How do You Remove Sucked up Debris or a Tow Rope from a Sea-Doo?

You can easily remove debris from a Sea-Doo with the new iDF (intelligent debris-free) system. Unfortunately, just a few of the latest models feature this amazing invention. If your Sea-Doo lacks this system and has sucked up a rope, you first have tow it back to land. Then, you should place it on the trailer before removing the debris or the rope from its pump.

If you want to know how to do it properly, this post is for you. No fluff or affiliate links, just the rock-solid info you need!

How do You Remove Debris from a Sea-Doo?

If your Sea-Doo features iDF, you can remove debris from the pump with the press of a button. How does this work? In a nutshell, the iDF is an extra set of gears in the engine. Thanks to these gears, the engine can rotate the driveshaft in the opposite direction. Just press the iDF button and the pump will force the water backward, which removes the debris from the Sea-Doo.

The system works well if seaweed, plastic bags, or other types of debris get stuck in the intake grate.

But if your Sea-Doo has just sucked up a rope or a small rock, this probably won’t work!

In these cases, you have to place your Sea-Doo on the trailer and try removing the debris through the intake grate. If you fail, you will likely have no choice but to remove the whole pump, which can be tricky.

Are you wondering how to remove a Sea-Doo’s impeller, jet nozzle, and iBR bracket? If so, don’t miss this great tutorial video!

Speaking of rope removal, ropes can usually be cut out through the intake grate. Let’s see how this is done!

How do You Get the Rope Out of a Sea-Doo’s Intake?

To remove a rope from a Sea-Doo’s intake just follow this step-by-step guide:

  1. Tow the Sea-Doo back to dry land
  2. Place it on the trailer, or pull it onto the shore
  3. Make sure the engine is turned off
  4. Try pulling the rope out by hand
  5. If this fails, get a sharp knife, and cut the rope into pieces
  6. Keep pulling and cutting until you remove all the pieces

Here’s a great tutorial on how to remove rope from a Sea-Doo:

If the rope is only wrapped around the driveshaft, in most cases this will work. But removing a rope from a Sea-Doo impeller can be challenging.

This is because you may need to remove the pump to clear it properly. Since this requires some tools and skills, unless you have experience in servicing Sea-Doos, you better take it to your dealer.

It’s also good to know that sucked ropes, rocks, or other debris can damage the Sea-Doo’s impeller as well as the wear ring. And a damaged or bent impeller can lead to a lot of problems in the long run, as it causes vibration and cavitation in the pump.

Because of these risks, after a serious jam, a quick check of the wear ring and impeller never hurts.

What NOT to do if Your Sea-Doo Sucks up a Rope

Let’s see what you shouldn’t do if your Sea-Doo sucks up a rope!

Don’t Use Reverse

Don’t put the engine in reverse, as this can lead to even bigger problems.

You can’t remove anything from the pump this way, as the Sea-Doo’s reverse system controls the bracket behind the pump. This means that the impeller rotates in the same direction even if you put the craft in reverse.

Even if your Sea-Doo is equipped with iDF, understand that it probably won’t be able to remove a rope from the pump. This is because once a rope is jammed into the pump, the only way you can remove it is by cutting it up with a knife.

Don’t Flip it Over in the Water

Towing the Sea-Doo back to the dock is a big hassle and takes a lot of time. Because of this, some owners simply flip their Sea-Doos over in the water to remove the rope from the intake grate.

But they are wrong!

Flipping a Sea-Doo over in the water is a very bad idea as you risk water getting into the hull or even the engine!

As this may end in costly repairs, the general rule is to never flip a jet ski over in the water.

Don’t Disassemble Internal Parts

Also, keep in mind that the jam is always in the pump, which is located outside of the hull. Therefore, don’t try disassembling parts in the engine compartment.

You can check and access the critical area from the intake grate or from the rear side of the pump.

Since there are a lot of parts on the rear side of the pump, you can’t reach the internals unless you take apart the entire assembly.

Don’t Remove the Intake Grate

If there is a serious jam in your Sea-Doo’s pump, it may seem obvious that the intake grate needs to be removed. However, it is not recommended that you do this!

On one hand, removing this metal grate is tricky on many models as the bolts are usually buried deep under the engine.

Moreover, these bolts need to be sealed correctly when the intake grate is replaced. Since incorrect sealing can cause a Sea-Doo to sink, so gambling with the intake grate is simply not worth the risk!

If you can’t unclog your jet ski without removing the intake grate, best practice is to take it to a dealership.


Jet skis and Sea-Doos are prone to sucking up ropes and debris from the water. This is because their pump creates a sucking force, even at idle speed. When this happens, it can cause a lot of headaches!

How do you remove debris from your Sea-Doo?

You are lucky if your craft features iDF, as this system is designed to remove debris from a Sea-Doo’s pump and does a good job when it comes to removing seaweed or other debris from the system.

But a rope in a jet ski’s intake is always a significantly bigger problem! In this case you have to tow the Sea-Doo back to dry land and cut the rope out with a sharp knife.

Here are some bad practices you should avoid if you Sea-Doo has sucked up a rope:

  • Never put the engine in reverse to remove the rope or debris.
  • Never flip the craft over in the water! This can force water into the engine.
  • As the jam is outside of the hull, don’t try disassembling any internal parts.
  • Don’t remove the intake grate.

Best practice is to place your Sea-Doo on the trailer and try to cut the rope/remove the debris from the intake grate.

If you fail, your only choice is to remove the whole pump. For this, you have to dismount the iBR bracket, the jet nozzle, and finally the impeller with the wear ring.

Unless you are an experienced mechanic, it’s recommended that you leave it to the professionals! If you can’t unclog your jet ski, best practice is to take it to a reputable repair shop or dealership. Debris (especially rocks) can damage the impeller and the wear ring, so a thorough inspection is always a good idea after a serious jam!


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