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Salt Water Jet Skiing: Is It Bad For Your PWC Over Time?

Be it in freshwater or saltwater, jet-skiing is always fun. But after frequently riding your PWC in salt water, you must have experienced a deterioration in performance from the watercraft. It must have left you wondering, is riding on saltwater bad for jet skis?

Saltwater is bad for your jet ski because it causes rust in many parts of the vehicle. As a result, the speed and overall performance deteriorate. Besides, the watercraft lose durability if you continuously ride them in saltwater. However, some maintenance measures will enable you to use jet skis on saltwater for a long time.

This article explains why riding in salt water is harmful to a PWC. After reading this article, you will know how long you can leave a jet ski in saltwater. It includes a complete guide to maintaining a jet ski that frequently rides in saltwater.

Is It Bad To Ride Jet Skis In Salt Water?

Saltwater is bad for jet skis because it causes corrosion to the bottom part of the water vehicle. Since salt acts as an electrolyte to make the metal lose electrons, any salt-mixed water speeds up the rusting process of the metal. Rusting happens due to a chemical process called oxidation. Due to oxidation, the atoms of the electrons of a metal object turn into ions.

During the rides, a jet ski’s metal and electronic parts get in touch with the saltwater. As a result, these parts rust and gradually become unusable. So, a long time on jet skis in saltwater is hazardous for the watercraft.

However, you can control the damage significantly by performing proper maintenance before and after the ride.

Another important aspect is the size of the jet ski. You cannot ride the smaller jet skis with lightweight hulls in the sea. Instead, you must ride big jet skis with a deep V-shaped hull.

They ensure better stability and comfort in the big waves of the sea. There are specific models of jet skis for fishing in the off-shore area.

No matter which type of jet ski you ride in salt water, you must not stay in the salty water for an extended period. You should also maintain the watercraft meticulously to save it from corrosion.

How To Prevent Corrosion Of Jet Skies In Salt Water?

Preventing corrosion of jet skis from saltwater requires some measures from the owner. After each ride, he should flush and clean the PWC to clear the saltwater.

Despite all the maintenance measures, jet skis will always remain at risk of corrosion in saltwater. However, you can mitigate the risk by taking the following steps.

Flush with Fresh Water

First, flush the jet ski with fresh water after riding it in saltwater. Carefully read the user manual about flashing it after use.

Remove the drain plugs and attach a garden hose to the jet ski’s flushing port. Keep flushing the systems for at least two to three minutes. 

If the salt level is too high in the water, you should use a salt dissolver agent while flushing it. You can use it at intervals or after every time you ride in salt water.

If the jet ski has an open-loop cooling system, flush the cooling and exhaust systems. Look for any flushing ports in your jet ski and flush them.

Clean Your PWC

Your jet ski needs regular cleaning of the hull, intake grate of the pump, and bracket of the braking system if it goes into salt water frequently.

Use a garden hose to clean those parts with fresh water. To prevent malfunction, carefully avoid wetting the electrical sections of the jet ski

For extra care, you may scrub the whole body of the PWC using a mild boat soap. Remove the seat and clean the engine compartment with a clean cloth.

The Time Factor

You should flush and clean the PWC right after it is out of the salt water. The more time your jet ski remains wet with salt water, the more rust will develop in different parts.

While taking the ride, keep track of time. You should not ride your jet ski for a long time in salt water. If required, set a timer on your phone to ensure your jet ski is not affected by saltwater for a long time.

Lubricate the Jet Ski

To keep the jet ski durable, you must regularly lubricate some of the sensitive parts of the jet ski. If the watercraft needs to run through saltwater, it requires proper lubrication even more.

You must regularly lubricate the metal and other moving parts of the PWC to prevent corrosion.

You will find special corrosion-inhibitor lubricants on the market for use on your jet ski. They are made for marine environments. You cannot, however, use the popular WD-40 lubricant on your jet ski.

While lubricating the engine compartment, use a spray lubricator. Remember to avoid lubricating the hoses and gaskets.

For the pumping and braking systems, spray the lubricant very lightly. The electrical connectors are also prone to rust. Rather than using lubricants, you should use insulating grease on them.

Using Closed-Loop Cooling System

If you intend to regularly use your jet ski in saltwater, invest in a jet ski with a closed-loop cooling system. The general cooling system of a jet ski intakes water from the surface to keep the engine cool. 

Intake of saltwater in the cooling system increases the risk of corrosion. You will still need to flush out a jet ski with a closed-loop cooling system, but not very frequently.

4 Tips To Ride Jet Skis In Salt Water Safely

Here are some tips to keep your jet ski healthy when you ride in salt water frequently. I find them very helpful for safe jet skiing.

Close the drain plugs: Before starting the ride into saltwater, always secure your jet ski drain plugs. Otherwise, the engine compartment will be flooded with saltwater.

Check for leaks: Check the bolts around the seat for leaks regularly. Also, tighten the ride plate and trim tabs to prevent saltwater from entering the system.

I suggest you do the checks before every ride you take on the jet ski. 

Install another bilge pump: Built-in bilge pumps can only work when the jet ski’s engine is turned on. If you install a separate bilge pump, you can run it while washing the PWC.

Besides, if the engine is affected by corrosion, you will be unable to use the built-in pump to get the saltwater out of the system.

Check the carbon ring: Regularly check the carbon ring of the jet ski. The carbon ring works as a seal around the driveshaft. It can wear out and let unwanted saltwater into your jet ski.

If saltwater enters through a leak in the carbon ring, it will damage the internal parts and put your life in danger.

Final Thoughts on Jet Skiing on Saltwater

Is saltwater bad for jet skis? It is a common query among saltwater jet-skiing lovers. I believe this article will help them conclude the issue.

Finally, how long you can leave a jet ski in saltwater ultimately depends on how intense your maintenance of the watercraft is. 

You must agree that the maintenance efforts are worth the fun they can bring.