model, size, performance, and it’s functionality.

Although there are three major manufacturers in the industry, there is a wide range of models and products in the market. This makes it rather difficult to keep track of the price of every jet ski available.

For a more detailed comparison of jet ski prices in 2019, use our new jet ski comparison tool for a side-by-side comparison of prices and specifications of your desired models.

Calculating an estimated cost of a jet ski means that you do not simply wake up one morning and decide to get one for yourself. With calculated savings and planning, however, you should be able to pay for it up front.

If you choose a brand new watercraft, don’t forget the registration fees and taxes. These costs could be vary depending on your state.

A great idea would be to find out the cost of your preferred model, and set up a savings account strictly for its purchase until you have enough in your purse. And when you’re financially prepared, do not feel shy asking your dealer for a discount.

You might just get lucky!

What if you wish to get your own jet ski quickly and lack the patience to wait out a savings account?

You are still faced with a couple of options to choose from. Most manufacturers offer purchase financing options, either through a major bank or directly.

Likewise, you can always take a loan from other sources to cover the costs of a jet ski. Such loans come with repayment terms ranging from one to seven years and operate in, more or less, the same way as a car loan.

This means that you can always use a Car Loan Calculator to ensure you are on the right track.  On the other hand, you may consider placing a portion of the costs on your credit card.

In the end, how much you will have to pay – and how this shapes up monthly – depends on the total cost of the jet ski and trailer, the agreed number of repayment years, and the agreed interest rate. For a $10,000 jet ski with a trailer for 7 years at 6%, this will be about $146 per month.

If you choose to finance your jet ski, you must be ready to bear all the increased cost associated with such a move.

Note that like every other vehicle, this watercraft has a depreciating value as well. Of course, depreciation only matters if you sell it.  The extent of depreciation over time will depend on how long it has been in use, and how many engine hours it has accumulated.

As used models have much lower prices, to reduce your initial costs, you can consider purchasing a slightly older version. You can find used jet skis on sites such as Craigslist, eBay or PWC Trader.

But please note that these purchases have their own risks and pitfalls. It’s always wise to bring a mechanic with you or take the ski to a service shop for a check before you finalize your deal. It’s necessary to find out if the jet ski is still in good condition.

2. Trailer: Do you really need one?

A primary mistake many individuals make before estimating the cost of a jet ski is to exclude the cost of a trailer from the budget. Unless you already own one somehow, this is an inevitable companion to your new jet ski.

The only escape from this purchase is having a condo out by a water body. And No, your new jet ski doesn’t come with a trailer. You will have to purchase it separately. This can be purchased from the same dealer or from other sources.

One of the initial jet ski costs: trailer

One of the initial jet ski costs: trailer

Most jet ski trailers cost between $500 and $1,500 depending on their individual characteristics.

Painted trailers are the least expensive option and are typically more attractive because of their low price. But please be careful, while they are perfect for long trips within the town, they are easily corroded by the salty beach water.

Galvanized trailers are typically more expensive than painted ones and do not corrode as easily.

The most expensive option, however, is to get aluminum trailers. And for good reason! Made from good quality aluminum, they hold their price better than any other trailer. Some models can accommodate up to two (or even four) jet skis depending on the size of trailer you purchase.

Be sure to also include the cost of other relevant trailer accessories when making your plans.

3. Other accessories for your jet ski

So, you’ve purchased your jet ski and a trailer. Ready for your first ride now? No, not yet. There are still some important purchases to be made.

These additional accessories are tagged critical as they keep you safe both as an individual and provide some cover for you on the legal side of things.

Kindly note that the list of required accessories varies from state to state. Be sure to check the local regulations before fixing up your ski with gears.

Don't forget the necessary jet ski accessories you will need

Don’t forget the necessary jet ski accessories you will need

Consider some of the most common requirements regardless of your state:

  • Registration numbers

  • Valid personal ID

  • Air horn or whistle

  • Coast guard-approved fire extinguisher

  • Life jackets

  • Safety lanyard

  • Mirrors for towing 

Some other very important, but not necessary, equipment and accessories you want to have on board include:

  • Sunscreen

  • First aid kit

  • Fenders and anchor

  • Telescoping paddles

  • Camera

  • Wakeboards, tubes and water skis for towing

  • Watercraft ladder

  • Bilge pump

  • Jet ski dock line and lock

  • Distress/skier down flag

  • Solar charger

  • Sunglasses/goggles

  • Sound system

  • Fishing accessories – if needed

  • And more…

Although you may not need all the items on this list, they give you a good idea of possible accessories you should have on board.

Keep in mind that they do not necessarily come in cheap. Depending on the type and model purchased, some of them could cost you up to a thousand dollars or more –such as a wakeboard.

Be sure to factor the costs of such critical gears into your final costs.

Jet Ski Costs II – Running Costs

The cost of acquiring your dream jet ski is one thing, running it is another.

From overhead running costs, which you may only need to pay once, to monthly/yearly costs, this is a key element of your jet ski ownership costs.

Now that we’ve determined jet ski prices and initial costs, let’s find out how much it costs to keep one.

4. Insurance: How much does a jet ski cover cost?

Unlike your road vehicles, you are not required by many state laws to purchase an insurance cover for your jet ski.

This watercraft can comfortably be run in most states without one. This will definitely bring your total spending on the craft down in the short term.

However, operating it without cover could be exponentially more expensive in the long run in case your jet ski meets an accident. Hence, this is a highly recommended expense.

Once we’ve established that your insurance premium should be considered a primary maintenance cost, insurance costs may set you back some $100 – $500 each year.

Some insurance packages offer reduced premiums for those with boating safety accreditation, so you might want to consider getting one.

Ultimately the eventual cost of your jet ski insurance will depend on a number of factors, some of these include:

  • Owner’s age

  • Value of the jet ski

  • Make, model and year of the jet ski

  • Jet ski storage

  • Number of riders

  • Modifications to the watercraft

  • Engine type and horsepower

  • Boating safety course taken

5. Storage: How do you store your jet ski?

Comfortable way of storage your jet ski: on a floating dock in a marina

Comfortable way of storage your jet ski: on a floating dock in a marina

If you haven’t already given it a thought, your immediate concern after buying your jet ski will be its storage. You can’t leave it at the dealer shop till your next outing.

So, where do you store your new craft and how much will that cost you? Consider some options:

  • Your garage

If you have enough room in your garage, this is about the cheapest way to store your craft.

However, if your garage is not too spacious, this may be you sacrificing the space for a future car or gear for your jet ski. Of course, you can get around this with a jet ski lift and rolling stands. Even if space was not an issue, you can still expect to incur some costs.

Firstly, you will have to tow your Jet Ski trailer every time you need it. This means having the right vehicle and gas to run it. In some marinas, you will be required to pay docking as well as launch fees in order to use their ramps what translates to even more expenses.

  • Your yard

If you do not have enough space in your garage but you really want to keep your jet ski at home, you may consider packing it out in your yard. This is typically less secure than garage storage, and also exposes your jet ski to other elements.

With a storage shed in your yard, you should be able to ward off the elements, even if you are unable to improve the security.

  • Floating dock

Do you have a lake house? If yes, then a floating dock is an ideal and convenient, but a little expensive storage option. Despite of that, it is still much cheaper than installing a typical dock and can be moved out of place whenever you need it.

  • Self-storage garage

What if you are concerned about the security of your jet ski but have no space in your garage (or simply don’t want a jet ski in it)? A self-storage garage is a garage rental that allows you to keep your property secured, and keeps it protected from the elements as well.

  • Marina

Yet another option is a marina. With a marina, you will likely have your jet ski dry-stored. This means it will have to be launched using a special forklift each time you want to use it. On the other hand, it could be stored on a floating dock out in the water, which allows you to use it with ease.

Either way, you will be billed for every month the jet ski stays in the marina. Depending on the services on offer and the location of the marina, this could cost between $100 or several hundred dollars.

6. Gas: How much fuel does a jet ski need?

Although electric jet skis have become a thing today, most models still run on gas. This means you will have to buy gas each time you need to run your craft. As fuel prices fluctuate regularly, it will be difficult to give any estimate regarding the cost of fuel.

Still, it is worth noting that different models consume fuel differently. This means that any calculation will have to be done after checking your own model’s usage.

The smallest watercraft models with moderate performance run on about 2 gallons of fuel per hour. However, some more powerful models consume as much as 20-25 gallons per hour.

Depending on your usage, you can expect to spend up to 30 – 50 hours on your jet ski each year.

With the smallest models, that will be about 100 gallons of fuel or less. With other more powerful models, you could be consuming much more fuel each year.

But again, it really depends on the way how do you use it!

The jet ski gas consumption is highly dependent on the way of use and the power of the engine

The jet ski gas consumption is highly dependent on the way of use and the power of the engine

Jet Ski Costs III – Maintenance Costs

As you continue to use your new jet ski, regular maintenance will be required to keep it in good shape. Maintenance includes yearly service expenses, the winterizing process and fixing possible damages and malfunctions.

7. Servicing: Keeping your jet ski in good shape

One way to limit the possibility of breakdowns and to ensure that your jet ski doesn’t leave you stranded in ‘no man’s land’ is to service the engine regularly.

If you are good with engines and boast some prior experience dealing with them, you don’t have to worry about anything. On the contrary, if you’ve never serviced an engine like that before, you’d be better off taking it to a service shop.

The service shop’s charge may vary wildly from service to service, and machine to machine. As a result, we cannot readily put a number on it. A good rule of thumb, though, is that you will have to spend more to maintain more powerful machines.

If you are buying a new jet ski, don’t forget the first service.

This first service time period could be different for each manufacturer. While some require the first service within the first 10 hours of usage, others require it after the first 50 hours. So, be sure to check with your dealer before you decide to take your jet ski out for a ride.

After the first servicing, it is expected that you service your machine at least twice every year. The first of the annual servicing should include general inspection, oil change, and battery inspection. Your second routine servicing is discussed below – winterizing.

8. Winterizing: Preparing your jet ski for the winter

Depending on where you live, this could be a critical annual ritual. As that dreaded time of the year arrives when you can no longer enjoy your watercraft, it’s time to think forward. Your jet ski needs to be kept in good condition so it is ready to serve you yet again after the winter break.

Since your craft runs on water, it is no surprise that it is built in such a way that allows the entry of water without any problems. Some watercrafts even use water directly to keep the engine cool (open-loop cooling).

As the cold season arrives and temperatures start getting below freezing point, water in the engine freezes, expands, and starts damaging the engine.

Jet ski annual service: one more cost you need to count

Jet ski annual service: one more cost you need to count

Winterizing your engine involves draining it, wiping it clean, lubricating it, filling it with gas, and storing it properly.

This process keeps the water from damaging the engine or other components of your jet ski. The entire process can be completed in just under an hour.

While it is quite a time consuming, it saves your machine for a wonderful time in the spring and summer months ahead.

Be sure to winterize your engine anytime you will be leaving it untouched for a few months – even if it isn’t exactly cold.

If you get winterizing done by a service shop, it’s always a good idea to combine it with your yearly service and get them both done at once.

For more information on how to winterize your jet ski, check out our step by step winterizing guide.

9. Repairs: Fixing your damaged jet ski

Every now and then, a mistake could cause major or minor damage to your jet ski – regardless of how careful you may be.

Whether this is a damaged hull while launching or docking, or it is more serious damage, professional repairs will be required at some point.

Any part of your engine is at risk of occasional breakdown. Sometimes, these are not-very-critical components, at other times they are more critical parts like the jet propulsion systems, steering system, etc.

Note that supercharged high-performance engines are more at risk of a breakdown than lower performance engines.

Always make sure to check the warranty of the engine you are buying before you make payment. Sometimes, this could be a lifesaver when serious breakdowns occur.

Of course, a single warranty does not cover each and every expense but it does provide you good coverage for most damages.

It is also advised that you choose the warranty over discount if given a choice by your dealer. This is always better value for money on your jet ski.

Be careful - damage repairs can also be expensive on a jet ski

Be careful – damage repairs can also be expensive on a jet ski

Takeaway – Budgeting for your new jet ski

How much does it cost to own, run and manage a new jet ski in 2019?

In truth, it is impossible to put an actual number on it.

With the ongoing running costs, maintenance costs, occasional repair costs, and the overhead purchase costs, there are so many variables to swing your expenses one way or another.

This is also true when you consider the wide differences in models and usage.

Firstly, though, you must do your research and determine which features you really need.

Luxury and Performance models with more bells and whistles cost more than simplistic, Recreation or Rec-lite models.

A simple Rec-lite jet ski, stored in your garage, may cost you about $100 – $200 on monthly costs with gas. This number depends on many factors and can certainly go up for a financed machine.

For more expensive models, the total monthly costs begin to skyrocket. A fully financed Performance or Luxury jet ski would cost you much more than a rec-lite model.

In the end, your final costs will depend on a number of factors that vary wildly.

It is up to you, therefore, to determine just how much a jet ski will cost you in the long run. This will enable you to determine your own upfront costs and create your budget.

Feel free to visit a jet ski rental to get a true feel of each model before making a decision on which one to buy.

If you are not sure where to find a rental, use our jet ski rental locator tool here to find one closest to you.

On the other hand, if you are looking for “riding experience” for completely free, don’t hesitate to try one of the best jet ski games!

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