5 Things To Do With Old Jet Skis, and a Bonus

Jet skiing can be one of the most fun outdoor water activities as they allow you to speed through waves with speed and agility. As these jet skis start to get older, they may not have the same capabilities to tackle the large bodies of water or be used at high speeds like they once did. This does not mean they become useless, and they can actually be used in new ways. 

What are 5 things you can do with old jet skis? 

There are multiple applications for old jet skis so that you or others can get more out of them and therefore enhance their value beyond their prime years. Here are 5 things you can do with old jet skis: 

  1. Casual Use 
  2. Restoration
  3. Donate It
  4. Sell It 
  5. Salvage It 

The various options for dealing with an old jet ski make it worthwhile to know that you do not necessarily have to throw it away when it is old. You and others can get more value out of the jet ski even once it is past its prime making it a worthwhile investment. At the same time, at some point personal watercrafts will age after you have used them for many hours.

What To Do With Old Jet Skis? 

Let’s go into greater detail about the 5 things you can with old jet skis. Depending on your needs or hopes in getting additional value out of the watercraft, there are many different paths you can take to make it more than an item that just sits on your property. This list gives you some creative options that make the jet ski more versatile and valuable than you thought. 

1. Casual Use 

An old jet ski may not be able to perform at top speed, and performance levels like it once did when it is old, but that does not mean it cannot be useful to you. If the engine and all the inner components are still working, the jet ski can still be used for more casual riding and use. While it may not be able to tackle large ocean waves and rough bodies of water, there are other uses. 

Consider riding your jet ski as a bit more of a low-key activity:

  • Lakes: Especially on calmer bodies of water, a jet ski can be a pleasant way for you to travel around to enjoy the water and weather at a more leisurely pace. 
  • Fishing:  Using an old ski to reach those quiet fishing spots can be a great way to spend a day on the water without worrying about peak speed and performance. Grab a few storage accessories and your fishing gear, and head out to your favorite spots.
  • Transportation: If you have waterways near your home, an old jet ski can be used to get you from one place to another (especially if you are not in a rush). While adding additional weight by carrying lots of items is not advised with an older motor, it can still help you make your way between nearby waterways. 
  • Teaching: An old jet ski (that is safe, of course) can be a good way to teach someone how to ride it. There is less fear of damage to an old jet ski because it no longer holds the same value to you as it once did. It may also not be as powerful anymore or with restrictions placed on speed, making it a great learning tool. 
  • Towing: At lower speeds, you still have the ability to tow other jet skis or small vessels if needed. These other vessels are going to need to be fairly lightweight, especially if the motor is not as strong anymore. This can be a useful way to use the old jet ski in a more casual and slow manner. 

Riding it casually is one of the few ways to still use it without making any changes to the parts or body. This is, of course, assuming that it is still fully-functional as you want to make sure it is still safe to ride. 

2. Restoration

You will need to weigh the pros and cons of restoring an old jet ski versus buying a new one. There can be large variations in cost and technology, all depending on what you hope to get out of the jet ski. Restoring the jet ski can be a way for you to get more use out of an old one. This may require replacement of simple parts that have aged or the motor itself. 

Replacing the motor can be expensive, so you will have to do the research into your specific model on the price of replacing it versus getting a new one or making money from old parts. It is also important to find out if the model you have even has different parts or the particular motor available. You may have a more difficult time finding really old jet ski model parts. 

Restoring a jet ski can also be a fun project to work on in your spare time if you are passionate about them and enjoy working on them. This is one of the more expensive things to do with an old jet ski, but the reward of completing a project may be worth it to you! 

To restore a jet ski, you should keep these things in mind: 

  • Resell value: Make sure you are keeping the possibility of reselling the jet ski in your mind. Unless you are okay will spending lots of money on the project without getting much out of it, you will want to be conscious of your investment to hopefully resell it or get something for it one day. 
  • Legality: Make sure the changes you make and the jet ski you invest in can be legally used on desired waterways in your area or state. Putting lots of money into the jet ski may feel like a waste if you are not even able to use your finished project. 
  • Budget: If you want to do a full restoration, make sure you have the funds to do it. Otherwise, you may have a half-completed project in your garage that is not usable. 
  • Outsource: Sometimes, the experts can do it in a better and more cost-effective way. Consider outsourcing some parts of the project if it will be outrageously expensive to do it or is above your skill level. 

If you are willing to put the time and money into restoring an old jet ski, this can be a really cool project to work on. Make sure the structural integrity of the jet ski is strong so that you do not have to worry about the body and can focus deeper inside. 

3. Donate It 

If you can no longer make use of the old jet ski, others can! If it is still in operating condition, many non-profit organizations may be able to use the jet ski, sell it themselves, or auction it off to raise money for their cause. This can be a great way to get rid of an old jet ski if you no longer want it and help people at the same time. 

Start locally by looking at organizations in your area that may be able to get the most use out of the watercraft. You will want to make sure this is a legitimate and trusting organization that you know will get good use out of it to make an impact. You may also be able to make these donations tax-deductible, providing additional incentives beyond charitability. 

Back in my autoracing days, the owner of the race shop I used had his dad help on weekends.  His dad was director of the county high school mechanics shop program, and he was always on the lookout for old items for his students to practice on.  A worn out personal watercraft would be perfect for that.

There are also plenty of national organizations that take boat and PWC donations. If there is a certain group of people or a cause that you care about, this can be a great solution to the watercraft that has been in storage or your garage for years. 

There are many different applications for donating a jet ski that may appeal to you:

  • Recreational use for children in need: Could be used for an at-risk youth camp or for those with special needs
  • Emergency rescues: Volunteer organizations related to water and water safety may make great use of these types of vessels
  • Auction items: Your favorite charity may not have use for a jet ski themselves, but they may be able to auction it off or sell it for money that can be used towards the organization

Please do your research on the organization so that you know exactly how your impact will be carried out. This will require a bit of reading and exploring their mission and programs if putting the items in the best hands is important to you. 

4. Sell It 

Going the more traditional route, you could try selling the jet ski at a local watercraft store, online, or to people you know. You may find that there are collectors or those looking for the specific model of jet ski that you have. Online is the best way to get as many eyeballs on your jet ski as possible, allowing you to reach a wider range of buyers at different price points. 

To sell your jet ski, you will want to make sure that the condition matches your price point. If it is still in good condition, you can ask more versus one that is non-operational. If price isn’t a concern, there are many people who buy worn out jet skis and repair them for resale.

This is the best way to sell a jet ski:  

  • Make any improvements that will enhance the value of the jet ski without making unnecessary investments that you will not get out of it. 
  • Ensure you have the title available and that there will be a proper transfer of ownership with legitimate paperwork.
  • Be prepared for a water test as potential buyers will want to make sure it is operational, depending on their use for it. 
  • Make sure that you exchange money and funds before giving them your jet ski to ensure payment. 

Selling your jet ski can be a lucrative way to get back some of the value from the initial purchase you made and hopefully got lots of use out of. 

5. Salvage It 

In the event that something is wrong with your old jet ski and this makes it unusable or does not qualify it for any of the other suggestions on our list, you could salvage it. This means that you would be selling the parts that are usable for other jet skis. This could be helpful for others with old jet skis that may have a more difficult time finding parts for their particular model. 

You can sell these parts online or put them up for auction to hopefully make some money back on your initial investment. There are many different components of a jet ski that may need to be replaced, and others can make use for these. Some of these parts include: 

  • Engines: This is probably one of the most valuable parts you can part ways with to make some money. When people are restoring their jet skis, these are items they are often looking for. 
  • Hatch Covers: Being made of plastic, a hatch cover can easily crack or become damaged with extended use or being exposed to the elements. 
  • Seats: Sun damage and wear and tear are common on jet skis as they are sat on and exposed to water and the elements frequently. 
  • Intake Screens: Items related to water intake and surrounding areas are important for making sure the jet ski can easily run and protect the engine. 
  • Gauges: Gauges are often long-lasting on jet skis and may still be working and valuable when the engine and overall body starts to give out. This can be an easy item to remove and sell. 

There are so many different components to a jet ski that may be usable. You may even be able to sell the metal components for value even if they will no longer have a personal watercraft-specific application. Rust can be a major problem with the metal in a jet ski, so make sure you inspect these areas to make sure they are intact and either sellable or usable. 

If you cannot find value in your jet ski and no longer want it, there are programs that exist for taking away unwanted vessels. It may be more of a burden on you to use up space at your home, and this can be an easy solution to get rid of the jet ski. This is known as the Vessel Turn-In Program, and it can make your life a bit easier! 

Flyboard Systems, the bonus option

A unique way to use the power of the engine in an old jet ski when it may not be a great ride anymore is to use it with a flyboard system. These are the cool boards that shoot you into the air like rocket boots in the water. Have you ever thought about how they get their power? You actually hook these up to a personal watercraft to supply the power. 

Many different models of jet ski are compatible with these systems, and they can be hooked up to generate the power necessary to send you into the air. The water that is typically sent out of the personal watercraft is then channeled into these fly boot systems to create high powered water pressure to propel you. 

This is a newer technology that has really caught on because it is a unique new way to enjoy water sports. While your jet ski may be old and not deliver the same amusement it once did, as long as it is in working condition, it will be able to be applied to this new system. 

The initial installation will take an hour or two, but after that, it will be good to go. If this is going to be your primary use for the old jet ski, you will not have to worry about set up every time and you can just go out and use it! This is one of the more creative and fun ways to make use of an old jet ski.

We have a whole series of posts on flyboarding. Start with How Difficult is Flyboarding, is it Right for Me? There a lot of people making good money with their flyboards. Use an old ski and buy a used flyboard system, and you can make $120/hour renting out rides.

Making Use of an Old Jet Ski  

This article is designed to give you alternatives to simply getting rid of your jet ski without knowing its other uses or applications. These have the opportunity to provide value to you and others, allowing you to get more out of your initial investment for the personal watercraft. Whether you choose to keep it or give it or parts away, its value increases for different parties. 

If your old jet ski is in perfectly good working condition and you simply want a newer model, consider trading it in. See if a dealer or watercraft seller could sell your watercraft, and you can use that value towards the price of the new one. This can make your life much easier so that you are not responsible for selling it yourself. 

These options also give you the opportunity to recycle and help preserve our environment. Throwing away a watercraft only contributes to our landfills, and by making use of parts or using it in a new way, you are able to avoid contributing to additional waste. Finding new and creative ways to use something brings both monetary value and overall societal value!



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Tim Conner, M.D.

Tim Conner, M.D. started boating in 1974. He has been involved in recreational boating continuously since then. Dr. Conner has been active in boating and watersports safety education for decades. He rode his first jet ski in 1997, and rejoined the personal watercraft arena in 2012 with a Sea-Doo GTX 155, followed by 2 supercharged SeaDoos. Scuba certification came in 1988, and he and the family have traveled the world snorkeling and scuba diving for decades. The family has recently taken up paddle boarding. Click the photo for a lot more.

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