Before moving a jet ski into storage for the off-season, it’s important to winterize your vehicle. From cleaning the watercraft’s exterior to flushing the engine system, here are some necessary steps for winterizing a jet ski.
Winterize the Jet Ski Exterior
As you get ready to put your jet ski away for the winter, you need to start by cleaning the exterior of your personal watercraft.
- Remove all gear from storage spaces under seats
- Wash the hull thoroughly to remove any grime or algae
- If you ride in salt water, take special care to ensure no salt residue is left behind
- Wipe down and dry the seat, handles, and hull to limit any degradation of the material
- Keep storage compartments open slightly to ensure no moisture is trapped and so air can move freely
- Add finishing wax to the hull to seal the surface and protect it against moisture
Winterize the Jet Ski Engine
Because jet skis suck in water to help keep their engines cool during use, it’s necessary to drain the engine before moving your watercraft to storage.
- Tilt the jet ski up slightly and turn the handles side to side
- In 20-second increments, run the engine and pull the throttle once or twice to remove excess water
- When water is no longer visible, remove the air filter and spray fogging oil into the carburetor
- Run the engine for about 15-20 seconds while spraying the fogging oil (which helps lubricate moving parts inside of the engine)
- Replace the air filter and carefully remove the spark plugs
- Spray fogging oil into the spark plug cylinders, cover with a shop towel, and run the engine again for about 10 seconds
- Reinsert the spark plugs and wipe down any excess oil on the engine
Winterize the Jet Ski Exhaust System
Winterizing the exhaust is only necessary if you live in a cold climate and plan to store your jet ski outdoors during the off-season.
- Make a 50/50 solution of water and RV antifreeze
- Hook up a hose or water pump to the flush outlet and place the opposite end in the solution
- Turn on the engine and run it until all solution has run through the engine
- If worried about overheating, run the engine in short spurts for 10-20 seconds
Preparing a Jet Ski for Winter Storage
After you’ve washed the jet ski and drained its engine, it’s time to finish off your jet ski winterization with more basic vehicle storage steps. These tips can help extend the life of your watercraft while also making it easy for you to get back on the water when the next season kicks off.
Drain or Stabilize Fuel
Before storing a jet ski long term, you need to either drain the fuel system or top it off and add a fuel stabilizer. Depending on the size of your tank, you can find a bottle of fuel stabilizer for anywhere for as low as $5.
If you’re planning to keep your jet ski at a storage facility, check with the facility manager to see if you’re required to drain the fuel tank before moving your vehicle into self storage. If you’re allowed to keep fuel in the tank, be sure to add a stabilizer and run the engine in short intervals before storing.
Remove the Battery
If you leave the battery in your jet ski over the winter, you may return to find the battery dead next season. Consider hooking the battery up to a trickle charger while your vehicle is in storage. Just make sure you’re allowed to plug it in at the storage facility. If not, charge it at home.
Change the Oil
When storing a jet ski in vehicle storage, always change the oil. Old oil can become thick and create issues for your engine if not taken care of, especially after months of use. So your best bet is to change the oil and add new oil (and maybe even a new oil filter) prior to moving to storage.
Add a Cover
While not necessary, using a jet ski cover is one of the easiest ways to protect your watercraft when not in use. There are a variety of options available today, from cheap plastic covers that last only a few years to more expensive canvas covers that last much longer. Depending on how often you use your jet ski, pre-fitted covers are the recommended option.
Find the Best Jet Ski Storage Option
Looking for convenient off-season storage for your jet ski? Depending on which area of the country you live in, you’ll want an indoor or outdoor vehicle storage option!
Indoor Jet Ski Storage Options
- Garage Storage: If space is available at home, storing your jet ski in your garage is a secure and low-cost option. The only downside to garage storage is that it may force another vehicle out into your driveway.
- Indoor Storage Unit: Storing a jet ski inside a storage unit at a trusted self storage facility is an excellent option. Indoor vehicle storage offers both security and protection from the elements.
Outdoor Jet Ski Storage Options
- Parking in a Driveway: At no cost to you, storing your jet ski in your driveway throughout the off-season is always a viable option. This allows you to grab your jet ski and go right away next season.
- Covered Storage Unit: Some self storage facilities may offer a covered vehicle storage option, which puts a roof above your vehicle. This provides some protection from the elements.
- Uncovered Storage Unit: This is the most common vehicle storage option at self storage facilities, but it doesn’t provide any protection from the elements.
- Marina Slip: Known as “wet storage,” keeping your jet ski in a slip at a marina is ideal for those storing watercraft in warmer climates.