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What to Do if You Flip a Jet Ski? [Video Guide]

What to Do if You Flip a Jet Ski? [Video Guide]

If you ride your jet ski hard, accidents happen, including rolling the jet ski over.

And though, in some cases, the craft will roll right back up, others may remain upside down. It’s important to know the correct steps to take when this occurs, in order to avoid permanent damage to the jet ski’s engine!At JetDrift, we have worked to collect the best tips on how to avoid these issues, as well as created a step-by-step guide on how to properly roll your capsized jet ski upright, once more! You can also learn how to easily re-board your jet ski, once you have it flipped back over.

How to Avoid Capsizing a Jet Ski

  • Choose the Correct Jet Ski: First things first, begin by choosing the jet ski that fits you best. Should you decide to go with a stand up jet ski, keep in mind you will most likely end up swimming in the water several times.

    Older, vintage jet skis, as well as the new two seater Rec-Lite models, aren’t the best option if you enjoy riding regularly with passengers, or prefer to bring along a lot of gear. You want to choose a jet ski with a bigger hull, if stability is important an important aspect.

  • Speed is Too Low:  Believe it or not, when a jet ski capsizes with multiple passengers, more often than not, the speed was most likely zero. A jet ski is more stable when they’re in motion!

    On the other hand, you must maintain a continuous speed during your turns. Without throttle, a jet ski can become unstable, or even unsteerable.

  • High Speed and Tricks: As obvious as it may seem, another easy way to flip a jet ski, is to take a turn too fast. You are guaranteed to flip a jet ski if you’re speeding forward before suddenly taking a sharp, out-of-control turn.

    Tricks and stunts, such as wave jumping, can also end with a capsized jet ski – even resulting in serious injuries. Be sure to know your limits when choosing to ride aggressively!

  • Too Much Weight: Always educate yourself on your jet ski’s weight limit, as an incorrect weight distribution can lead to issues of instability. A sudden wave can easily turn your jet ski over, if there is too much weight on the ski.

  • Passengers: Riding with passengers is always more difficult, which means more risks. Something as simple as a passenger who doesn’t shift their weight correctly in a turn, is enough to cause your jet ski to capsize. This is why it’s crucial to learn how to ride with passengers on a jet ski.
  • Drain Plugs: If you forget the drain plugs, this could be enough to make your jet ski capsize if a lot of water leaks into the hull. More significantly, the jet ski may start to sink.

  • Sucking Up a Rope: It’s important to never turn your jet ski over in the water to remove rope, or other debris, that may have been sucked up by your ski. You must tow your jet ski back to the dock if this has occurred.

  • Reboarding: Surprisingly, you can cause your jet ski to flip by your own hands if you try to reboard incorrectly on its side. Take a moment to learn how to correctly reboard a jet ski, right from the rear side.

  • Release it: If you begin to fall off, or feel the craft beginning to roll, get off the jet ski as soon as possible and jump into the water. If the jet ski began to flip over, and you stay in the saddle, you will do nothing but aid the flipping process by remaining in place during the roll.

  • Sponson Kits: If you like activities, such as jet ski fishing, you should consider an inflatable jet ski sponson kit for higher stability. Perhaps even a jet ski boat attachment, like the Sealver Wave Boats.
  • Other Safety Concerns: Jet skis are designed to turn over, and that’s part of what makes them fun. However, it’s also why it’s important to wear a life jacket at all times, and to ensure that the safety lanyard is properly attached. Beyond this, don’t forget to keep all of the required safety accessories onboard.

What to Do if You Flip a Jet Ski?

Once your jet ski has capsized, you may want to know how to flip it correctly. It’s very important to flip it in the right direction, to prevent damaging your engine or harming yourself.

  • Remain Calm: If you ride your jet ski hard, you may fall sooner or later. It the jet ski flipped over in the water, the first step is to remain calm and not panic. Ensure that you, along with any passengers, aren’t hurt – make sure everybody is together and safe. Only then should you turn your attention to the watercraft.

  • Turn off the Engine: If you’ve fallen into the water, and the engine is still running, turn off the engine immediately. In most cases, the safety lanyard shuts the engine off should a fall occur, which is why it’s important to properly attach it to your life jacket, any time you ride.

  • Act Quickly: If your jet ski flipped over, the most important thing is to turn the jet ski upright as quickly as possible. The more time a jet ski spends floating upside down, the higher the risk of water leaking into the hull or, in the worst case, the engine.

  • Check the Sticker: There’s only way you’re supposed to upright a ski. Depending on which model jet ski you’re riding, the method may differ. Most models of skis contain a sticker on the bottom, with instructions on how to flip it back onto the right side. Always read the directions and follow them!

    If you fail to follow these directions correctly, it’s possible the water could be making its way into the inner mechanisms of the jet ski’s engine, making it impossible to restart. In the worst case scenario, if water gets into the engine, it can lead to permanent damage!What to do if you flip a jet ski?

  • In Case of a Missing Sticker: When your jet ski’s hull is lacking a sticker, refer to your owner’s manual, or ask your dealer. Of course, you can hardly check your manual once you are swimming around your capsized jet ski. That’s why it is imperative to read the manual carefully, before you start to use your jet ski! You can find many important details on how to properly operate and maintain your jet ski.

  • Use the Intake Grate: Jet ski’s hull and bottom may vary, depending on the model.If the craft is cooled with a closed loop cooling system, you can see a bigger flat metal plate at the end of the hull – this is the ride plate. This heat exchange plate is the part of the cooling system, which means it may be rather hot – don’t touch it! Instead, grab the intake grate to flip the jet ski over. The intake grate is a massive metal grid on the bottom of the ski. Owner’s manuals also recommend grabbing this grate while attempting to flip your jet ski upright!

  • Flipping the Jet Ski: Once you see the decal in the back, and you know which direction you need to go, get up on the hull of the ski, grab the intake grate, and upright the ski while leaning almost completely over it.

  • Reboarding: After turning your jet ski right, you can reboard it. You never want to board on the side, as you will more than likely re-capsize your ski. Learn how to reboard right from the rear side of the craft. If your craft features a reboarding step, as many skis have, it’s much easier to get back on.

  • Restart the Engine: Once you’re on the ski, put your safety lanyard back on the post. Hopefully the ski will start up right away!

  • If it Doesn’t Start: Should your engine refuse to start, it most likely has excess water inside the engine. In this case, you have to tow the jet ski back to the dock with a boat, or another jet ski.

    Be careful though, if you haven’t installed a tow valve, and you tow a jet ski while using too much speed, you can cause more water to flood into the engine! Once you get back to the dock, and the jet ski is on the trailer, follow this step by step guide on removing the water.

  • Get Some Practice: It is a good idea to practice the flipping and reboarding of a jet ski, with someone else around to ensure you can handle it on your own. Don’t ride your jet ski if you are very tired, because this would make reboarding more difficult. Also, avoid riding where there are strong currents, or wind, which could hamper reboarding efforts.


A capsized jet ski is never the highlight of a ride, and definitely poses risks. Prevention is the best practice and, along with proper preparation, careful riding and correct weight distribution, capsizing can be avoided.

What to Do if You Flip a Jet Ski?When flipping your jet ski in the water, ensure that you have read the hull’s sticker, and that you flip it the right way. Doing it the wrong way can lead to engine damage! You also must learn how to reboard the jet ski properly, in order to avoid re-capsizing.

Keeping these details in mind will lead to less frequent flipping, and more enjoyable rides!