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6 Best Ways to Protect Your Jet Ski from the Dock [Video]
Last Updated on
Without further ado, the six best ways to protect your jet ski from the dock are as follows:
- Choose the right dock
- Tie your jet ski to the dock properly
- Use PWC fenders
- Ask to tie off to a boat
- Anchoring or beaching a jet ski
- Consider permanent solutions
If you want to find out more about these solutions, this post is for you. We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know under one roof!
6 Best Ways to Protect Your Jet Ski from the Dock
1. Choose The Right Dock
Let’s face it, docks are not designed for jet skis. On most boat docks, the posts are mounted far apart, and the deck is positioned too high.
Because of this, there’s always a risk that your jet ski will float under the dock, damaging the upper parts of the machine.
However, the shapes and features of docks vary widely, and some marinas offer different types of docks. If you are lucky, you can find a lower “jet ski friendly” dock.
It’s also wise to tie your jet ski to the protected side of the dock where it won’t be exposed to boat traffic and waves.
If you can’t find a sweet spot for your craft, don’t worry. As we will discuss later in this article, you don’t necessarily need to tie your jet ski to the dock!
2. Tie Your Jet Ski to a Dock Properly
If you want to tie your jet ski to the dock at all costs, you have to make sure that you dock and tie it carefully.
As a rule of thumb, always attach the ropes/dock lines to the dedicated points of the ski, which are designed for this purpose. These points are typically the bow and stern eyes, tow hook, and grab handles. Also, certain jet ski models feature special built-in docking cleats and loops on the top deck and steering column.
These are designed for docking lines, so don’t hesitate to use them!
Contrary to popular belief, tying the ropes to the handlebars is not totally safe. Even if the water is calm, a large wake can cause some damage to the handlebars or controls.
To avoid these issues, never tie the dock lines to the handlebars, controls, mirrors, or other parts on the top deck. These parts are often not sturdy enough for this purpose.
Sure, connecting/disconnecting the line from the bow eye is always difficult if the dock is too high. To solve this problem, apply the following simple trick:
Attach a dock line to the front eye of the ski and tie a knot in the line. Then place the line into the front storage bin while leaving its end attached to the front eye. Closing the hatch will keep the line inside as the knot will prevent it from slipping out.
At the dock, you only have to take the line out from the storage bin and tie the jet ski.
If you are afraid of sealing issues of the storage compartment, you may want to use a ¼-inch polypropylene line. This line is actually a special hollow braid that gets very flat when you close the hatch.
When you tie your jet ski to a dock, keeping safety in mind make sure that it can’t drift under the pier. You also have to take into account other environmental conditions like currents and tide.
If there’s a noticeable current, tie your jet ski downstream, and the water will move it away from the dock.
Another good trick is to tie the ski on two parallel docks if possible, which is the best way to save your jet ski from dock damage.
If you want to tie it to a quiet dock, you can also consider using an “Anchor Buddy.”
An Anchor Buddy is actually a large bungee anchor line. Just attach this bungee line to the anchor and the stern of the ski, while the bow line is tied to the dock.
Finally, don’t forget to secure your jet ski to the dock if you leave it unattended.
3. Use PWC Fenders
There’s no question that the most effective way to protect your jet ski from the dock is to invest in some jet ski fenders.
Unlike large boat fenders, PWC fenders are smaller, so they fit in the storage compartments. They come in many shapes and sizes, and the simplest models can be attached to the rub rails or the edge of the footwells.
These plastic or rubber fenders are easy to store and attach, but they also provide the least protection. Therefore, these fenders are only recommended for calm waters.
Also, installing these bumpers often requires attaching some mounts on the ski, which means you have to drill some holes into the rub rails. However, some of them can be connected directly to the edge of the footwells without any modifications.
Here’s a great video on how to install these simple fenders on your jet ski:
If you are looking for more protection, you can choose from many other great jet ski fenders.
The simplest models are the “classic” PWC fenders, which are made in long cylindrical shapes. These inflatable units are very similar to boat fenders, but they come in smaller sizes.
You can simply attach these fenders to your jet ski with marine ropes.
Riders agree that the best jet ski fenders are the padded “PWC contour fenders.” As the name suggests, these fenders are designed to follow the contours of the jet ski.
They typically feature a hinge in the center that provides excellent flexibility. Therefore, they fit perfectly on any ski and provide maximum protection to the hull and the top deck.
You can attach them to the handlebar, rear grab handle, storage compartment, docking cleats on the top deck, or suction cups.
If you are on a budget or looking for something unique, you can also build a DIY jet ski fender from pool noodles and marine ropes.
If you want to drill into the details, here’s a great tutorial on how to make DIY jet ski fenders:
4. Ask to Tie Off to a Boat
If the dock looks unfriendly, why don’t you tie your jet ski up to a boat? If the dock is really crowded, this is often the only way to tie up your ski!
Before you do this, make sure to first ask permission from the boat owner and to properly tie your ski to the boat. You also have to use soft fenders to avoid damaging the fiberglass.
5. Anchor or Beach the Jet Ski
If you don’t want to tie your jet ski to a boat, you can still consider anchoring it away from the dock. Just put a small bouy on the anchor line and tie your jet ski to the bouy.
This setup will ensure 100% protection for your machine as it won’t even approach the dock.
As you can imagine, you will have to swim from the jet ski to the dock, which is not ideal on chilly days.
Your other option is beaching your jet ski if you can find an appropriate shore nearby.
6. Consider Permanent Solutions
If you want to regularly leave your jet ski near a dock, you may want to invest in a permanent solution.
If you have your own dock, it’s recommended that you install large dock bumpers on the edge of the dock.
You can also mount some verticle uprights to the side of the dock covered by some pool noodles or other types of protective gear. This setup can prevent your jet ski from slipping under the dock.
It’s also good to know that jet skis cannot be stored in the water for extended periods of time due to their design.
Therefore, leaving your jet ski overnight in the water is never a good idea, as a little water leak can sink it by the following morning.
These units are not cheap, but they not only save your ski from dock damages but also make the launching/retrieving process much easier.
As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions on this topic.
How do I Protect My Jet Ski from the Dock?
Our six tips on how to protect your jet ski from dock damage are as follows:
- Choose the right dock (avoid docks that are too high and unfriendly, tie it to the quiet side of the dock)
- Tie your jet ski to the dock properly (attach the lines to the eyes/tow hook/grab handles)
- Always use fenders
- Ask to tie off to a boat if possible
- Anchor or beach your jet ski instead (use the right anchor with an anchor bouy or an Anchor Buddy)
- Consider permanent solutions (bumpers on the side of the dock, jet ski lift, floating jet ski dock)
What are the Different Types of Jet Ski Fenders?
In a nutshell, the five main types of jet ski fenders are as follows:
- Pop-up plastic fenders (they can be attached to the rub rail or the edge of the footwells)
- Hook PWC fenders (flexible fenders designed to wrap around the rub rail and the edge of the footwells)
- Inflatable cylindrical fenders (small boat fenders)
- Contour PWC fenders (padded fenders with a hinge in the middle)
- DIY jet ski fenders (made of pool noodles and ropes)
How do You Attach Fenders to a Jet Ski?
You can attach fenders to various places on a jet ski, including:
- Docking cleats
- Grab handles
- Edge of storage compartments
- Suction cups
- Rib rails/edge of the footwells
The sweet spot always depends on the design of your jet ski and the fenders, as well as the features of the dock.
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