Jet skis are the ubiquitous recreational personal watercraft (PWC) vessels providing fun and excitement for adrenaline junkies and adventure seekers the world over.
Jet skis are typically built to withstand the rigors of daily use on the open water. Factors used to determine the various price points across ranges and brands include performance, build quality, and additional features. Among the high end is one which costs as much as $20,000.
The style of the personal watercraft as well as the type of engine included are also additional determinants of price.
Jet Ski Pricing
As of 2020, there are three companies registered as manufacturers of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) certified personal watercraft. These are BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products), Kawasaki Motor Manufacturing Corp USA, and Yamaha WaveRunners.
The most recognizable brands among jet ski enthusiasts are Sea-Doo, Jet Ski (Kawasaki), and Waverunner.
Each brand presents entry-level pricing and extends to the more luxury offering which is comparable to the price of a mid-sized car. For the most part, jet skis are categorized into luxury, performance, and recreation groupings.
Sea-Doo’s 2021 lineup features the cheapest in the range, the Rec Lite for $5,500, a mid-range for just under $11,000, and the ultra-luxury line which retails for between $16,000 to $18,000.
The Waverunner’s rec lite starts at just under $7,000 and the luxury line has an introductory price of just under $18,000 and is the top seller in the luxury category of personal watercraft. Adding high-tech navigation and entertainment options easily push the price to over $20,000.
The most expensive personal watercraft on the market these days is the Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 310LX, which is touted as the most powerful production watercraft and has an introductory price of $18,200.
Building the perfect jet ski is similar to building the perfect car, as in, choosing all the desired features including entertainment and navigation, petrol type, and color before making a commitment to purchase.
Primary differentiators across the brands as well as within the various lines are usually performance, power, steering options, and other extra features that come standard.
The more features included or the more powerful and stylish the PWC, the more expensive it is likely to get. Whether this is a single-seater or two-seater also has a bearing on the cost.
Prices could even change depending on the material selected for the seats, the color of the jet ski, fuel tank size, and horsepower. Throw in some optional accessories like matching helmets and lifejackets or storage options onboard and the expense increases by up to $1,500.
Total Cost Of Ownership
Jet skiing can be an expensive leisure activity if you choose to own your own watercraft versus renting one.
Not only are jet skis expensive to purchase, but they are also costly to own. Investment in a jet ski does not end with the initial purchase.
Regular maintenance costs, repairs if necessary, storage, purchase of accessories and safety equipment as well as insurance can add significant recurring costs to the total cost of ownership.
To own and maintain a jet ski in tip-top shape is definitely a luxury expense and an investment with little tangible returns.
As with any other motorized equipment, jet skis have a finite shelf life. Constant investment is required in order to keep it operating safely and well, and it has little resale value.
After 13 years or so, the jet ski will have reached end of life and could be unsafe to operate even with the most careful maintenance.