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Jet Ski Drain Plugs Explained [Video]

Jet Ski Drain Plugs Explained [Video]

The drain plugs on a jet ski are designed to remove bilge water. They are typically located on the lowest part of the stern, close to the jet nozzle. They require a lot of attention since forgetting to replace them allows water to seep into the hull, which could cause the jet ski to sink.

To avoid these issues, it’s essential to become familiar with the location and operation of these drain plugs.

We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know about them into this post.

Do Jet Skis Have a Drain Plug?

Smaller vessels typically come with factory-installed drain plugs, and jet skis are no exception.

Let’s drill into the details and answer the most common questions on these important features!

What is a Jet Ski Drain Plug?

As the name suggests, the drain plugs on a jet ski are for draining water from the bilge. These plastic screws are more often simple threaded-type drains but modern Sea-Doos have one-way valves integrated into their drain holes.

Are you wondering how water gets into a jet ski?

Well, contrary to popular belief, the body of a jet ski is not a perfectly sealed shell. This means that some water can seep into its hull during rides, which is considered completely normal.

Although there are many ways to remove water from a jet ski hull, the easiest way is by unscrewing the drain plugs.

How Many Drain Plugs Does a Jet Ski Have?

As a rule of thumb, most modern jet skis are designed with two drain plugs. In contrast, some Rec-Lite skis (like the Sea-Doo Spark) as well as many vintage jet skis feature only one drain plug.

The numbers and location of these plugs can vary from one model to the next.

Where are the Drain Plugs in a Jet Ski?

On the latest jet skis, the drain plugs are located in the lowest portion of the stern. This position ensures easy access and allows you to drain the most water from the bilge.

Surprisingly, the drain plugs of most vintage jet skis were buried inside the hull, typically around the jet pump. As you can imagine, these plugs were very hard to access and were often forgotten about.

When you are looking for the drain plugs on your jet ski, make sure that you don’t confuse them with the flushing ports.

These components are very similar, but the flushing ports are meant for attaching a garden hose to the cooling system of the jet ski. Some jet skis feature one flushing port for the engine cooling system, while others have a second one for the intercooler.

On older jet skis the flushing port(s) were also located inside the engine compartment.

How do You Drain a Jet Ski?

As a rule of thumb, you should take out the plugs and drain your jet ski after every ride. Once the ski is out of the water, just unscrew the drain plugs and jack up the front of the trailer. The majority of the bilge water will simply flow out through the drain holes.

The best place to do this is in the staging area or the parking lot where you prepare your jet ski for transport.

It’s good to know that some states require you to drain your jet ski at the boat launch to prevent invasive species from spreading.

Always check local laws to stay legal and prevent environmental damage!

What Happens if Jet Ski Drain Plugs are Left Open?

Simply put, leaving the drain plugs open can easily sink your jet ski, so you have to replace them before every ride. Due to this risk, you should always check them twice as part of your pre-ride check procedure.

The drain plugs on most jet skis are regular threaded-type plugs that allow water to flow freely in both directions.

While these plugs ensure a quick draining process, they can also let a lot of water in if the jet ski is launched without them being plugged in. In the worst-case scenario, this can sink the jet ski, resulting in major engine and electrical damage.

Keeping safety in mind, modern Sea-Doos come with special one-way valves integrated into their drain plugs. The main idea behind these valves is to slow down the flow of water if the jet ski is accidentally launched without the plugs.

But unfortunately, they can’t completely seal the holes up, so in the end these Sea-Doos will also sink. In return, the valves are prone to clogging and draining the water more slowly than standard PWC drain plugs.


As a takeaway, we’ve compiled the key facts about PWC drain plugs into one list:
  • Jet skis have one or two drain plugs depending on the model.
  • The drain plugs on most jet skis are located on the lowest portion of the stern, but on some vintage models they are located inside the hull, near the pump.
  • Drain plugs are meant for draining the bilge water accumulated during a ride. Remove them after every ride when your ski is already sitting on its trailer.
  • The sealing (O-ring) on the plugs should be replaced every 4-5 years, or even sooner if it’s getting aged.
As the final word, always make sure to replace the drain plugs before your rides, otherwise, the jet ski could sink. Due to this risk, always check the plugs twice before launching the ski!