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Buy the Jet Ski that's Right for You

It is true -- some decisions are more emotional than others. Sometimes you just see a particular car, boat, personal watercraft (or jet ski), and you have to have it. This is why it is a good idea to do some research on all the choices before you walk into a showroom. It is even more important to determine your requirements, and then decide which of the available choices is the best fit. If you are getting ready to buy a new jet ski, here are some questions to ask yourself before buying.

  • What is my budget for the jet ski, trailer, and insurance? If you donít know how much insurance will cost, call your agent to get a quote. Make sure you get a few quotes from different companies, as the rates vary considerably. Many boat insurers offer this service online, so you can find out in a matter of minutes what your rate will be.

  • Where will I keep the jet ski? If you have a dock you will want to add some type of docking for the new ski.

  • How many people need to ride the jet ski at one time? Our family of five had one jet ski, which was a two-seater, when we added another jet ski we got a three-seater so we could all ride at the same time. Even if only two people are normally riding the jet ski, a three-seater will provide more room to stretch out and a more comfortable ride.

  • Where will I be riding the jet ski? If you have a normally calm lake, you donít have to get a very stable craft, but if you want to ride around a choppy lake, a bay or the ocean, you will probably want a craft that can give you a stable and comfortable ride under those conditions. The larger three-seaters tend to provide a more stable ride. Different brands have different hull designs, so testing them out is the best way to determine whether you like the ride.

  • Will you be spending the day on your jet ski, doing day trips and lots of exploring? If so, having more room on the seat and more storage may be very important to you.

  • Do you have a particular brand loyalty? Some people buy a familiar brand if they have been happy with a previous purchase.

  • What kind of ride do you want? Do you want something that can go very fast? Is it important to have the maneuverability to do sharp turns? Or is the comfort of knowing the craft is very stable and you wonít fall off important? Is a thrilling ride with lots of spray and jumping wakes more your style? If you intend to use the jet ski only on hot days when you donít mind getting wet, a smaller craft is fine. If you want to extend your season into spring and fall a larger, wider jet ski will ensure that you donít get wet when you donít want to.

  • Do you need enough power to tow a kneeboarder, skier, tuber or other watersports enthusiast behind the ski? If so, make sure that the jet ski you buy has enough horsepower to carry a driver as well as a spotter and pull someone out of the water too.

  • Is there a particular dealer that you trust for repairs and preventive maintenance in your area? Sometimes this is the most important element in making a decision on what brand to buy. If you donít know of any great dealers ask around to see if anyone can recommend one.

  • Will you be trailering the jet ski a lot? Some trailers are more heavy duty than others. Be sure to invest in the more expensive trailer if you will be taking the jet ski on the road often, and for long distances. You should also make sure you get a spare tire for the trailer. Also, be sure to get a good tight-fitting cover, and make sure it ties down securely.

Once you have answered these questions you will be ready to talk to salespeople about identifying a jet ski that meets your needs. Once you have determined what your priorities are youíll also be less tempted to buy something just because it looks great, or because the deal looks good.

 There are a few other options worth considering when you are making your purchase. Some jet skis come with a small ladder for boarding from the water, but not all do. Without the ladder it can be quite difficult to board the jet ski. Trim control can be important if you are towing a lot, and carrying a lot of weight on the jet ski. Most jet skis have a towing cleat, but you should check to make sure before you buy.

 Making sure the jet ski you buy fits your budget, riding style and other needs means that youíll be happy with your purchase longer. Once you get started with your jet ski, you will be sure to talk your friends into getting one too. Group outings with friends on jet skis are just another way to have fun with it!


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