Sooner or later, the weather turns cold, winter sets in, and the fun on your jet ski comes to an end for the season. Whether you’re storing your jet ski at home between outings or placing it in dry storage facilities for the winter, you need to know how to pack it away properly.
Proper storage reduces the risk of damage to the ski and the maintenance required to get it back in service on your next trip or at the season opener. Some owners choose to use off-site storage facilities, and others have the space to store it in their garage or driveway at home.
This guide unpacks everything you need to do to prepare your jet ski for storage and the storage options available to you.
- In-Water Jet Ski Storage Options
- Out-of-Water Jet Ski Storage Options
- Maintenance Tips for Jet Ski Storage
In-Water Jet Ski Storage Options
After every session, most owners pull their jet ski from the water, trailering it, and drive home with it in tow. However, if you’re a frequent user, you might consider keeping your jet ski in the water rather than going through the hassle of pulling it in and out with every trip.
Here are your water storage options.
Marina Jet Ski Storage
Storing your jet ski at the marina is convenient but expensive. Still, keeping the ski in the water might be worth the hassle if you’re using it almost every day.
If you stay close to the lake or the ocean, check out the marinas in your area. Inquire about the costs of mooring your jet ski there for the month.
Marinas can charge anywhere from $50 to $250 per month for slip fees. The cost of the slip fee depends on the type of amenities offered at the marina.
Many people live on their boats and use these facilities. So, if you don’t intend to use the facilities provided at the marina, look for a bare-bones facility that focuses on slips only.
Floating Dock Jet Ski Storage
Floating docks are more common at lakes than ocean marinas. The docks usually attach to a jetty, allowing for tying off of jet skis.
Most marinas will have these floating docks available for rental. They make stepping off the jetty onto the dock easier than mounting the ski directly from the jetty.
You’ll drive the jet ski onto the floating dock, keeping it out of the water. As a result, there is no chance of the ski bumping into other boats nearby, and it’s easy to launch and pull from the water.
Lift Jet Ski Storage
This storage option is more affordable than parking the ski at a marine or using a floating dock. These “lifts” are racks that allow the jet ski driver to drive the ski into the lift and haul it from the water for dry storage.
Marinas and shipyards will use these storage systems, and they are easy to add to docks or suit freestanding use in the water. A lift makes it easy to get the boat in and out of the water, and they fit a variety of jet skis and docks.
Out-of-Water Jet Ski Storage Options
If you don’t live near the water, or you don’t get out to the lake or ocean as much as you’d like, then you have the option of out-of-the-water storage for your jet ski. Once again, the costs of this storage vary, from free to a few hundred dollars a month, depending on the facility.
Here are the most common out-of-the-water storage options for jet skis.
Garage and Driveway Jet Ski Storage
The best thing about jet skis is that they are compact and fit in most car garages. So, if you have a garage at home, you have free storage for your ski and everything you need to keep it safe.
If you’re storing your jet ski in a parking garage, notify your insurer. Most insurers will offer a discount on your policy premiums for secure storage.
The garage is the best option because it’s free. You don’t have to pay anything towards monthly storage costs, and the jet ski is always on your property.
However, storing your jet ski in the garage is a different story. If you leave the ski in the driveway, it makes it a target for criminals. As a result, your insurer might penalize you for storing your ski in the open, increasing your monthly premium costs.
Florida, for example, is the capital of jet ski theft in the United States. You can expect your insurer to charge you higher premiums by storing the ski in your driveway over the garage.
Leaving your ski in the driveway also requires you to cover it to keep the sun off the seat and the paint. Leaving the jet ski in the sun will fade the paintwork and decals, damage the gel coat, and perish the seat.
Ensuring that you have the cover secured when you get home will keep the sun off the ski and preserve its resale price.
Outdoor Jet Ski Storage
If you have a backyard, you can store your ski under a tarp or cover it in the corner of the garden. Like keeping your jet ski in the garage or the driveway, leaving it in the backyard costs nothing.
As long as you protect the skin from the sun and the elements, you shouldn’t have any problem with it.
If you’re storing your jet ski outside on the trailer, remember to get a tire cover for the wheels. The rubber on the sidewalls will perish with constant exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
If you live in an area that receives hail, consider adding padding on the ski under the cover to absorb the impact and prevent hail damage. Storing your jet ski on the trailer in your backyard is a lot safer than leaving it in the driveway or the street.
Storing a Jet Ski on a Trailer
Most jet ski owners store their skis on the trailer at home. However, if you leave your boat in the water, you’ll need to keep the trailer at home, somewhere out of the way.
You can turn the trailer on its side to reduce the footprint during storage. Either that, or you’ll have to leave it in the driveway of the backyard.
Remember to cover the trailer when not in use. Leaving it exposed to the elements will perish the tires and the electrical cables while fading the paintwork and corroding the frame.
Stand Jet Ski Storage
A jet ski stand is another great option for storing your PWC. If the ski is too large to keep in the garage or allocated space, store it outdoors on stands.
However, you might need a lift to help you get it onto the stand, which is why they are more common around marinas and shipyards than home storage facilities.
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Jet Ski Storage Facilities
If you don’t have the space at home and the marina freezes in the winter, you can look at dry storage facilities for your jet ski.
These facilities specialize in storing boats for the long term. So, if you live in the northern regions of the United States or the Great Lakes, you’ll need to keep the boat in dry storage for the wintertime.
These facilities feature climate control and excellent security with CCTV cameras. They also offer winterization services for your jet ski to preserve it until the following spring. These storage units give you secure, safe storage with no chance of damage to your boat.
Dry storage facilities range in pricing, just like marinas. The more services they offer you and the more impressive the facilities, the higher the storage costs. You can expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $125 per month to store your jet ski at a dry storage facility.
Most storage facilities offer you rates depending on the duration of storage. Storing your boat for three to six months entitles you to a discounted rate over a short-term storage option.
Look online for dry storage yards in your area. Call them and inquire about storage costs for your jet ski. Get quotes from as many different facilities as possible, and choose the one with the best rate and safest storage options.
Maintenance Tips for Jet Ski Storage
After you have your storage facility or method worked out, you need to prepare the jet ski for storage. If you’re just taking it home for the weekend and you intend to use it the following weekend, all you need is some general maintenance.
You’ll have to rinse the ski down with fresh water and give it a wash with soap to remove any fouling from the hull. Remove the drain plugs and let the deck drain before refitting them to the ski.
Dry it down and polish or wax it if desired. Cover the PWC with a weatherproof cover and leave it on the trailer for your next use.
However, if you’re storing the boat for the long term over the winter, you have more work ahead of you. Follow these tips for storing the boat over long periods.
Bleed the Motor
Start your preparations with the motor. You need to ensure that nothing is blocking the intake or outlet. Start the engine and ensure there is no water left in the system. All you need is a quick start for ten to fifteen seconds.
Fuel and Oil
Next, you’re going to need to remove all the fuel from the system and the tank. Fuel contains additives that prevent it from separating into its constituent parts. However, these additives fail after a few months, allowing the fuel to separate into a gunky mess.
If the fuel separates in your fuel lines and in the motor, it will prevent you from starting the boat next season. You’ll need to hire a mechanic to clean the fuel lines and the fuel system and motor, which will begin your season with a high maintenance bill.
Make sure you remove all the fuel from the tank and either reuse it or dispose of it in the facility at the marina.
It’s okay to leave the oil in the motor, but we recommend draining it and replacing it with fresh oil next season for best practices.
However, if you drain the oil, make sure you replace it the following season. Starting the motor with no oil in it will lead to catastrophic engine failure. If you drain the oil, dispose of it in a safe, environmentally-friendly manner.
Remove the seat and the front storage cover and examine the electrical system. Look for frayed wires or damaged plastic coatings on the wiring harness.
Tape up any bare wires and clean out the wiring bay of all grime and dirt. Spray some electrical cleaner and lubricant onto the wiring harness.
Next, move on to the battery. The battery requires maintenance before storage, or it will be flat the following season.
If you’re storing the ski for the long term, you’ll need to disconnect the battery to keep the ski from running flat over the winter.
Remove the battery from the ski and check the terminals for corrosion. Use some electrical cleaner and lubricant on the terminals to remove any corrosion and protect the terminals during storage.
Take the battery home with you and store it in the garage. Make sure you keep it in a cool, dry place, away from heat.
Cover the Jet Ski
Finally, cover the jet ski. Your jet ski cover should feature an elasticated rim that fits around your ski. The cover will have clips and tie-downs to secure the cover to the ski and prevent the wind from lifting it off.
Never cover the ski when leaving the marina or driving. The force of the air over the cover when driving will rip it off.
The cover protects the jet ski from the sun’s UV rays, leaving the paint and decals on the boat looking great when you put it in the water next year.