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Jet Ski Dangers: Watercraft Explosion Accident & Injury

Jet Skis are great recreational watercraft for an exciting and high-spirited adventure. These personal watercraft come with a variety of safety features. Yet, a safe joyride can become dangerous in the blink of an eye. When you are sitting on such powerful, intense, and vigorous machines, it is natural to ask – do jet skis explode?

Jet Ski explosions are more common than you might anticipate. The engine under the seat is more susceptible to explosions compared to other engines for various reasons, like the nature of fuel consumption, structural malfeasance, lack of active ventilation, irregular maintenance, and ignorance of the proper usage of jet skis.

As a concerned admirer of this sport, no one would like to risk their lives while riding these magnificent automobiles. So let’s dive deeper into the threats of jet skiing and how to prevent them.

Reasons For Jet Ski Explosions

Statistically, nearly 600–700 people in the US report injuries from jet ski-related accidents every year. Among them, 40–50 people do not make it out alive. So if you were to ask the question, how often do jet skis explode? The answer to that question would be rather unpleasant.

Jet skis are ticking time bombs, just like an automobile’s internal combustion engine. In the majority of cases, the wet bikes are idle and build up volatile fumes. This occurs because most jet skis are not equipped with a blower assembly. As a result, these fumes rack up. So, even the smallest electrical jolts can cause catastrophic explosions.

In essence, explosions such as these are triggered by a myriad of reasons. To categorically present them in order, we would have to segregate the reasons into the following list:

  • Lack of Active Ventilation
  • Structural Malfeasance
  • Irregular Maintenance
  • Ignorance 

Lack Of Active Ventilation

PWC, like jet skis, feature an extremely inefficient system of ventilation, also known as a passive ventilation system. 

In this system, the gas vapors that have gathered in the combustion engine are expelled out through the holes in the body. For this to take place, the system needs wind. Hence, this process is only efficient when the vehicle is mobile. 

When the automobile is stationary, that is when the problem begins. The system builds up fumes and does not get enough air to push them out. The accumulated vapor exerts excess pressure on the engine and increases the chances of a hazard.

Due to this possibility, jet ski owners are required to switch on the fan 4 minutes prior to starting the engine.

Structural Malfeasance

Jet skis are peculiarly powerful machines. In comparison to other watercraft, they also provide less safety to the rider. The manufacturing of some of these watercraft is highly irresponsible, especially on older models, to the point that some older models may lack a braking method or system. 

Due to its overpowered and prone-to-ignite engine, it makes a perfect marriage of chaos and disaster. The design of the ventilation system, as well as the engine placement under the seat, is quite dangerous. 

Irregular Maintenance

The electrical system and the gas vapor chamber are particularly problematic in the jet ski engine. Regular maintenance and discrete attention are required when taking care of it. 

The gasoline vapor is very combustible. If the jet ski is not maintained properly, the vapor will start to accumulate. As a result, the vapor compartment is prone to explosions, even at the expense of the smallest of sparks.

With the advent of modern technology, electrical systems have vastly improved. The components used in the system are insulated and sealed. However, it is not possible to ensure such safety measures for every component.

The battery, for instance, and the starter motor, which is incidentally the biggest contributor to jet ski explosions, are completely bare and revealed. 

Electrical modules are fragile in nature. And especially when they are constantly exposed to water, they are likely to corrode easily. Irregular maintenance can cause a lot of damage in this regard.


Many riders are unaware of or do not care about, the proper procedures for operating a jet ski. Like other vehicles, it also comes with a set of instructions. This information helps to make the journey safe, sound, and fun.

Especially when someone is handling a wave runner, they often forget about certain pre-ride prerequisites. When rental places fail to pay heed to these activities, it is the general public who suffers. 

Often, riders are simply taken aback by the new, enhanced, and overpowered machines. Researching the vehicle and reading the owner’s manual also helps to make the experience less intimidating.

It is also very easy to be ignorant about safety risks like properly flushing away the fumes from the engine and leaving loose battery terminals. These small discrepancies can have huge repercussions.

How Often Do Jet Skis Explode?

Every year, people from various walks of life fall victim to jet ski explosions. Although it may not seem that common, jet skis explode more often than you might think.

In June of 2021, an Argentine townie reported to the police that their personal watercraft had exploded. It is theorized that the incident may have happened because of pressure buildup in the pumps.

In another instance, a 48-year-old man in California died after starting his watercraft. The vapor had accumulated in the vehicle’s hull and exploded once ignition started, throwing him in the river. Locals and officials rushed to help but failed to resurrect him in the end.

The bystanders near Lake Hopatcong in New Jersey informed the officials about a jet ski explosion to the police. The rider remained unidentified, but authorities claimed that he sustained considerable damage.

A similar case was identified in the Gold Coast region of Florida, where a man in his 40s was injured in the leg due to a jet ski explosion.

Even the outlaws cannot escape the jet ski explosions. A 16-year-old teen got caught in an explosion when skiing in Lynnville Park, where it is strictly prohibited. She suffered several back injuries but recovered later.

Numerous such cases illustrate the horror show of jet ski accidents and injuries around the globe.

How To Avoid Jet Ski Dangers?

A few preemptive measures can be taken to minimize casualties as much as possible. Below are some steps that can be taken to avoid harm to yourself and your loved ones:

  • Regularly maintain the jet ski to ensure that there is no buildup of fumes in the engine compartment.
  • Guarantee that the battery terminals are not loosely connected.
  • Read the instruction manual carefully to get to know the vehicle and equip yourself with the necessary information.
  • Do not try to fix technical issues by yourself. Always consult an expert.
  • Make sure that you are not manhandling your vehicle too much. More strain 
  • Get insurance on your watercraft to future-proof the vehicle.
  • Fill the fuel tank very carefully and check the bilge afterward.
  • Wear protective gear and carry safety accessories whenever you are riding the jet ski.
  • Try not to abuse the powerful engine and put a strain on your vehicle.
  • Remove the seat and check the components before every trip.
  • Do not forget to service the automobile on a regular basis.

Final Thoughts on the Topic of Do Jet Skis Explode

As fun as it is to ride jet skis in the water, it is much more horrifying to experience the tragedy that follows when jet skis explode.

Although riding a watercraft has its dangers, keeping a few things in mind can make the situation immensely better, safer, and more enjoyable. 

Happy skiing! And thanks for stopping by.