Compare Specs Discover '24 PWCs Browse Reviews
What is Trim on a Jet Ski? [Explained]

What is Trim on a Jet Ski? [Explained]

The trim on a jet ski changes the vertical position of the jet nozzle to adjust the jet ski’s running angle. Trimming the nozzle up forces the bow upwards, resulting in a faster top speed and acceleration.

In contrast, trimming the nozzle down buries the bow into the water, ensuring sharper turns and better handling on choppy waters.

If you want to find out more about jet ski trim systems and their settings, this post is for you.

We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know under one roof!

What is Trim on a Jet Ski?

It’s safe to say that all high-end modern jet ski features an adjustable trim system, also known as a “variable trim system.” As the name suggests, this feature is designed to adjust the trim on the jet ski.

But how does the trim system work exactly? Let’s start with some basic terms!

Each jet ski is propelled by a jet propulsion system that features a jet pump with a nozzle on the end. The accelerated water squirts out from the jet nozzle to propel and steer the jet ski.

The jet nozzle can be moved both vertically and horizontally to control the direction of the waterjet. Turning the handlebar causes the jet nozzle to turn in the desired direction, which finally steers the machine.

However, this nozzle can move vertically as well! With the adjustable trim system, you can change the vertical position of this nozzle at the touch of a button.

But why is this trim system important on jet skis, and how should you set it up? Keep reading for the answers!

How Important is Trim on a Jet Ski?

There’s no question that the trim is one of the most important features on jet skis, as it’s intended to change the handling for different riding preferences. Different loads, riding positions, water conditions, and riding styles all require different trim settings. Correct trim settings give you more control of the ski and increase its stability as well.

This is why all high-end jet skis come with variable trim systems as standard.

Improper trim settings may cause various issues, including:

  • Overall handling issues
  • Limited turning abilities
  • Porpoising
  • Spinning or sliding out
  • Power loss (inadequate acceleration and top speed)
To avoid these handling mistakes, you have to be sure to set the trim on your jet ski properly. Let’s see how to do it!

How to Set the Trim on a Jet Ski

Where Are the Trim Controls on a Jet Ski?

You can control the trim on a jet ski with the trim buttons, which typically feature up and down symbols. These trim buttons are positioned on the left handlebar for easy operation and can be controlled by your left thumb.

Certain models are also equipped with a trim indicator to show the current trim position.

What’s more, today’s technically advanced jet skis allow you to set the trim manually or select some preset trim positions. These modes can usually be reached by a double-tap of the buttons.

How to Set a Trim on a Jet Ski

As a rule of thumb, if you want more responsive and effective steering, you have to set the trim down.  This results in more aggressive turns and better assistance. In contrast, setting the trim up rises the front of the ski up from the water resulting in higher top speeds and quicker acceleration.

The lower you trim the nozzle, the deeper the bow of the ski sits in the water. Setting the trim to the lowest position causes the machine to turn much harder, which is desired for short tight courses.

This is why closed course racers typically set their trim to the lowest position!

The same trim position also does a good job on choppy waters as it “glues” the hull to the water and prevents it from jumping off smaller wakes.

Sliding out is another common handling issue on jet skis, which is often caused by improper (too high) trim settings.

However, more hull in the water leads to more drag, limiting acceleration and top speed. Therefore, to get the most out of your jet ski, you have to set the trim all the way up. This setting raises the bow and reduces the hull in the water, leading to higher top speeds and more aggressive acceleration.

A raised trim also does a good job if you want to do tricks like jumps, spins, or power slides.It’s also good to know that a trim position that is too high often contributes to porpoising (bouncing on the water).

Trim can also be used to counterbalance extra loads on your ski. If you ride with a passenger, carry a heavy load on the rear platform, or tow a wakeboarder/tuber, you may also want to trim the ski down. But if you carry a heavy load in the front bin, you should trim the ski up to balance the uneven weight distribution.

To ride with the right trim setting, you have to keep your eyes on the water and listen to the feedback from your ski. Conditions can change quickly, so be prepared to adjust the trim if necessary.

What does Extended Range VTS Mean on a Jet Ski?

The extended range VTS on a jet ski is a unique trim system specially designed for tricks. This feature offers a much larger range of adjustments compared to ordinary trim systems. It allows you to raise the bow much higher, making the jet ski capable of tricks like jumps, power slides, spins, or even “wheelies.”The most well-known jet skis on the market with the extended trim system are the Sea-Doo Spark TRIXX series and the Yamaha JetBlaster.

Conclusion – What is Trim on a Jet Ski?

Most high-end jet skis are manufactured with an adjustable trim system as standard. This feature allows you to raise or lower the jet nozzle, which adjusts the trim of the jet ski. Setting the trim up rises the bow of the jet ski up while trimming down buries it deeper into the water. A correctly tuned trim provides the best handing and maximum available performance.

How should you set the trim on your ski?

Trim up:

  • In flatwater conditions
  • For higher top speed and acceleration
  • For tricks like spins, power slides, and jumps
  • If you carry a heavy load in the front of the ski
Trim down:

  • In choppy water conditions
  • For aggressive turns
  • When doing tow sports
  • When riding with a passenger or carrying a load on the rear platform
  • In case of porpoising or “sliding out” issues
This is our short review of the jet ski trim systems. We hope you find it useful!