Best Way to Store A Jet Ski Without and With A Trailer – Indoors Or Outdoors

Thinking of making jet ski purchase, but you need to know how to store it when you’re not zooming across the water? Or, do you already have the jet ski, but you might need a new option for how to store it? There are many ways to store a jet ski whether you are trying to store it indoors or outdoors, and with a trailer or without.  

Just how do you store a jet ski? The main steps to store a jet ski are as follows:

  • Fill up the gas tank.
  • Drain any water from the engine.
  • Remove the battery and store separately. 
  • Change the oil if needed.
  • Add antifreeze.
  • Make sure you add a cover to the Jet Ski.

You will also want to consider performing some maintenance to prevent rust and vermin from taking up housing in your jet ski Read on to learn all about how to store your jet ski either indoors or outdoors!

More about the Overall Tips on how to Store a Jet Ski

Whether you are storing your jet ski with or without a trailer and indoors or outdoors, here are a few things you must do every time you store a jet ski:

  • Add fuel. You might be inclined to store your jet ski with an empty gas tank, but it is actually much better for your jet ski to store it with a full tank of gas. If you are storing it for a long period of time, you might want to also add a fuel stabilizer, which is going to help protect all of the lines and tanks associated with the gas.
  • Remove and drain any water from the engine area, as any excess water will lead to rust and contamination. Make sure there is no water in any of the engine components or anywhere else.  Use a compressor or this multi-purpose Master Blaster (Amazon) to blow areas completely dry (it’s also great for filling large towable tubes.)
  • Take out the battery. Batteries should never sit in an unused jet ski for any length of time. Batteries only last for so long, and if you leave them plugged in that is going to drain their service life much quicker than if they are stored separately.
  • Consider changing the oil. It is not necessarily mandatory that you change the oil, but at a minimum, check the oil and make sure it is still clean.
  • Adding antifreeze. If you are in a cold area, add some antifreeze to protect the engine from freezing. 
  • Cover your jet ski. You should always cover your jet ski when you are storing it, as it will help keep out bad weather, vermin, and dust and dirt. There is never a reason when it is ok to store your jet ski long-term without a cover.
  • A good option for a cover for your jet ski:  Jet Pro Personal Watercraft Cover. They have a number of colors and sizes. Be sure to get the right cover that will fit your specific jet ski.
  • Make sure you maintain your cover like any other part of your jet ski.  Periodically look it over and make sure it does not have any significant rips or holes. Read my tips on cleaning your ski’s cover for more.

If you would like a custom fit cover without paying the high manufacturer’s price, check out Watercraft Superstore covers on Amazon for each brand at these links.



Storing a Jet Ski with a Trailer

This might be your easiest option for storing a jet ski. The most ideal way to store your jet ski is on its trailer in a temperature-controlled garage. If you regularly tow your jet ski on a trailer to the body of water you use it in, simply store it on the trailer over the winter.

To store your jet ski while it is attached to a trailer, take the following steps in addition to the overall requirements for storing a jet ski:

  • Buy a trailer lock. A trailer lock is going to prevent your jet ski from coming unattached for any reason, whether from theft or from rolling away. 
  • Make sure you have a way to secure your trailer so that it will not roll away. Store your jet ski on a level surface, and if it is not quite level, add blocks to the low side of the trailer to make it level.

Here is an example of a Jet Ski trailer that you can use all of the time to pull your Jet Ski and then store it on when you need to store it long-term.

  • Ironton Personal Watercraft and Boat Trailer Kit – This trailer from Amazon is a great option for any of your needs towing and moving a Jet Ski whether short or long term, and you do not have to worry about taking it off of this trailer to store it.
Sea Doos on a dual aluminum trailer
Triton trailers are a premium brand available from your dealer

Storing a Jet Ski without a Trailer 

Storing a Jet Ski without a trailer might be easier from a space perspective, as you do not have to worry about finding room for a bulky trailer. However, then you have to worry about how to get the jet ski up and down a trailer on dry land.

Jet Skis are very heavy, they can be up to 1200 pounds. Unless you are The Rock that is probably too much weight for you to handle. The most important thing to consider when you are storing a jet ski without a trailer is how you are going to get the jet ski on and off the trailer and the stands. It is going to take 4 or 5 strong people to move a jet ski from the trailer to storage blocks. 

  • If you have 4 or 5 really strong friends, you can probably lift and carry the jet ski without using a mechanical hoist to assist. 
  • If you are not Hulk Hogan and do not have access to body-building friends, you can consider using a hoist to lift your jet ski onto its stand for the winter.
  • After you have hoisted your jet ski onto a stand, your procedures are similar to everything else we have discussed. Make sure you have maintained it and covered it, and you should be set for the winter.

Tip: If you do not store a jet ski on a trailer, you should store a Jet Ski on a stand. If you store it on the ground, you run the risk of damaging the jet ski. It will also be very difficult to use it again and try to lift it on a trailer. This Rage Powersports rolling stand from Amazon is good for up to 1,000 pounds.

If you need to buy a stand, consider one that is taller so that it is easier to work on your ski. Most of the ski storage racks are 12-18” above floor level. This can make loading and unloading difficult, and also doesn’t allow you to work on your ski as easily. This full height heavy duty stand from Aquacarts is pricey, but you can slide the ski off and on your trailer and work standing up.

If you are reasonably handy with tools, you can build your own cart out of wood and readily available fasteners for cheaper than buying. You can customize and accessorize however you want this way.

Storing a Jet Ski Indoors

If you are storing a jet ski indoors, you will need to think about things like how big of a storage unit you need and how to prevent small animals from nesting inside for the winter.

How big of a Storage unit do you need to store your Jet Ski Indoors?

You do not need a ton of extra room around your jet ski to store it. That said, it obviously has to fit. Most likely, you will need a garage or dry storage unit that is at least 10×10. But, depending on the size of your jet ski, you could need as much space as a 10×20 area.

If you are handy and have the space, it would not be too difficult to build your own storage shed to meet exact specifications.

Are there any special tricks to keep mice and rodents out of your Jet Ski?

If you are storing a jet ski indoors under a tarp or cover, that is a perfect home for mice. They will be seeking somewhere warm to get out of the cold weather. Here are a couple of things you can do to prevent mice and other vermin from taking up a habitat in your stored jet ski:

  • Use Dryer Sheets – Try putting some dryer sheets in the storage cabinets of your jet ski and anywhere else mice might go; these are known to repel them.
  • Try Steel Wool – Like dryer sheets, this is known to deter mice and other vermin from making a home. The sharp edges are going to not make it comfortable for animals trying to build a nest.

We have a full post with advice on keeping mice out of your ski.

Storing a Jet Ski Outdoors

While storing a jet ski outside is the least preferable of the options we discuss, you can still do it if you take extra precautions. If it gets below freezing where you live, you do need to winterize your jet ski. You will also need to winterize it even if you are storing it inside unless you heat your garage or shed.

We will go into detail below about winterizing your Jet Ski, but here are some overall tips on how to winterize your PWC for storage.

  • The goal is to ensure your jet ski will remain safe in winter conditions. You do not want any liquids in your jet ski that could freeze and damage your watercraft.
  • Winterizing involves more than just removing liquids, and you should take this opportunity to also oil key components and give the outside of your jet ski a good wash.

How to Winterize a Jet Ski before Storage

If you live in a cold climate, you need to winterize your jet ski before you store it. Even if you live in a temperate climate, like the Carolinas, you need to winterize. Below are the steps:

  1. Drain the engine – you need to make sure there is no water residue left in the engine, or it could freeze and ruin your watercraft. To do this, run your engine while the bow (front) is raised slightly higher than the stern (rear) so the water can easily drain out.
  • After you have removed the water, take out the air filter and spray some fogging oil into the carburetor to lubricate it.
  • Run the engine some more, about 30 seconds, while continuing to spray the fogging oil. You want to lubricate as many things as possible.
  • Now you want to put the air filter back in but remove the spark plugs. Caring for the spark plugs is an important part of the process, and you want to remove them, spray them with the fog oil, and put them back in.
  1. Batteries have a shelf life and a service life. Service life means exactly what you would think. The more your cell phone is in use (service), you are scrolling Instagram, Facebook, etc., the quicker your battery will drain. Shelf life means if they sit on a shelf unused for a certain amount of time, the battery will also drain.
  • For that reason, it is best to store your battery on a trickle charger. It is worth investing in a charger to plug your battery into in the winter months. A charger that will slowly keep your battery charged more than 0% but less than 100%. This is the best way to maximize the life of your batteries (whether in your jet ski or any other rechargeable battery that you use). I use Battery Tender Juniors, but if they ever fail, I plan to replace them with this multi-plug version now that I have 4 boat batteries.
  • To winterize the exhaust system, you want to mix water and antifreeze together. Then, run the engine and flush it with that mixture. This is going to ensure that nothing freezes over the winter. Do not mix it with just water, as that could freeze and cause problems.
  • Add antifreeze to the cooling system. This is what will prevent water from getting in, freezing, and ruining your entire jetski. This antifreeze could be the most important step as it can make sure your entire jet ski does not freeze up.

What if you do not winterize a Jet Ski?

You do not need to winterize a Jet Ski if you live somewhere like Miami, FL where temperatures never dip below freezing. Routine care and maintenance is all that is necessary.

If you live in freezing temperatures and do not winterize your jet ski, here are a few things that will probably happen to your personal watercraft:

  • The engine will freeze and break. It really is not worth it to skimp on winterizing your jet ski before storing it. If the engine freezes and breaks, your jet ski is just about shot, and you will need to buy a new one. A frozen and broken engine is one of the worst things that can happen if your jet ski is not winterized properly. It might not be a guarantee that the engine will freeze, but it’s a high risk and a high penalty if it does freeze.
  • The battery will be dead. This could be the best-case scenario and the easiest fix. However, you still want to remove the battery. If you leave the battery in, you risk needing to replace it in the spring. Or, worse case, if might have leaked and corroded your jet ski, which could lead to more major and expensive repairs.
Check your float often to make sure it hasn’t sank

Can you store your Jet Ski in the Water?

The word “store” might not be literal here, but can you just leave your jet ski in the water forever? The bottom line, if you live in an area where you have your own dock, and you regularly just leave your jet ski in the water tied to the dock, do you ever have to take it out of the water? There are a few things to consider:

  • If the body of water freezes, you must plan ahead and take the jet ski out and store it elsewhere. If you leave the jet ski in the lake and it freezes, you could destroy your it.
  • If the body of water is saltwater, you can leave the jet ski in some of the time but is best to not permanently in the water as the risk of rust or corrosion only increases. 
  • If you live in a perfect climate where it’s 70 degrees out and you are a freshwater lake, you can get away with leaving your jet ski in the water most of time. You probably still want to  consider taking it out of the water periodically to perform maintenance. 
  • Keeping it on a lift or jet dock is different and better than keeping it in the water. If you live on the water, invest in a quality floating dock or an overhead hoist if you have a cover and adequate support.

No matter where you live or what body of water, make sure you are performing regular maintenance on your jet ski. And check on it regularly.

Growth on bottom of my Sea-Doo after the float sank

Can you store your Jet Ski at a Marina?

If you do not want to try to do the maintenance required with storing a jet ski and you have access to a local marine, storing your jet ski at the marina could be the way to go. Here are a couple of reasons to store your it at a marina:

  • Convenience – You will not have to trailer your jet ski to and from your house. Leaving the jet ski at the Marina means you can just show up on that first warm day of spring and your jet ski will be all ready to go.
  • Expertise – Many marinas have a dry dock, so your jet ski will be stored outside of the elements and protected. Best of all, somebody else will be in charge of winterizing your it and doing all the hard work associated with storing it!

On the downside, do not lose sight of the fact that marinas can be expensive. Weigh the pros and cons of the expense versus the fact that you will not have to do any work!

Other things to Remember When Storing a Jet Ski 

  • Make sure your jet ski is waterproofed. I know, jet skis are made for water, but they are not made to sit in puddles of water for long periods of time. You do not want water sitting on your jet ski’s  instrument panels, for example.
  • Wash your jet ski. When washing your jet ski it is safe to use any soap that you would use to wash your car. Wash it just like your car, rinse it, soap it, and wipe it down with a soft brush and you should be all set. If you are washing it on the water, be sure to use environmentally safe detergents.
  • You should apply some products to your jet ski like wax and lubricants to prevent against rust and decay. While the fiberglass shell of your jet ski might not rust quickly, there are a lot of metal components, electrical wiring, and other plastic pieces on your jet ski that will not last for long periods of time without care and maintenance. Here are some products you might want to apply to your jet ski as part of routine maintenance before storing it for winter:

It may not be imperative to the life of your jet ski to wash it regularly, just like you can get by without regularly washing your car. However, especially if you are using your jet ski in saltwater, it is still a very good idea to wash it and regularly wax it. Part of the fun of a jet ski is going fast and that feeling where you are just skipping across glassy water. The best way to get that feeling is to regularly wash and wax your it.

  • Remember that you are probably going to need to use blocks or buy or build a stand to place your jet ski on. Whether you are storing your jet ski indoors or outdoors, storing your jet ski on a block or a stand is a great idea. Typically, storing your jet ski on blocks means you cannot move it. If you store it on a stand, many stands have wheels. The wheels will lock the jet ski in place, so it will not move when you do not want it to, but the wheels will offer the flexibility of moving it around when needed.

Here are a couple of other options for stands to store your ski:

  • ECOTRIC Watercraft PWC Dolly Boat Jet Ski Stand – This option will hold your jet ski, and it also has wheels meaning you can move the jet ski around once you have it on the stand. This could come in handy if you need to store your it in a tight space.
  •  7BLACKSMITHS Jet Ski Cart Dolly – Like above, this stand can hold up to 1000 pounds and can be used to move your jet ski around and put it in a tight space if necessary.

Tools you will need to Properly Store your Jet Ski

Anytime you are performing any types of maintenance, you will need some standard tools. For a jet ski, you should plan to have these tools on hand before you begin the project of storing your jet ski:

  • WD-40 – you will want to oil a few different parts of your jet ski to help prevent rust. 
  • Blocks – if you are storing your jet ski in its trailer, you might not need them. Although, you still might want to use some blocks to prop up the front of the trailer under the hitch.
  • Towels and other cleaning equipment – be prepared to give your jet ski a good cleaning before storing it. Regular soap that you use to wash your car would be sufficient to wash your jet ski.
  • Gas – you should store your jet ski with a full tank of gas. You also should add the special fuel primer to make sure the gas doesn’t go bad and stays usable
  • Strong friends or a Hoist – If you are lifting your jet ski off a trailer and onto blocks or a stand, plan ahead for exactly how you are going to accomplish this.

Video Research on How to Store Jet Skis 

It is usually a good idea to watch someone else do what you are trying to do. In this case, let’s take a look at some YouTube videos of people storing jet skis, so you see first-hand how to store your jet ski in all kinds of conditions. 

  • A nice and easy introduction to the 5 top tips on storing your jet ski, this video address things like rust and battery storage in winter months. This is a great video to watch if you are facing your first winter as a PWC owner.  
  • If you need to winterize your PWC, give this YouTube series playlist a look and you will learn everything you to know about winterizing your Jet Ski.
  • In addition to giving you tips on how to store your Jet Ski, this video also provides some tips and tricks on general Jet Ski maintenance that might come in handy for you.

If you need any more visual tips, you can always check out YouTube for more guides on how to store your Jet Ski!


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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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