How To Dock A Jet Ski On A Floating Dock: Step-By-Step

A jet ski is not a cheap investment, and if you don’t want to leave it in the water, even if you keep your jet ski at the water. A floating dock is a great way to park your jet ski and keep it protected. But how do you safely get your jet ski up onto the floating dock and secure the craft?

Docking a jet ski on a floating dock is an easy process. The main part to get right is control of the throttle while docking. 

  1. Approach the floating dock slowly.
  2. Line the jet ski up.
  3. Give the jet ski some gas.
  4. Secure the jet ski on the dock.

There are a variety of floating docks available on the market for jet skis made by a wide range of manufacturers. The principle of getting the jet ski onto the floating dock will be the same for most models since the general design and mechanism of most floating docks are the same, or at least similar.

How To Dock A Jet Ski On A Floating Dock

A jet ski may seem like a bulky watercraft to manhandle, and while this may be true on land, water changes this aspect of the craft. In water, a jet ski is very maneuverable, and it is this aspect that the manufacturer of floating docks take advantage of in their designs of these docking systems.

It takes time to hitch up and tow your ski to the water, unload it, load it back up and return it to storage for a day of riding. To get out on the water faster and have more riding time, we use a floating dock at a marina to store our skis. We rent, but if you live at the water’s edge, you can install these yourself.

For those who are first-time floating dock owners, you may wonder how to get your jet ski up onto the floating dock. The process is quite easy, and I’ll detail it here in a few short steps so that you can master getting your jet ski safely onto the floating dock.

1. Approach The Floating Dock Slowly

There is no need for speed when loading your jet ski onto a floating dock; in fact, speed will make the process more dangerous and more difficult to control. You could end up damaging your jet ski if you approach the dock too fast.

Too much speed could force the nose of the jet ski into the end of the floating dock before it has a chance to submerge, and it could damage the hull of the craft.

Likewise, if you approach too fast, you could overshoot the dock and damage the nose and hull of the jet ski, or not hit the dock at the right angle and go over the side of the dock.

A slow and steady approach to the floating dock is what is required for the safe docking of your jet ski.

2. Line The Jet Ski Up

As you slowly approach the floating dock, line the jet ski up with the centerline of the dock or with the winch post or securing post at the front of the floating dock.

It is important to get the line up right so that the jet ski will be centered when it is on the dock, and it won’t lean to one side or the other.

Gently edge forward until the nose of the jet ski gently nudges the edge of the floating dock.

3. Give The Jet Ski Some Gas

Once the jet ski is lined up and the nose is nudging the ramp, now is the time to give the jet ski some gas. Don’t give too much gas, but rather slowly increase the amount of gas until the nose of the jet ski starts to climb onto the edge of the dock. 

The weight of the jet ski will push the end of the dock down into the water, and the jet ski will climb onto the dock. You may need to adjust the level of gas up or down to control the speed of the jet ski mounting the dock.

The tail of the jet ski will stay in the water and power the craft onto the dock. Once the jet ski is on the dock, the back end of the dock will float up again and lift the tail of the jet ski out of the water.

Do not give the jet ski too much gas as it climbs onto the dock as you may lose control, and the jet ski could move forward and up onto the dock too quickly. This may cause the jet ski to over-shoot the dock and ram the front of the craft into the mooring post or winch post and cause damage to the hull.

The key is to use just the right amount of power and be ready to slack off the power as soon as the jet ski is far enough onto the dock.

It is better to undershoot the needed power the first few tries, because you can always slide back off and try again. Overshooting can cause the rear of the ski to jump the back end of the dock, and damage the moving parts.

A few years ago, my nephew jumped the rear stop while pulling into a marina for fuel and lunch. No damage was done, but we had to recruit two volunteers to help us lift the rear back over the rear of the dock to prevent bending the steering bucket. At 850 lbs, most of which is in the rear, it isn’t easy to lift one manually back into the water.

4. Secure The Jet Ski

Once the jet ski is fully on the floating dock, the final task is to secure the jet ski in place. The purpose of the floating dock is not only to get the jet ski out of the water but also to hold it firmly in place in the event of inclement weather.

If the jet ski is not securely tethered and the water becomes rough or choppy, then the craft may slip off the floating dock and into the water, where it could drift away or sustain damage. We also lock ours down with brass marine locks for better security.

How To Undock Your Jet Ski From A Floating Dock

Undocking your jet ski from the floating dock is even easier than docking it. Most floating docks have rollers or rails that the jet ski will sit on top of, and the hull will move smoothly along these guides.

To undock the jet ski, remove the securing tether from the front of the jet ski. Then simply slowly push the jet ski back until it starts to slide backward under its own momentum.

Once it starts to move on its own, climb aboard the jet ski and lean back in the seat. Your added weight and leaning back will dip the back of the floating dock down, which will increase the angle and give the jet ski more backward momentum.

The jet ski should slip comfortably off the floating dock and into the water. You can then start the jet ski and move away from the dock.

These floating dock systems for jet skis are very simple to dock and undock from, which is one reason why they are so popular among jet ski owners. They also lift the craft high enough out of the water so that they are not in contact with the water.

If you need to lift the jet ski higher out of the water because of rough water, some floating docks come with a lift mechanism that will lift the jet ski higher out of the water. This is generally only necessary if you regularly have rough water conditions.

Conclusion

If you are intending to purchase a jet ski, you should be looking into acquiring a floating dock system to store your jet ski. They are especially useful if you live at the water’s edge and you use your jet ski on a regular basis and want to keep your jet ski close to the water but not in it.

https://www.dockmarine-europe.com/en/projects/12_rampes-a-jet-ski

https://www.jetdock.com/

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, with wakeboards and kitesurfing the next challenges for my adult kids. Click the photo for a lot more.

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