By Logan Livers, Storage.com
Whether you’re a lake-goer or a beach bum, jet skis deliver countless hours of fun in the sun. But when your jet ski isn’t in the water, what do you do with it?
For some, there’s no choice but to park them on a trailer behind the garage, which is both unsightly for your neighbors and hazardous for your jet ski. Whether you just don’t have room in your garage or you can’t afford a spot at the marina, self-storage can be the perfect solution to your jet ski storage woes.
Before moving your jet ski into storage, however, there are several steps you must take, including draining fuel and disconnecting the battery, winterizing and servicing, deciding on indoor storage or dry stack storage, and finding the right unit size and amenities.
Preparing a Jet Ski for Storage
John Salvatore, general manager of Watercraft Superstore, which sells a wide variety of watercraft and watercraft parts out of Clearwater, Fla. says the two most important issues to consider when placing a jet ski in storage for long periods of time are the fuel and the battery.
- Fill the gas tank with fuel and use a fuel stabilizer. Popular ethanol-blended fuels don’t keep as well, so you should be conscious about that when storing. Fuel stabilizer prevents gas from breaking down. A partially filled tank leaves empty space for moisture to develop inside the tank during storage, which can cause problems later down the line.
- The second issue would be the battery, which would need to be disconnected or removed altogether and connected to a battery maintainer or trickle charger. If there are no electrical outlets in your storage location, disconnect the battery and keep it at home.
With these basic precautions, your Sea Doo or other jet ski is set for storage–unless you are facing extra cold weather over winter. Keep reading to learn more about winterizing your jet ski.
Winterizing and Servicing Your Jet Ski
Long-term jet ski storage often requires winterizing, particularly for jet ski owners who don’t live in the South.
“If you’re in the middle of the Midwest, like Wisconsin, freezing would crack and ruin the engine,” explains Salvatore. “It’s important to winterize so you don’t freeze or crack the block.”
The steps to prepare your jet ski for winter storage varies depending on the model you own, so be sure to do your research before you get started.
“Winterizing is a do-it-yourself type of thing, if you’re a do-it-yourself type of person,” he adds.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Change the oil: With a newer 4-stroke engine, which is basically the standard for any model made after 2005, an oil change is necessary.
- Drain the water: You do not want any excess water going into the storage unit with your PWC (personal water craft). Drain excess water, and use an air compressor to complete dry all parts of your jet ski before stashing it away.
- Lubricate: To prevent the corrosion, you use WD-40 to lubricate all metal parts, such as steering system components and cables.
- Use fogging oil: Remove the air filter and spray fogging oil into the carburetor while the engine is running, for about 30 seconds. Replace the air filter. Next remove the spark plugs and spray those with fogging oil. Replace the spark plugs.
- Flush the exhaust: To make sure nothing freezes up, you’ll want to flush the exhaust system with a mixture of antifreeze and water.
- Follow the owner’s manual: Servicing will vary yet again by particular model—for example, a 2-stroke engine won’t even have oil—but servicing could include lubricating cables and performing jet pump maintenance.
If you’re uncomfortable with winterizing your jet ski on your own, you can always have a professional complete the winterization steps for you. In fact, this can be done at the same time as getting your jet ski serviced, which is another crucial step to take before moving your watercraft into long-term storage.
Use a Jet Ski Cover
Wherever you store your jet ski and no matter the temperature, you should use a high-quality cover. This will protect your PWC from grim build up, pests, and the elements if stored outside. In addition, seats and traction mats could deteriorate from prolonged UV exposure.
A cover will keep your jet ski in top condition and ready for next season, so don’t skimp on this important step.
Jet Ski Storage Options
Similar to storing a boat, there are a multitudes of storage locations you could keep your beloved Yamaha WaveRunner These are pros and cons to the various places you could keep your PWC during the off-season.
Your Own Property
You could store your PWC in your backyard, driveway, or garage for free. However, many neighborhoods have rules against outdoor vehicle storage. Storing in your garage is an option if you have one, but the jet ski trailer will take up valuable space you probably need to park your car.
Dry Stack Storage
When it comes to long-term jet ski storage, indoor storage is the best option. Sun is horrible on paint, seats, and traction mats. Whenever your jet ski is not in use, it ought to be covered or indoors to protect it from UV rays, bird droppings, or anything else.
One indoor option is dry stack storage, which Shelia McKay, office manager for Lighthouse Marina and Pirate’s Cove Marina in Panama City, Fla., recommends for most watercraft on the coast.
What is dry stack storage? Picture a warehouse where boats and jet skis are stacked on giant shelves. For a jet ski owner who uses this type of storage, it’s as simple as dropping off their watercraft with the dry stack storage provider, and from there, the storage provider does the heavy lifting…literally.
Depending on where you’re located, you might not have a dry stack storage facility nearby, which means you’ll need to look for indoor storage units at a self storage facility. The good news is that this optional is typically more affordable for keeping your sweet Kawasaki jet ski safe during the winter months.
Choosing a Storage Unit for Your Jet Ski
Here’s what you need to know about keeping your jet ski at a storage facility:
- Pick a 10×10: When it comes to indoor jet ski storage, a 10×10 unit usually works best. It’s big enough to fit the jet ski and its trailer yet small enough that space isn’t wasted. Plus you’ll have some room for additional belongings if you want.
- Drive up access: You’ll need drive up access to easily store your jet ski.
- Electrical outlets: Having outlets are nice to have so you can use a trickle charger. You can also use an electric pump to inflate the tires on your jet ski trailer when it is time to hit the water.
- Security: Jet skis are expensive, so you’ll want to store at a secure facility. Look for properties with a fence, gated access, and video surveillance.
If you’re storing your jet ski in a place where you often vacation but don’t live—which is the case for most jet ski owners at Lake of the Ozarks—security is crucial. After all, you want to be sure that your jet ski is safe when you’re not using it, as well as when you’re hundreds of miles away.
When moving a jet ski into storage, whether it’s an indoor self storage unit or a dry stack storage warehouse, be sure to prepare it properly and get the right unit size and amenities for your needs. That way, your personal watercraft will be in good shape for whenever you’re ready to head out to the water again.