Is Owning a Jet Ski Expensive? [The Real PWC Owning Costs!]


Owning a jet ski is pretty expensive, as the annual owning costs can reach $1,000 – $3,000! However, as you will see, this depends on many factors. It’s safe to say that even an entry-level jet ski can cost you at least $1000 while a flagship model can easily exceed $3,000 a year! In a nutshell, the owning costs of a jet ski are as follows:

  • Initial costs: $5,000-$25,000
  • Monthly payments: $100-$500
  • Gas: $300-$600
  • Service costs: $200-$500
  • Storage/Trailering: $100-$500
  • Docking fees: 0-$200
  • Insurance: $100-$500
  • Other costs

If you would like to learn more about these costs, keep reading!

How Much Does It Cost to Own a Jet Ski?

Initial Costs

Depending on their performance and features, the prices of new jet skis range from $6,000 up to $20,000. If you want to finance a jet ski, you should expect a monthly payment of $100-$500.

And contrary to popular belief, jet skis don’t come with a trailer! Therefore, besides the purchase price, be prepared to pay around $500-$1,500 for a jet ski trailer.

Also, don’t forget that you will need to invest in some accessories like life jackets, ropes, bumpers, covers, and so on. Other initial costs you have to reckon with:

  • Preparation costs
  • Delivery costs
  • Registration fee
  • Trailer registration fee
  • Other costs associated with the loan

Gas

As jet skis are prone to burning a lot of fuel, you will have to face hefty gas bills as well.

Fuel consumption of jet skis varies widely depending on their performance, but the average jet ski uses 3 to 10 GPH.

As jet skis typically run about 30 hours in a year, they burn 100-300 gallons of gas each season. Finally, it results in a cost of $300-$600 a year depending on how hard you ride!

Service Costs

The service costs of a jet ski usually break down into 4 different categories:

  • Periodic maintenances
  • Winterizing
  • Pre-ride inspection
  • Repairing damaged/broken parts

Every jet ski requires one main maintenance each year. But if you purchase a new jet ski, or ride a lot, it has to be serviced more often.

On top of that, jet skis also require winterizing and pre-season preparation. Depending on your jet ski’s type and where you live, you should expect to spend $200-$500 to get these services performed by professionals.

Storage/Trailering

When it comes to the owning costs of a jet ski, the cost of storage/trailering is often overlooked.

But as a jet ski runs only 30 hours each season, this means it spends most of its time on the trailer, or in a marina!

The most convenient way to store a jet ski is to keep it on a floating dock in a marina. However, this is the most expensive as well!

That’s why many owners simply store their jet skis in the garage. As jet skis are smaller than boats, they usually fit in most garages. If you are considering this solution, keep in mind that you will have to tow your jet ski to the water every time you want to ride. This means more time and money.

Also, be prepared for “docking fees” in many marinas and ramps, unless you find a free boat ramp using this locator tool!

Another common solution is to store the craft in a self-storage unit, especially during the offseason. This means another monthly fee of course!

Insurance

Even if your state doesn’t require it, it’s highly recommended that you get insurance for your jet ski.

Jet ski insurance typically costs $100 up to $500 depending on a variety of factors like the year and the performance of the craft, and/or the insurance package you choose.

The good news is that you may get a discount if you obtain a jet ski license!

Other costs

Finally, don’t forget that there are many additional hidden costs like cleaning the craft, tickets from the U.S. Coast Guard, or the purchase of newer accessories.

Additionally, many owners like to customize their crafts, which is also not cheap. Graphic kits for jet skis cost around $300-$500, while the aftermarket performance parts can reach the thousands of dollars.

That’s why it’s recommended that you purchase a more powerful jet ski rather than tune a lower performance model with aftermarket parts.

Factors that Affect the Owning Costs of a Jet Ski

As you can see, many factors affect a jet ski’s annual costs, but the most important ones are as follows:

  • The performance and type of jet ski
  • How many hours you ride
  • Your riding style
  • Where you store/launch the jet ski
  • Whether you can service the jet ski yourself
  • The quality/number of accessories and modifications you want

Conclusion – Are Jet Skis Expensive to Maintain?

Based on these numbers, it’s safe to say that jet skis are really expensive to maintain. You should be prepared to pay at least $1,000 each year for an entry-level model, while the owning costs of a performance jet ski can skyrocket! It’s not uncommon for owners to spend thousands of dollars on their jet skis each season!

What are the costs associated with a jet ski?

  • Purchase price: $6,000-$20,000
  • Monthly payments: $100-$500 (if financed)
  • Trailer: $500-$1500
  • Accessories: $100-$1000+
  • Annual service costs: $200-$500
  • Gas: $300-$600
  • Storage/Trailering: $100-$500+
  • Insurance: $100-$500
  • Other costs: cleaning, tickets, modifications, etc.

As a rule of thumb, the performance of the jet ski and the hours you ride are always the main factors playing a role in the annual budget.

Probably the cheapest way to own a jet ski if you do the following:  

  • choose an entry-level (Rec-Lite) jet ski
  • buy it for cash
  • store it in your garage
  • take care of it properly (services, inspections, etc.)
  • do all the maintenance yourself
  • avoid modifications
  • operate it carefully and don’t regularly abuse it

In this case, you can expect the yearly maintenance costs to be around $1,000, or even less under certain conditions.

But if you are looking for more performance and comfort, you should be prepared for significantly higher costs.

Financially, the worst-case scenario would be if you did the following:

  • finance a performance or luxury jet ski (especially if it’s supercharged!)
  • store it on a floating dock in a marina
  • get all maintenance done by the dealer/repair shop
  • modify the jet ski for higher performance and purchase a lot of accessories
  • ride it hard (wave jumping, operating at full throttle regularly, etc.)
  • don’t take care of it properly and neglect the maintenance

In this case, be prepared for maintenance expenses to reach thousands of dollars a year!

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