Generally speaking, the majority of production jet skis can carry 3 people along with a lot of gear. However, you can find a few models that offer a seat capacity of 2 people, while stand-up jet skis can be ridden only by one person. In the early 2000s 4-seater jet skis also appeared on the market, but unfortunately these models were discontinued after a few years of production.
If you want to learn more about jet ski seat capacities and compare the available production jet skis, you are in the right place.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled the different categories under one roof!
How Many People Can a Jet Ski Hold?
As a rule of thumb, production jet skis can hold 1-3 passengers depending on the make and model. Let’s drill into the details and take a closer look at each jet ski category by their seat capacities!
Stand-Up Jet Skis
Stand-up jet skis, as their name suggests, don’t feature any seat as you can only ride them in a standing (or kneeling) position. Besides, they have very small and nimble hulls.
Because of these features, stand up jet skis can hold only one rider. They are designed for doing tricks and buoy racing instead of carrying passengers or any gear. That’s why stand-ups are also known as the “dirt bikes of the water.”
You need a lot of practice as well as athletic skills to ride these jet skis properly.
Rec-Lite Jet Skis
When it comes to new jet skis, the smallest and most affordable models can be found in the Rec-Lite category. Currently two major manufacturers offer models in this category, namely Sea-Doo (the Spark family) and Yamaha (EX family).
Some Rec-Lite jet skis have a seat capacity of two people while bigger models typically feature a longer seat for three riders. These lively jet skis offer a lot of fun, but their seat capacities are often misleading. What does it mean?
Simply put, Rec-Lite jet skis actually have less seat capacity than their stickers suggest. This means a 2- seater Re-Lite is comfortable for one adult and a child and a 3-seater is recommended for two adults and a child.
But if we want to be more realistic, a 2-seater Rec-Lite jet ski is really a 1-seater, while a 3-seater works like a 2-seater if you are looking for a comfortable ride.
Here’s a great video on the topic:
Surprisingly, there are three different reasons for this:
1. Weight Capacity
First, besides the seat capacity jet skis also have an official weight limit. And the weight capacity of Rec-Lite jet skis is significantly smaller compared to their bigger brothers.
For instance, Sea-Doo Sparks offer a seat capacity of 2 people, but their weight limit is only 352 pounds. This means the total load of these jet skis can’t exceed 352 pounds including the passengers, fuel, and gear!
The fuel capacity of these Sparks is 7.9 gallons, which results in an additional weight of 50 pounds. Finally, the weight of the two passengers and the cargo should stay below 302 pounds. Let’s face it, this is not very much!
2. Small Seats
Another major problem is the dimensions of the Rec-Lite jet skis’ seats. These models typically feature very narrow seats that are fairly short, and these are not comfortable for more people.
They are fine for taking your kid out for a quick ride, but they are definitely not recommended for longer tours.
3. Small and Nimble Hulls
Last but not least, Rec-Lites have much smaller and narrower hulls than bigger jet skis. Because of this, they are very tipsy with heavy loads, especially at lower speeds.
Just like 2-seaters, bigger 3-seater models struggle with the same problem. Although they feature slightly longer seats (and sometimes longer hulls as well) they can carry only two adults and a child. And in many cases, this doesn’t mean a comfortable ride!
If you are considering buying a vintage 2-stroke jet ski, keep in mind that these models are pretty similar to the 2-seater Sea-Doo Sparks.
They are small, and can typically carry only one rider, or an adult and a small child at the most.
Real 3-Seater Jet Skis
If you are looking for a 3-seater jet ski with a “real” 3-passenger seat, you should take a look at the Luxury category. These models are also known as Touring jet skis and with good reason. These machines feature the longest hulls, which results in excellent stability. What’s more, the seat of these jet skis can accommodate 3 adult riders safely and comfortably.
They are also equipped with countless convenience features and are powered by 180-300 HP engines.
As you might assume, these machines are very expensive, as their prices range from $15,000 up to $20,000.
You can also find many nice crafts in the Recreation and Performance categories.
Although these jet skis are sold as 3-seater models, many of them are only comfortable for two adults (or two adults and a child).
These jet skis are definitely larger than Rec-Lites, but not as roomy and comfortable as Luxury jet skis.
Is There a 4-Seater Jet Ski?
To the greatest regret of many families, there are no 4-seater jet skis available on the market. In the past a few 4-seater crafts appeared on the market like the Sea-Doo LRV, Polaris Genesis, and Yamaha SUV. These 4-seater jet skis featured huge, 13-foot long hulls and 2-stroke engines.
But the good news is that if you are looking for a 4-seater jet ski for sale, you can still find some of these models on the used market.
However, don’t forget that these vintage machines a very aged, meaning that many of them need an engine rebuild or even a 4-stroke engine swap.
But if you want to own a 4-seater jet ski, this is the only way to go!
These huge jet skis are great for families or even for jet ski fishing.
If You Need Extra Seat Capacity
If you are not happy with a 3-seater jet ski and want to legally carry more people, you basically have four different options:
- Try to find a vintage 4-seater jet ski
- Purchase two jet skis and a double trailer
- Consider investing in a jet ski-boat attachment
- Go with a boat instead of a jet ski
All of these are great ways to carry more passengers and gear!
But if you are stuck on regular 2- or 3-seater jet skis, it’s highly recommended that you never exceed its weight and seat capacity. This is not only against the law but too much load can also make the jet ski uncontrollable or too tipsy. In the worst-case scenario it can result in an accident.
So, to stay safe and legal, always stay below the limits. You can find the exact weight and seating capacity of a jet ski in its manual, as well as on a sticker on its side.
How many people can a jet ski hold? This is a typical question of many buyers, and with good reason. Since jet skis’ design and capacities vary from one model to the next, you can hardly find two identical machines out there!
It’s safe to say that most production jet skis have a seat capacity of 3 passengers. However, many of them offer a comfortable ride for only 2 riders. You can also find some 2-seater Rec-Lite jet skis on the market, which can typically accommodate only an adult and a child. Finally, stand-up jet skis lack any seat, and can only be ridden by one person.
If you are looking for higher capacities, you may want to invest in a vintage 4-seater jet ski or purchase two separate jet skis.
Your other options would be a jet ski-boat attachment or even a bigger boat.