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Jet Ski Control Issues: Common Symptoms of Porpoising

One of the most rewarding experiences is riding your Jet Ski and cruising through the sea. However, there are a number of issues that could hinder your thrilling adventure, and porpoising is one of them.

There are several symptoms and causes of porpoising. Porpoising occurs when the weight of your watercraft is disproportionately distributed between the carrier’s bow and stern. This can happen to today’s high-powered Jet Ski models due to their sheer power.

But don’t worry if you don’t know what is jet ski porpoising. It doesn’t mean you’ll have to miss out on a sweet sea adventure. Yes! There’s a fix for this problem. And it’s pretty simple. 

What Is Jet Ski Porpoising?

Simply put, porpoising means that your Jet Ski will bounce up and down while cruising through the smooth water.  As you already know, there are beautiful dolphin-like beasts that jump up and down through the sea.

If you’re lucky, you may have already seen this gorgeous creature leap through the water in real life! Now imagine your Jet Ski doing the same thing.

The picture isn’t quite pretty, is it? It’s even scarier since it’s you who’ll be riding upon those things. Porpoising makes your smooth, sleek Jet Ski look more like a bucking bronco than anything else. The surging and leaping motion, going up and down, can make your ride very uncomfortable and scary. 

So, the big question in your mind should be: how do I stop my Jet Ski from porpoising? Thankfully, you can do that with some easy steps.

Dangers Of Porpoising

If your Jet Ski going up and down doesn’t sound like much of a big deal to you, you’re wrong. It’s quite the opposite! Jet Ski porpoising is a significant issue and can pose quite a bit of danger when you ride it on the water.

Here are some of the most common risks associated with jet ski porpoising:

Lack of Safety

Apart from the uncomfortable ride, porpoising can make your otherwise sweet and safe ride a dangerous one. Since the water carrier is going through so much hectic motion, it’s pretty tricky to control your watercraft and keep it stable on the water. 

In the worst-case scenario, this oscillating motion can cause your watercraft to flip. And if you’re in deep water, this can prove to be fatal. 

Damage to the Hull

As your Jet Ski keeps jumping up and down, the downward joggling motion is going to add more stress to the bow of your carrier. Slowly this accumulated damage will build up, and your hull will become increasingly susceptible to cracks and breaking down. 

Common Symptoms Of Porpoising

You’re more likely to experience your Jet Ski porpoising if you’ve got one of the latest models. Technology has offered us the best jet skis with incredible power. But that sheer power has a cost. It comes at the expense of control.

However, the problem isn’t unique to the newest generations alone. It’s a common problem amongst other water vessels, Jet Skis more than others. Since it’s a lightweight watercraft, the PWC is more prone to imbalanced weight distribution. 

Some of the most common symptoms of jet ski porpoising are as follows:

Unequal Weight Distribution

Weight distribution is vital to a smooth sailing experience. It’s not only limited to jet skis but all types of water vehicles. You may have heard that the passengers on ferries are seated evenly on the carrier. Why’s that? That’s to prevent the boat from toppling over on one side due to the uneven weight. 

The same issue happens with your Jet Ski. With a heavy stern and a light bow, the watercraft’s weight distribution is already uneven. It needs you, the rider, to even it out. 

But, if you put all your weight too far back, the bow will tend to rise, causing your Jet Ski to porpoise. Fortunately, you can solve the problem just by moving a bit forward in most cases.

Now, if you’re going to put your foot down from a dead-stop, shift your weight towards the front of the bow of the PWC. Then push your feet further towards the stern or the rear of the water carrier. 

If your Jet Ski is set with a trim, you might want to set the trim to the lowest level and turn it all the way down. You can gradually turn it up as you gain speed. Continue turning it up until you feel a drop in your vehicle’s speed. 

As you feel like you’re reaching the sweet spot, start tilting your engine down until there’s a consistency in your Jet Ski’s RPM and speed. And if you’re looking to get more bite on your turns, it’s better to keep the trim down. 

Improper Motor Height

Another tell-tale sign that your watercraft isn’t doing so great is by looking at the motor’s position. If your Jet Ski’s motor is mounted low, there’s a possibility that your PWC may begin to porpoise. Thankfully, with some nifty tips, you can quickly determine if your motor is in the correct position or not. 

You can tell if your motor height is perfect by the anti-cavitation plate. If the flat plate is surfing at the water’s surface level, then you’re safe. There should be no chance of your Jet Ski porpoising. 

However, if you notice that the flat plate is gliding below the water level, the anti-cavitation plate is going to pull the stern back. This will cause the Jet Ski to porpoise when you’re at wide-open throttle. 

Some other signs can help you decide if your motor is mounted too low. For instance, if you’re having trouble getting to the highest speed of your watercraft, chances are your PWC’s motor is mounted too low. 

Another sign is if the outboard begins to spray too much. If your water vehicle’s motor is mounted in the right spot, you shouldn’t be seeing too much water spray. 

If you find that your ski’s motor is mounted too low, there are a few things you can do. Firstly, you can use a jack plate to solve this problem. The jack plate will lift your watercraft out of the water. With a raised stern, your motor should no longer be in a disadvantageous position.

Rough Waters

Another instance of experiencing your Jet Ski porpoise is when you’re cruising in rough waters. Even if you don’t have either of the above problems, you may experience a bouncy ride when surfing through turbulent waves. 

While going through such a choppy ride, most people think sitting down is the best and safest choice to navigate such waters. However, the truth is quite the opposite. 

Always remember to stand rather than sit when going through such an area. While standing, your legs will act as shock absorbers and mitigate most of the impact. Whereas, when sitting, your spine will receive most of the blows, which can make for a very uncomfortable ride.

On the plus side, standing will give you a much better view of the area ahead. This can also help you steer clear of any obstacle of any sort. 

Final Thoughts on Porpoising and Control

While jet skis are for adventurous people who like the thrill of danger, jet ski porpoising is not the way to go about it. The best thing for you to do is to know what is jet ski porpoising and how you can fix this problem.

Fortunately, there are several easy fixes to this problem, and if you’re careful, you may never even have to face this problem. But try to keep the knowledge in mind in case of a rainy day. Stay safe with your Jet Ski on the open seas!