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Guide to Maintaining Your Personal Watercraft

Riding Jet-ski

Image Credit: Counselling / Pixaby

Riding your jet-ski or watercraft in your summer break is one of the best experiences. You can skim across the water on your jet-ski and also hand down your favorite personal watercraft to someone close to you if they take care of it properly.

While owning a jet ski or PWC is fun, it also comes with responsibility. You need to give your personal watercraft like jet-skis proper care if you wish to continue using them for years ahead. Negligence or poor maintenance of this watercraft could be your biggest mistake as it impacts the overall look and performance of your jet-ski.

It doesn’t matter if you have just bought a PWC or have an old one; maintenance is essential if you want to enjoy fun rides for years. The good thing is, anyone can take care of their watercraft following simple tips. We understand if you don't know how to take care of your jet-ski before and after a saltwater ride. You can read the tips and tricks in this article as we will walk share with you all basics of caring for your personal watercraft. In this article, we will discuss:

• Basic personal watercraft (PWC) maintenance
• Post-ride maintenance for your PWC
• A few bonus tips

The Ultimate Personal Watercraft Guide
Following are some of the best tips to consider if you wish to take better care of your watercraft or jet-ski.

Learn to Clean It
Knowing how to clean your jet-ski is the first and the most important step towards caring for it. You may feel it is weird to "wash" your PWC, especially when you spend hours cruising through the water.

Plus, you may wonder if the jet-ski needs cleaning at all? Well, that is not how it works. Several nooks and crannies in your jet-ski require special love and attention, so relying on saltwater to keep your jet-ski clean can cause problems for you.

Steps to Clean Your PWC
We suggest you learn to clean your PWC yourself if you wish to keep it for years. Here are the basic steps that will work for cleaning pretty much any watercraft.

1. Start by disassembling your jet-ski or PWC. It could include opening the storage areas, the hood, and glove boxes. You should also remove any seats or seat covers. Opening your watercraft (as much as you can) will allow you to have more access to the body, allowing you to clean every part better.
2. Bung and Bung plugs can create problems in the cleaning process, so ensure removing them properly. It will help drain out water, dirt, and sand easily, helping in the cleaning process. We also suggest you remove the plugs completely for maximum cleaning.
3. Place a crate under the jockey wheel, raising your PWC from the front to maximize draining. Pay attention when you chock the wheels on the trailer.
4. Spray the whole watercraft with a hose but ensure that none of the hose water reaches the electric areas, fuel compartment, coils, or other water-sensitive areas.
5. Focus on cleaning the couplers, the fuel tank, and the motor thoroughly. Give time to clean the supercharger belt and the pulley since the siphon bilge blocks quite easily.
6. Move to the accessories, cleaning up around and under the tubs and seats. This way, you can prevent the salted sand from affecting your PWC's performance.
7. Take time to clean the area near the pump and the intake area as the saltwater usually gathers here. You can also lift the reverse bucket if you have trouble accessing the area otherwise.

Flush Your PWC after Use
People always confuse flushing with washing since they both help clean the PWC. However, both these processes are quite different, allowing you to maintain the functionality and longevity of your watercraft.

You can easily flush out the excess water, dirt from your PWC, including the cooling systems and the pump, if you follow the correct steps. You will have to deal with corroding and breakage (in the long run) if you do not properly remove all the saltwater inside the watercraft.

Water salt may not concern you if you ride your watercraft in freshwater, but you still need to remove sand, algae, and other impurities from your watercraft.

Instructions to Flushing Your Watercraft
Follow this simple guide for flushing your PWC correctly.

1. It will take you longer to flush your watercraft if it tilts to either side when you flush. Therefore, try your best to keep your jet-ski or watercraft in a level position when you drain.
2. Keep in mind that the way of flushing your PWC may differ from design to design. Therefore ensure studying your PWC manual to see what draining methods work best for your specific model. This way, you can clear your watercraft's internal system without encountering any problems.
3. You should blow excess water that you still find in the water box. You can do this by blipping the throttle gently, allowing all the water to drain out of the outlet. Ensure reading the manual if you want information on how many revolutions you should make when you are out of the water. It is important in scenarios where you have no cooling or backpressure in your PWC.
4. Always keep an additive cleaner when you flush your watercraft, and go the extra mile when you wish to keep your PWC parts clean.

Remember that there is not a specific draining time for PWCs but referring to the manual for your watercraft is the best approach.

Check Fuel of the PWC
Ensuring your PWC has enough fuel is another important factor in caring for your watercraft. It not only means ensuring your vehicle has enough fuel all year long but also getting rid of old/excess fuel at the start of each year. Combining all these different methods allows PWC owners to enjoy the benefits of their jet-skis or watercraft to the maximum. It will also ensure your vehicle is safe and as ready as you on any given day.

Fueling a Sea-Doo or Waverunner, however, isn't as simple as fueling your car. These vehicles usually require special fueling care, depending on the model of your watercraft. For example, you need to use a fuel with premixed oil if your watercraft has an older engine.

The newer models do not require owners to do this since they have separate areas for oil and fuel. Therefore, discussing your model with a jet-ski/Waverunner expert or referring to your user manual can help you decide the best fueling method.

Similarly, if you think you will not use your jet-ski for the rest of the season or want to wait for the winter, then topping your fuel tank is a good idea. This prevents condensation in the fuel tank while you do not use it.

We also suggest adding a fuel stabilizer to your PWC so that you do not have problems if you don't use your jet-ski for weeks and months.

You will need to flush out and remove all the fuel stored before you take your Waverunner out for a ride. Additionally, take care when you dump the fuel because doing it wrong could lead to land contamination and pollution. So, hiring a professional to dispose of the fuel is the best way in this situation. This way, you can avoid accidents and prevent damage to the environment.

Schedule for PWC Maintenance
Cleaning and checking the fuel levels after every ride help maintain your PWC, but what else can you do to keep your jet skis and other watercraft up to date? Following are some bonus tips that can help your PWCs last and perform better.

Post-Ride Jet Ski & Waverunner Maintenance Tips
Following are some maintenance tips to follow after a ride you take on your Jet-ski or Waverunner.

1. Clean Your Jet Ski
Cleaning your jet-ski is a must-follow maintenance tip that we already mentioned before. Try your best to clean the jet-ski thoroughly, as there may be salt, dirt, or muddy water in your PWC after a fun ride in the open.

2. Check for Damage
You will probably do damage checks before you get on your jet-ski the next time; it is also advisable to take a good look at it when you come back from a jet-ski ride. You don’t need to go into an extensive inspection as a few simple checks to ensure it has no damage are good enough. However, if you find some signs of wear, a part missing or damaged, consider making repairs as soon as possible. Taking good care of your jet-ski will rule out the need for damage checks, but it is still a good idea if you want to maintain its performance. You wouldn't want to deal with costly repairs, so fix the issues as they occur.

3. Use a PWC Lift
Leaving your PWC in the waters for long hours can damage them in the long run and cause several problems for you as an owner. Therefore, we suggest you use a PWC lift every time you come from a ride and want to keep your Waverunner out of the water for the rest of the day. You can prevent intake fouling and delaminate by following this simple step. More importantly, it will also assist you when you want to clean your PWC thoroughly.

4. Use A Cover
If you store your PWC outdoors, then you should keep it covered at all times. This little precautionary step ensures that your Waverunner stays safe from surface-level harm and retains its durability and beauty longer. All you need to do is place the cover on your ski-doo once you drain it.

A Few Bonus Tips
There are a few other tips that you should follow if you wish to keep your jet-ski and Waverunners in top-notch shape.

Regular Oil Change
Oil change frequencies can affect the engine performance and speed of your personal watercraft. While the time for oil change differs for each owner, changing it once a year is a good idea. It will help you keep your PWC engine working and help it perform the same for years.

Lubricate Fittings
Joints and fitting may face damage over long periods, and this usually happens because of low lubrication. An easy fix to the problem is taking a suitable lubricant and applying it to all the fitting and joints of your personal watercraft. It will allow your watercraft to operate smoothly even when you don't use it for long periods.

Ensure Safe Storage
All your maintenance efforts can become useless if you do not have the right place to store your watercraft. Ensure that you have a dry place where you can keep your jet-ski before you buy one. We suggest you start looking for a good place to store it if you have already made the purchase. You can reach out to your local dock or companies that help store Waverunners in the right places to make things easier.

Bottom Line
Maintaining your personal watercraft shouldn’t be a problem as long as you are cleaning and flushing it properly. Try your best to fuel your craft regularly and keep it out of the water when not in use. However, you cannot do all this without knowing about your specific PWC models. You need to remember that each of these jet skis has different mechanics, and understanding these differences plays a vital role in the effective maintenance of your PWC.

Reading more about your Waverunner from the manufacturer's manual is the safest way because you will not find everything about your personal watercraft on the internet. You should also try to connect with a repairman, PWC expert, or seller to get more info for maintaining your watercraft.