Securing Your Jet Ski Off-Season: Essential Preparation and Winterization Tips

Owning a jet ski offers endless fun in sun-soaked waters, but what happens when it’s time to tuck your watercraft away for the off-season? Proper storage preparation and winterization are critical not only to maintain your jet ski’s condition but also to ensure it’s ready to go when the next season rolls around. Here’s how to effectively prepare and winterize your jet ski, whether you’re a lake-goer or a beach enthusiast.

Choose the Right Storage Option

Lack of garage space or the high costs of marina storage often lead jet ski owners to opt for self-storage solutions for their personal watercraft (PWC). Before parking your jet ski, consider whether indoor storage or a covered dry stack facility might offer better protection against the elements.

Essential Steps Before Storage

John Salvatore, General Manager at Watercraft Superstore in Clearwater, Florida, highlights two critical aspects to address before storage: fuel and battery care.

  1. Fuel System Care:
    • Fill the Tank: Use a full tank of fuel with a fuel stabilizer to prevent ethanol-blend fuels from degrading.
    • Avoid Moisture: A full tank leaves no room for moisture, which can cause internal tank issues.
  2. Battery Maintenance:
    • Disconnect or Remove: If your storage facility lacks power, remove the battery and store it in a controlled environment at home, connected to a battery maintainer.

Winterizing Your Jet Ski

In colder regions, failing to winterize your jet ski could lead to severe engine damage. Here are the key steps:

  1. Change the Oil: For models with 4-stroke engines post-2005, changing the oil before storage is necessary.
  2. Drain and Dry: Ensure all water is drained, and use an air compressor to dry the jet ski thoroughly to prevent ice formation in residual water.
  3. Lubrication: Apply WD-40 to all metal parts to prevent rust and corrosion.
  4. Fogging the Engine: Spray fogging oil into the carburetor and spark plugs to protect the engine.
  5. Exhaust System Care: Flush the exhaust system with an antifreeze mixture to avoid freezing.

Follow the Owner’s Manual

Each jet ski model may have specific requirements for winterizing and maintenance, such as lubricating cables or performing jet pump maintenance for 2-stroke engines.

Professional Jet Ski Winterization Services

If you’re not comfortable performing these steps yourself, consider hiring a professional. This can often be done concurrently with other servicing tasks, providing comprehensive care for your jet ski.

Protect with a High-Quality Jet Ski Cover

Regardless of your storage solution, protect your jet ski from dirt, pests, and UV damage with a durable cover. This is essential to keep your watercraft in prime condition, avoiding deterioration of seats and traction mats.

By following these steps, you can rest assured that your jet ski will be preserved safely during the off-season and ready to perform when warm weather returns.