Are Jet Skis Easy to Ride? Yes, Here’s How to Do It! [Video]

Are jet skis easy to ride? – this is a typical question of many beginners, and the answer is yes, they are! Why?

If you want to learn how to ride a jet ski, this post is for you.

We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all the basics of jet ski riding under one roof!

Are Jet Skis Easy to Ride?

Yes, there’s no question that jet skis are very easy to ride. That’s why you can rent a jet ski after taking a short course, even if you are a complete beginner. This course typically gives you a temporary „temporary boating certificate,” which is considered a jet ski license.

In contrast, getting a motorcycle license is much harder as you have to take a complete MSF course.

Let’s move on and see why jet skis are so easy to handle, even for beginners!

Jet Skis Are Small and Very Maneuverable

Compared to boats, a jet ski is always much smaller and lighter. Because of this, hauling and launching it on a crowded ramp is much less difficult and stressful.

What’s more, with a jet ski you can maneuver more easily around the dock or in a marina. It can virtually turn in place and move easily in very tight spots.

Additionally, thanks to its light weight, a jet ski loses momentum much faster in the water. This makes them quite safe as they can stop in a much shorter distance than a heavy boat.

This makes riding a jet ski far less stressful and more enjoyable!

Do Jet Skis Have Gears?

Another reason why jet skis are easy to handle is that they don’t have any gears. Instead, jet skis work like automatic cars or motorcycles!

This makes operating a jet ski much easier compared to riding a motorcycle with a manual shifter.

Surprisingly, jet skis have no neutral as they come with a “direct drive” system.

Simply put, this means their impeller and engine are connected directly to a shaft. When the engine is on the impeller spins continuously.

That’s why every jet ski features a shut-off switch, which is designed to stop the engine if you accidentally fall into the water.

Do Jet Skis Have Reverse?

Another key feature that makes jet skis easy to drive is their reverse systems. To the delight of many riders, except for some entry-level models most modern jet skis are manufactured with a reverse and brake system.

However, contrary to popular belief a jet ski reverse system works in a completely different way than the reverse systems on boats.

This is because the impeller on a jet ski always spins in the same direction, regardless of the direction of travel.

But then how does the jet ski go backward?

In a nutshell there’s a foldable bracket on the rear side of the jet ski, directly behind the pump. When you activate the reverse, this bracket lowers and reverses the direction of the water jet.

When you move forward, this water jet simply squirts out from the back of the jet ski to actually propel and steer the machine. Since it squirts backward it causes the jet ski to move forward.

The reverse bracket forms a “loop” that reverses the direction of the water coming from the pump. This can slow down and move the jet ski in the opposite direction.

The Benefits of Learning Keys and Riding Modes

Other great features of today’s jet skis are the learning keys and the different riding modes.

Jet skis are extremely powerful, which can be dangerous especially for beginners. So, if you are new to jet skis, you should always ride slowly and carefully.

But let’s face it, it’s sometimes not easy as hammering the throttle is super fun!

This is where the learning key comes into play.

This key limits the top speed and the performance of the jet ski, which results in higher safety.

What’s more, most jet skis offer several different “riding modes” such as slow mode, sport mode, and cruise mode.

The slow mode does the same job as a learning key, as it restricts the acceleration and top speed of the machine.

On the other end of the spectrum, you can find the sport mode, which provides full performance. As you might assume, it’s not recommended for beginners, especially if the jet ski is supercharged!

How do You Control a Jet Ski?

Simply put, you can control a jet ski with the handlebars and two levers. Just like on a bicycle, you have to turn the handlebar in the same direction you want to steer the jet ski. You can also find two levers on the handlebars. The right lever controls the throttle, meaning that you have to depress this lever to get the jet ski to move. At your left hand you can find the brake/reverse lever.

When the jet ski moves forward, depressing the left lever causes the machine to brake.

If you keep this lever depressed after the machine has stopped you will move the jet ski backward.

It’s as simple as that!

Here’s a great video on how to control a jet ski.

Is Riding a Jet Ski Fun?

Riding a jet ski offers a lot of fun, which is why they are so popular! Did you know that there are more than one million registered jet skis in the United States? There is a good reason for this! Jet skiing is thrilling, adventurous, and a great way to relieve stress. As they say: “Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy a jet ski. And have you ever seen a sad person on a jet ski?”


To the greatest delight of beginners, riding a jet ski is super easy. However, it’s recommended that you take a boating safety course before you jump on the saddle! To get familiar with the controls and the buttons, you may want to read the operator’s manual as well.

Jet skis can be operated with the handlebar and two levers. At your right hand you can find the throttle lever, while the left lever controls the brake/reverse system.

Thanks to their design jet skis don’t have transmissions, so you don’t have to shift gears on them manually like on a motorcycle.

On top of that, they are small and easy to handle, which makes jet skis very easy to ride!

Recent Content