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6 Different Types of Jet Skis

A combination of yellow and white colored jetski on the beach overlooking the hillside background.

There are six types of Personal watercraft (PWC), that fall under brands from Jet skis to Sea-Doo. They all come under one of two subcategories: Sit-down and Stand-up watercraft. They  are: 

  • Rec-Lite
  • Sport Class/Freestyle Sit-Down 
  • Sport Fishing
  • Performance 
  • Recreation
  • Touring/Luxury

All these, as the names suggest, serve similar and distinct purposes, from fun or relaxation to fishing expeditions and sports.

Riding a personal watercraft over the ocean and slicing through the waves is one of life’s greatest pleasures, at least for me and the many water sports fanatics I know. From what I’ve seen over the years, no two Jet Skis, Sea-Doos, etc. are the same.

This article will aid you with knowing the Jet ski categories, types, and differences, choosing the best personal watercraft (PWC) for your needs, and showing you how to maintain it properly as well.

Related: Jet Ski Accessories

Types of Personal Watercraft

Before we give the details of the various types of watercraft, it’s important to define PWC and the brands that are often generalized. 

Personal Watercraft (PWC)

This umbrella word refers to a wide variety of different models and manufacturers of inflatable boats used for leisure purposes. The rider either stands or sits atop this vehicle, as opposed to sitting inside a conventional boat. Personal watercraft (PWC) are commonly referred to as Jet Skis, WaveRunners, and Sea-Doos, which are the brand names used by the three largest manufacturers.

Related: How are Boats Measured?

Personal WaterCraft Categories

Stand-up PWCs

A speed-track competitor riding a jetski at a competition.

Stand-up personal watercraft, the ancestor of the PWC class, are more compact and easier to transport. It’s also easier to keep them in working order than larger, more complicated PWCs. Single-rider stand-up boats are typically designed for more energetic purposes like doing stunts and competing.

Sit-down Watercraft

A sporty caucasian woman riding jet ski in ocean blue water at warm evening sunset.

Sit-down personal watercraft are bigger than stand-up models for quality of ride. They can tow things like rafts or wakeboarders, plus they usually have room for more than one rider. Sit-down personal watercraft (PWCs) range from slow-moving cruisers to quick racers in terms of capability. Based on their design, four people can ride in one of them.

All of these PWC variants have significant implications for the boat’s layout and operation. Some personal watercraft (PWC) types, such as those designed for solitary riders, may be optimized for speed, while others may prioritize passenger comfort. Your ultimate decision should be influenced by how you want to use your watercraft.

Jet Ski Types 

1. Performance Jet Skis

Front view of a man riding a jetski on waves.

Now let’s have a closer look at the power jet skis, also known as the muscle craft. The engineering and performance of these models have improved greatly over the years. Standard equipment on these vehicles includes things like modified injectors, forceful ECU settings, superchargers, flexible trim, inter-coolers, impellers, competition sponsors, plus scoop grates. 

It’s no surprise they’re the fastest-accelerating mass-produced boats around. Along with the core features and functionality, you’ll also find cutting-edge electronics. The ability to operate at low speeds, switch between different modes, and activate cruise control are all preserved.

2. Rec-Lite

These boats are the cheapest, smallest, most fuel-efficient, and lightest ones on the market. Recreational light-weight watercraft (or “Rec-Lites”) are a great way to enjoy the lake this summer because they are both fun to ride and convenient to pull with a compact automobile.

3. Recreational Jet Skis

Top view of a person playing a jet ski in the beautifully bright sea.

Let’s take a deep dive into the world of recreational jet skis and other watercraft now. This ski resort is perfect for families since it provides a thrilling experience without breaking the purse. Strength sufficient to competently tow tubes or a waterskier. Including regular brakes and reverse gear. And there’s enough space for three grownups.

4. Touring or Luxury Watercraft

Developed for the discriminating buyer who values both speed and comfort. There’s enough accommodation for three adults, and there’s also GPS, an adjustable steering wheel, built-in speakers, and a color scheme of your choosing. These vessels offer everything, including engine choices that are on par with high-performance variants.

5. Towing Sports

Top view of two man on a jestki towing a surf board.

Put on your wakeboard and go! Tow sports equipment has specialized characteristics that are ideal for skiers and wakeboarders. There is plenty of juice, room for three people, and Bluetooth speakers.

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6. Sport Fishing

Designed specifically with sports fishermen in mind. Intelligently crafted with user-friendly features that let you discover all the fishing spots, move in for a closer look, and enjoy fishing as never before.

If you’re still hesitant, our specialists are here to assist you in finding the perfect watercraft. Stop by now to see our full selection of Sea-Doo and Yamaha Waverunner boats.

The Many Uses of Personal Watercraft

Personal watercraft can be used for many different uses. Different types of Jet Skis, WaveRunners, and Sea-Doos can meet almost any demand you might have on the water, from family fun to solo sports.

As you research the various Personal Watercraft models, keep in mind the activities in which you intend to engage.

To better patrol water bodies, rescue citizens, and react to calls when there’s an on-water emergency, police enforcement agencies can make use of personal watercraft (PWCs).

Even though you’ve probably seen a WaveRunner etc. zipping around the beach, personal watercraft (PWCs) may be used on almost any body of water. However, you must know how saltwater affects your PWC, because it is not the same as freshwater.

Riding for the First Time: Even the most experienced riders have to begin their careers as novices. If you’re looking to dip your toe in the PWC market for the first time, the entry-level model is the way to go.

One of the best things about having a personal watercraft (PWC) like a Jet Ski is being able to enjoy it with your loved ones. For the sake of comfort and safety, it’s recommended that you choose a model with seats.

Many folks who go on a Jet Ski and perhaps other personal watercraft (PWC) do so in search of a thrilling experience. That’s exactly what you get from high-end watercraft like the Sea-Doos, WaveRunners, and Jet Skis.

A PWC is the ultimate fishing boat because of its size and versatility. Due to their compact size, these boats may access fishing spots that larger vessels cannot access, such as shallow water and confined canals.

Numerous beach lifeguard posts are equipped with personal watercraft (PWCs) for use in emergencies, such as the swift rescue of a diver or fisherman who has gotten into trouble some distance from shore.

Skiing in Saltwater vs Freshwater

A man with orange vest driving a jetski in the sea.

Spending time on the ocean is never wasted. While sailing is a great way to enjoy the water from the shore, nothing beats the freedom and excitement of a personal watercraft (PWC) ride. If you happen to live in an area with entrance to the sea, rivers, lakes, and canals, you’ll be overjoyed to learn that your watercraft (PWC) can be used in any of these bodies of water.

Your intended destination Your interest in jet skiing undoubtedly had a role in your final decision. Even if you’ve purchased the best alternative for the sea, some people won’t recognize that you still need to be careful. A personal watercraft (PWC) is vulnerable to the corrosive effects of saltwater. Your ship could corrode even in the backwaters close to the sea because of the high salt content. You should always take precautions with your PWC in these kinds of conditions.

After going for a swim or ride in salt water, you should give your gear a good scrub down. To begin, fill the water injection valve with clean water and flush it out. In doing so, it will wash out any remaining saltwater from your internal system. Using a salt dissolver might help get rid of any traces of salt that may have been missed. Using fresh water, thoroughly rinse the engine compartment to remove any signs of salt water, taking extra care to avoid submerging any electronic parts.

In addition to the hull, seating, and covering, seawater can damage other outside sections of your Jet Ski, etc. Get up, wipe down the entire PWC, then hand wash the nooks and crannies (like the ones in the seat) that the water spray won’t reach. Caring for your vehicle properly after a saltwater trip will save you money and keep it on the road for longer.

Choosing the Type of Jet Ski to Purchase

Three different colors of jetski are arranged for sale.

After deciding to purchase a personal watercraft, it’s natural to want to put in some serious water time as soon as possible. Nonetheless, personal watercraft (PWC) ownership is a major investment, and you need to plan for a Jet Ski investment in the exact way you would for a vehicle, motorbike, or watercraft. It’s important to have the answers to the following questions before making a final choice or before starting your search:

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A personal watercraft (PWC) is needed by you, but why? The thrill of a ride on a personal watercraft (PWC) is unparalleled, and the experience is considerably more enjoyable when you own one. You should know why you’re getting one, whether it’s for holiday fishing or casual use when the summer arrives.

Consider the number of people who will be using the PWC and the intended purposes before deciding on it. The personal watercraft designed for use by a single rider is often smaller, more nimble, and aimed toward more experienced riders. Larger variants can pull kayaks or wakeboarders and can seat up to four people.

Already proficient on a personal watercraft? Even though it’s not strictly necessary, you should probably learn to ride a PWC ahead of buying one.

Where exactly do you want to utilize it? You can take your watercraft (PWC) out on any body of water, including lakes, rivers, oceans, and canals. Find out where you may take your watercraft (PWC) for a spin without breaking any laws or endangering yourself or others in your neighborhood.

What is its expected frequency of use? You are more likely to make use of a Jet Ski, Sea-Doo, or WaveRunner if you live on or near the water, rather than if you have to travel for hours to reach a suitable body of water. If you want to utilize a personal watercraft (PWC), you need to think about how the seasons in your area affect you.

To what other people will it be useful? If you plan on taking younger passengers or those with less experience on Jet Skis with you, you should choose a PWC accordingly.

Please tell me how much money you have available. Before beginning your search, you should determine how much money you can reasonably spend on this long-term investment.

Which specific make and model do you prefer? There are benefits and cons to every PWC make and model that can either complement or restrict your intended uses. If you want to make sure you’re obtaining the right personal watercraft (PWC), it’s a good idea to do some research on other brands or variants and examine customer reviews when making the final decision. 

Be sure to read the specifications carefully for each model. Find out which motors can provide the desired acceleration and performance. Examine the fuel economy, emissions, and stroke/aspiration/stroke ratios of various models.

Do you plan on purchasing a pre-owned or brand-new personal watercraft? This is an important question that needs careful consideration. Although newer personal watercraft (PWC) tend to be more expensive, they may come with a warranty that covers unexpected repairs. If you inspect the used PWC extensively for possible errors and maintenance costs, there is usually nothing wrong with choosing a used Jet Ski, Sea-Doo, or WaveRunner.

Think of selecting a personal watercraft (PWC) the same way you would a car. You may either pay more for the newest model, which is what most people want, or you can choose a used model, which is what most people buy because it is cheaper. There is no “bad” option, only the one that does not work with your specific situation.

Investing in a Pre-owned Jet Ski

Side view of a red jet ski in the sea.

Buying a Jet Ski or other personal watercraft (PWC) entails a lot of work and thought, especially if you opt for a used model. Buying a personal watercraft (PWC) isn’t as easy as selecting one and just taking it off the lot. Remember these eight guidelines when you search for a used personal watercraft:

Hours Used: Knowing how many hours a WaveRunner, Jet Ski, or Sea-Doo typically lasts is useful information to have. Most personal watercraft (PWCs) are good to go for around 300 hours before they start to show signs of wear and tear. The threshold for low usage is 50 hours, and heavy usage is 150 hours. If you’re evaluating a model’s condition, factor in the number of hours it’s been used.

Maintenance documentation: No matter how many hours a PWC has been used in the past, poor maintenance can cause serious problems. Inquire about the PWC’s service history, including the number of previous owners and whether or not any paperwork exists to prove that the vessel has been regularly maintained and serviced.

Usage signs: Whenever you buy something used, you should expect it to show signs of use. Look over the outside of the personal watercraft first. Check for dings and scrapes on the outside, then move on to the interior to inspect the seat, the handles, and the controls in case there is any damage there. 

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Next, you should give it a closer inspection to see whether there is any corrosion or moisture damage. Inquire as to its storage conditions, as prolonged exposure to water, sunlight, or an open environment can hasten the deterioration of an item.

Why buy a vehicle without giving it a spin first? It seems to reason that you wouldn’t, that’s why you must jump at the chance to put the PWC through its paces at the earliest moment. You should be allowed to put it through its paces before making a final decision on a purchase if the retailer or individual seller allows it. 

If not, you need to launch your Jet Ski as soon as you get a chance. Look for a retailer that allows you to return the product within a certain time frame if you notice a mechanical or functional problem with it right after you get it.

A look at the mechanics: Taking it to a mechanic that specializes in PWCs is another option for identifying any underlying issues with a pre-owned Jet Ski. They will know what to look for to make sure your watercraft is seaworthy.

Buy a Sea-Doo, Jet Ski, or WaveRunner,  with a distributor’s guarantee or the company’s warranty still in effect if at all possible. If an issue arises soon after you make a purchase, you’ll be protected by 

this insurance.

Buying a Secondhand Jet Ski Has Three Advantages:

Used personal watercraft (PWC) are usually more cost-effective than brand-new ones. Buying a used personal watercraft can let you hone your riding skills and familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of maintenance before you drop a ton of cash on a brand new one if you have big plans for PWC ownership.

Although buying a used Jet Ski or personal watercraft is still a big financial commitment, doing so will help you become accustomed to the ongoing costs of ownership, such as insurance and repairs.

Investing in a New Jet Ski

A detailed image of a bluse and white jet ski isolated on a white background.

Purchasing a new personal watercraft is an investment because brand new Jet Skis are more expensive than pre-owned models. Nonetheless, there are several upsides to purchasing something brand new, such as:

There is no time spent by prior owners to worry about. The newest models typically have the most recent advancements in functionality and technology. Warranties are standard on much brand-new personal watercraft.

When searching for a new Jet Ski, keep in mind the following:

Unlike vehicle distributors, Jet Ski distributors keep a lower profile and deal with less paperwork, making them easier to manage. All dealings and communications should still be noted on paper for posterity’s sake. Always have the distributor put the agreement in writing on their letterhead, and consider using email as a means of communication.

Buying a new Jet Ski can be expensive, but if you know when to buy it, you can save a lot of money. A lot of things, including personal watercraft, are better bought in the off-season. If you wait until the end of summer, when retailers reveal the upcoming year’s models and begin discounting last year’s inventory, you can save quite a bit of money. Another great time to shop is at the month’s end when distributors are scrambling to achieve sales targets set by manufacturers.

Additional fees to consider when making a financial commitment. Distributors don’t have to pay to have automobiles uncrated, but they do have to pay to have Jet Skis unpacked. In addition, some companies do not have the batteries with the PWC, which means you’ll have to pay extra for that. Distributors should also cover the PWC assembly, shipping, and paperwork, driving up the price even further.

To ensure you are happy with your purchase, it is essential to do a test drive. The inability to take a boat out for a spin is a problem because many distributors aren’t located near water. Some retailers offer test drives of demo vehicles to address this issue. However, not all wholesalers will carry a demo version of every version, so you might need to visit multiple locations. If you’re not quite ready to commit to buying a personal watercraft, you can always contact a rental provider for a test drive.

Once you’ve decided to acquire a personal watercraft, you’ll need to figure out how to get it from the dealer to the house. Ask the distributor if they provide delivery options if you are lacking a trailer for secure transport.