Even though you can ride a jet ski in the winter, there are many things to think about before getting on the water. You’ve come to the right place if you want to know what to wear and how to ride a jet ski in the winter.
Can You Use Your Jet Ski in the Winter?
Let’s be honest: jet skiing is not a typical winter sport.
Even though this is the case, serious skiers often can’t wait until spring to take their skis out for a quick spin, sometimes even in the coldest months of the year.
It’s great that you don’t have to deal with a lot of boats, so you can expect to have a great time riding. Also, “the show” doesn’t keep you waiting long at the boat ramp.
But, as you will see, there are some risks and dangers to jet skiing in the winter.
Even though jet skis can be used in the winter in some situations, your winter experience will be very different depending on where you live. In Florida, many jet skis are used all year long, but in Canada, jet skis are usually stored during the cold winter months.
But contrary to what most people think, the air temperature is not the only thing to think about before going on a jet ski ride in the winter.
Here are the most important things you need to think about:
- Air temperature
- Temperature and conditions of the water
- There are also wind, rain, and fog.
- What kind of ski do you have and
- what it has
- How your skis should be stored
Let’s get into the details and talk in depth about each one!
How cold is too cold for a Jet Ski?
As a general rule, jet skiing season runs from spring until Labor Day.
Based on this, once the cold wave in early September is over, most jet skiers will find it too cold to ride. On the other hand, there are hard-core riders who go out on the water when it’s as cold as 40–45°F. Even though everyone has their own idea of what “too cold” means, most people agree that you shouldn’t ride a jet ski when the temperature is around or below 32°F or 0°C.
This is because ice can build up in the cooling line’s intake if the temperature is around or below freezing. This buildup can slow down or even stop the flow of cooling water, which can cause the engine to overheat.
Ice can also build up on the front of the ski, making a big ice shell that makes it impossible to open the front storage.
Temperature and Conditions of the Water
Not only is the air temperature important, but so are the conditions of the water. Getting on a boat in cold water can be dangerous in many ways.
Boatingmag says that falling into the water is the biggest risk of riding a jet ski in the winter. Even if you have a good wetsuit, you can get cold very quickly in a situation like this.
When you are submerged in cold water, your body temperature drops by a lot. If you’re lucky, it will go back to normal, but in the worst case, you could get hypothermia.
Due to this risk, you should never ride a stand-up jet ski or a small, quick sit-down jet ski when it’s cold outside.
If you have a bigger sit-down ski, you probably won’t fall off of it, unless the water is very rough. Because of this, you should only ride when the weather is calm.
On top of that, you have to watch out for ice flows if you ride in really cold water. Bigger pieces can get stuck in the jet ski’s intake or damage the hull.
The weather in other places
Because of the above risks, if you want to ride your jet ski in the winter, it’s best to wait until the weather is calm and clear.
On rough water, there is always a lot more water spray and the footwells are always full. Also, there is always a higher chance of falling into the water, and the winds are so strong that they can blow through almost any kind of clothing.
Fog and mist can also make it hard to see, which makes riding a jet ski very dangerous.
So, to be safe, you should double-check the weather forecast before your ride and keep an eye on how the weather is changing.
Also, you shouldn’t ride by yourself because you never know when you might need help.
What Your Ski Has to Offer
Many riders want to know if cold water is bad for a jet ski. The answer is that it depends. Around or below freezing, ice can build up in the intake of open-loop engine cooling systems, which can cause the engine to overheat. Sea-Doos wouldn’t have a problem with it because of how they are made. They use closed-loop cooling, so it wouldn’t be a problem.
On the other hand, riders worry that the water outside could be “too cold,” which could cause the engine to run at too low a temperature. Well, this worry is partially right.
Each modern 4-stroke jet ski has a thermostat built into its cooling system. This thermostat is used to control the temperature of the cooling water.
So, the system can keep the engine at a healthy temperature no matter what the water temperature is outside. It’s interesting that these skis tend to work better in cold, dry weather than in warm, wet weather.
Most older 2-stroke jet skis, on the other hand, don’t have this thermostat, so cold water outside could hurt their performance and engines (but not necessarily).
Here’s a simple way to keep the engine warm on a 2-stroke jet ski so you can ride it in the winter:
You can put a valve in the water bypass to have some control over the water that cools the engine. With this simple valve, you can control the flow of cooling water. This lets you change the temperature of the engine.
Just make sure there’s enough flow in the system to keep it from getting too hot.
Also, before you hit the water, make sure that the ski’s cooling system works well. Before your ride, ice can build up in the system and stop it from cooling.
Even if you own a Sea-Doo, don’t forget that its exhaust system and intercooler still use water from the outside to cool down.
Also, keep an eye on how fast the temperature is dropping and “listen” to your ski. If the controls start to freeze or you notice any other problem, you should head back to the dock.
How Your Ski Should Be Stored
Lastly, don’t forget that jet skis need to be prepared for winter at the end of each season. If you want to use your jet ski in the winter, you should almost always winterize it again after each ride so you don’t damage it.
Do you want to know how you can use your jet ski all year?
During the winter, your only choice is probably to keep your skis in a heated garage. You wouldn’t have to be afraid of the ice in this case!
What Should You Wear in the Winter on a Jet Ski?
Without further ado, here are the best things to wear on a jet ski in the winter:
- Wetsuit or drysuit with sweats
- Life jacket
- Neoprene jacket/spray jacket
- Shoes, boots, and Neoprene shocks
- Gloves with a layer of latex gloves on the inside.