Jet skis are fun, exciting, and adventurous, but are they loud?
Typically, jet skis are very loud pieces of equipment. Although recent innovations have made them quieter, they’re still quite noisy, and aggressive at times. They can hit as high as ninety-five dBA on the sound scale, equal to the volume of a symphony concert.
Read on to learn more about jet skis and the impact their noise can have on the environment.
Live Fast, Live Loud
The figures and statistics on personal watercraft, or jet skis, is clear and tells a simple story: they’re popular. It was revealed in a 2005 study that almost two million jet skis could be found across America.
However, that number had grown massively by 2020, with estimates suggesting as many as eighty-thousand jet skis were bought every year. Further, the number of people who enjoyed riding them was also subject to scrutiny.
According to statista.com, there was a boom between 2007 and 2010, whereupon eight million people a year were participating in jet skiing. Although, as years wore on that number would decline almost exponentially, dropping to just over five million by 2017.
Of course, these figures are tracked solely for the United States. They don’t take into account the millions of jet skiers in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, South America, and so on.
It’s an intensely popular sport that’s readily available in any vacation destination around the world. If there’s a body of water and it’s subject to nice weather, you’re almost certain to find a jet ski rental depot.
There have been several reviews and studies on the impact jet skiing has on the environment. The primary concern is noise pollution, given that jet skis are actually considerably loud.
In 2005, an extensive investigation took place regarding the noise pollution caused by jet skis in America. It was estimated that noise pollution created by jet skis caused a financial impact on beachgoers, property owners, and riders equal to almost one billion dollars.
This figure may seem ridiculous at first, but it takes into account several different criteria. This includes general pollution, injury to humans and wildlife, and the impact on the marine ecosystem.
These studies have revealed that a jet ski can reach levels of almost one-hundred decibels when they’re ridden at top speed. This is equal to a symphony concert, and just twenty decibels away from the sound of a jet plane on the runway.
At that level, they’re categorized as a considerable risk from exposure. The research suggests that sounds at this level can cause physical discomfort, and can seriously damage a person’s hearing.
Make it Safe, Make it Silent
Jet skis are at their loudest when they’re on the water, jumping into the air. The exhaust is out of the water and unmuffled, the engine is at its limit, and it’s at least a few feet off the ground.
As a result of all this information, manufacturers are working hard to counter the issue. They’re trying to build jet skis that both perform well, and perform quietly.
One review site, popularmechanics.com, discussed top-rated personal watercraft back in 2006. As our comments above show, the noise level of jet skis was a hot topic even back then.
In their five-part review, they mention the sound level of personal watercraft in each section, detailing which of the ‘hottest personal watercraft’ was the quietest. They determined that the Bombardier Sea-Doo GTA 4-TEC was the quietest out of all the jet skis they examined.
In their words, this made it “perhaps the all-around most pleasant ride”. After all, it’s hard to have fun when you can’t even hear yourself think.
Speaking from a more exclusive perspective, cottagelife.com discusses the loudest sources of noise pollution on private lake and water-side properties. They zone in four of the biggest contributors: music systems, lawnmowers, motorboats, and jet skis.
They highlight that while jet skis are quieter than motorboats, they “seem louder and, by extension, more annoying.” The article disseminates top tips, such as staying away from the shoreline, sticking to speed limits, and not lingering in the same spot for too long.
However, a competitor site states that personal watercraft are much quieter today than they ever have been. They detail the sound suppression technology that comes included in modern jet skis, and argue that they’re “quite quiet.”
Even today, it’s a rich debate. It’s not likely that they’ll become dead silent any time soon, but jet skis are on the path to reduced noise pollution universally.