Jet Ski Pre-Ride Checklist: What to Check Before Launch [Video]

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If you have a jet ski, the pre-ride check is one of the most important care duties you have to perform each day before you ride.

Despite its importance, many owners skip these steps which often lead to many hassles on the water, or in the worst case scenario, their jet skis can explode!

To stay safe and legal, it’s highly recommended you do the pre-ride check on your jet ski before hit the water.

We at JetDrift have gathered the most important general steps that should be done before every ride.  But please note that every jet ski is different, thus the proper pre-ride checklist may vary from model to model.

For exact model-specific instructions don’t hesitate to check your owner’s manual!

Jet Ski Pre-Ride Checklist

Check for gas vapors

The most important step is always to remove the seat and check the engine compartment for gas vapors. Unlike boats, jet skis lack of active ventilation systems due to their design, which means gas vapors may accumulate in the engine compartment. Battery cables or other parts of the electrical system (i.e. the starter motor) can cause a spark that can blow up your whole jet ski! Because of this, never skip this step. Remove the seat and vent the engine compartment for a couple of minutes to remove the fumes before you start the engine!

Drain plugs

Another key point on the pre-ride checklist is to make sure that the drain plugs are securely installed. Missed drain plugs are the leading cause of sinking jet skis, so if you want to keep your jet ski afloat, NEVER skip checking the drain plugs!

Check the hull and systems

Beyond the drain plugs, check the hull for damage and foreign objects in the pump. Also check for fuel or oil leakage, or loose connections and bolts in the engine compartment.

Before you start your trip, also check that the gauges, the steering and throttle systems are working properly.

Also, check the seat and the lids of storage compartments to see if they are secured. If there’s any water in the bilge, don’t forget to remove it as well.

Check if the jet ski starts

Don’t forget to check your battery; is it charged? Make sure the jet ski starts before you launch it! Most models can be started on the trailer for 15 seconds without supporting running water, so it’s always wise to make a quick start at home or in the staging area near the ramp.

Safety gear

Make sure you have all the necessary safety gear onboard like a fire extinguisher, whistle or horn, life jackets and safety lanyard. The exact list may vary from state to state, so never skip checking local laws to stay legal. Additionally, if you want to wakeboard or tube, make sure you have all of the important jet ski accessories on you.

Beyond the gear, be sure you have all of the paperwork with you (registration, boating safety card, insurance, etc.) and some snacks and bottled water never hurt!

Unplug the trailer

Water and electricity aren’t friends, so make sure you unplug your trailer before you start to launch your jet ski. Also, don’t forget to remove the tow straps or the security locks if you use any.

Fueling

Fill the gas tank up before every ride. In this way you can be sure that you always have fresh gas in your tank. Check the owner’s manual for instructions about the gas type, as using the wrong gas can lead to several problems. You can also check the engine oil’s level and the level of the coolant in the closed-loop cooling system.

Conclusion

When it comes to the jet ski’s pre-ride checklist, the first and most important step is to remove the seat to ventilate the engine compartment. Never miss this step, as accumulated gas vapors can lead to an explosion!

Once you’ve removed the seat, check the whole engine compartment carefully for fuel, oil leakage and even loose parts. Don’t forget to  check the hull and the pump as well!

The other really important step is to secure the drain plugs, as missing plugs can sink your jet ski very easily!

Also keep in mind that the exact pre-ride checklist may vary from model to model, so that’s why it’s imperative to check and follow the instructions in your owner’s manual in any case!

Beyond the pre-ride checklist, the after-ride care, periodic maintenance and winterization are no less important. Pay attention to these tasks as well to keep your jet ski in good shape throughout the year.

This was our general guide about the jet ski’s pre-ride checklist. We hope you found it useful!

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