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Why Do Jet Skis Shoot Water Up? Rooster Tail Explained [Video]

Why Do Jet Skis Shoot Water Up? Rooster Tail Explained [Video]

Why do jet skis shoot water up? – This is a typical question asked by many beginners in the world of jet skiing.

This squirting water known as “jet ski rooster tail” (known as a visibility spout) can be confusing, as it’s a standard on some jet ski models, while you can’t see them on many others.

Because of this, many jet ski enthusiasts are curious about what this kind of “jet ski water fountain” might exist on some models.

There are many rumors, as well as false gossip, on the internet about this unit, so even if you do your research, you can bump into confusing information.

We, at JetDrift, have investigated this issue, as well as compiled some tips on how to remove this rooster tail on your jet ski – or even how you can install one if you want!

Why do Jet Skis Shoot Water up in the Air?

First things first; let’s talk about why jet skis shoot water up in the air.

There is only one safety purpose for this rooster tail on jet skis, and it’s for better visibility.

Compared to boats, jet skis have really small hulls, which means they’re much harder to see on the water. This could be even worse if the water is rough and there are bigger waves around the jet ski.

Under these conditions, the jet ski can be invisible as it can be hidden completely behind the waves.

If your jet ski has a rooster tail, this squirting water can be seen by others on the water above the waves – even if your jet ski may not be.

So finally, this water spray does the same job as orange flags (also known as “sand flags”) on many off-road vehicles like quads and dune buggies. These orange flags are available in length from 2 feet to 9 feet and are sometimes also used by bicyclists in cities for better visibility.

But back to jet skis.  They’re on the water, so using squirting water to increase their visibility makes sense here.

In addition to their usefulness, many riders consider the rooster tail a very cool design addition to their jet skis.

How Does the Jet Ski Water Spray System Work?

Due to their importance, you can find some models on the market which come with the rooster tail as a standard feature (those manufactured by Yamaha).

Unfortunately, the majority of  models today are still manufactured without this safety feature.  However, there’s always a later chance to install an aftermarket jet ski rooster tail kit on any model.

Are you wondering how these systems work and where the water comes from?

When you research models on the internet, you can see many rumors that this squirting water is the raw water cooling from the open-loop cooling system.

In fact, it’s just false gossip, as this squirting water comes directly from the jet ski’s pump.

There is a small water spout installed on the pump, and the pressure in the pump forces some water through this spout. The water goes through a hose that finally exits the hull on the rear side of the jet ski.

Long story short, this squirting water is simply the raw water that’s spraying out with the energy of the jet ski’s pump, and it’s not coming from the cooling system!

This fact can be observed easily as the height of the rooster tail depends on the throttle. More throttle means higher pressure in the pump, which in turn leads to higher water spray!

What are the Jet Ski Rooster Tail’s Drawbacks?

As you can see, a jet ski’s water spray fountain is a useful and important safety feature. But unfortunately, it has some drawbacks as well. If your jet ski shoots water up for better visibility, it’s good to know what you should pay attention to the pros and cons. Let’s go through these cons one-by-one!

  • Getting wet: It’s not very polite to soak others with this water spray, however it may happen if you ride too close to others, especially if the weather is windy. As we’ve mentioned, the level of the water spay depends on the throttle, so it’s best to keep it low if there are others around you. Additionally, riding too close to boats or docks can be dangerous, so it’s always wise to stay at a safe distance! What’s more, if the wind comes from the “right” direction you can even soak yourself with your own water spray.
  • Riding in groups: A similar problem arises if you want to ride in a group or close to others. These occasions can include a quick ride with your friend or even large events where you can ride with many other riders. With your jet ski’s rooster tail, you can accidentally spray others around you, which they won’t be happy with! Because of this, always pay close attention to others!
  • Watersports: When it comes to tow sports, the squirting water fountains on the jet ski could be a problem. Towing with a jet ski became more popular over the years, however, it has its own cons, besides the advantages. Behind jet skis, there is a continuous water cloud called “jet spray”. This problem varies depending on many factors like the jet ski’s hull design, speed or even weather conditions. Unfortunately, the rooster tail makes this issue much worse, as a wakeboarder gets much more water in his face, continuously. It doesn’t just make the wakeboarder harder to see, but can quickly become really frustrating!
  • Rear platform issues: Today’s jet skis are as big as smaller boats, so owners use them for more activities like jet ski fishing. Fishermen are known for taking tons of gear with them any, and they have to store it somewhere. To make this storing issue easier, there are several good jet ski fishing racks, coolers and other useful stuff on the market. But where can you place these racks and coolers on the jet ski? On the rear platform! But if there is squirting water spray coming out from the middle of the rear platform, you can hardly place this fishing rack on them! It’s the same problem if you want to store an extra gas can or a tube on this rear platform.
  • Jet ski racing: Jet ski racers also remove this feature for obvious reasons. On one hand, they don’t want to disturb the other racers with the spray, but on the other hand, they want to get the maximum available power from their pump. Although this squirting water doesn’t have a huge effect on performance, it’s a fact that it decreases the pressure in the pump. And as we know, racers need as much speed as possible!

How to Get Rid of the Jet Ski Rooster Tail

Because of the disadvantages above, there are many riders who want to remove the rooster tail from their jet ski, and for good reason. They can get rid of the annoying water spray and can use the rear platform without any issues.

As you can see, there are many cases where removing this feature definitely makes sense.

If you don’t want your jet ski to shoot up water in the air, you may be wondering how you can remove this feature.

One way is to take it to your dealer and request this modification. If you don’t have any experience servicing or modifying jet skis, it’s not recommended you do it yourself. But if you have experience and the proper tools, you can consider doing it yourself.

First, you have to decide if you want to cut this feature completely, or you may prefer to install a tap (ball valve) into the system.

If you want to extinguish the water spray completely, you can simply install a rubber stopper into the hose. But just make sure that you secure it properly i.e.,with strong zip ties.

Another common solution is to simply cut the hose and install a simple tap (ball valve) in it. This way, you can turn it off or at any time based on your needs.

If you decide to make one of these modifications on your ski, always double-check the hose. Currently, the hoses are made braided, which means they are resistant to the increased pressure in them.

If you have an older jet ski and the hose is thinner rubber, always replace it with a braided hose before you install a plug or a tap in it!

Jet Ski Rooster Tail Kit Installation

While many riders would like to remove their jet ski’s visibility spout, surprisingly there are others who just want to install one on their ski!

If they’re lucky, they can find a complete “jet ski rooster tail kit” on the market that contains every necessary part. The other solution again is a reputable dealership or a service shop that can install this system in their ski.


Why Do Jet Skis Shoot Water Up?The reason why many jet ski models shoot water up in the air is that it makes the jet skis more visible, especially on rough water between the waves. This squirting water spray does the same job as the orange flag on quads and dune buggies.

Besides their advantages, this feature has cons at the same time. The water spray is annoying for others close to you, including the wakeboard rider behind you. You also can’t locate your gear on the rear platform because of the squirting water!

Because of these factors, many riders remove this system, or just install a tap into the hose and turn the system on/off based on their needs.

If you want to remove yours, you can consider managing this by yourself if you have the tools and some experience. If not, it’s recommended you get it done by your dealer!