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Top Tips for Buying a Second-Hand Jet Ski

Jun 17, 2021 | Insights

Our top tips will help you choose a jet ski that will last for a long time, not just a good time.


When it comes to water sports, there aren’t many things more exciting than jet skiing. If you’re wanting to buy one of your very own, looking for a second-hand jet ski for sale could save you a whole lot of money to spend elsewhere — like on fuel! But how do you know what to look out for when buying a used jet ski? Our handy guide will help fill you in.

Before you go looking

PWC Licence
While a great recreational activity, you still need to sort out a few formalities before hopping on a jet ski. Firstly, you are generally required to hold a personal watercraft (PWC) licence to operate a jet ski, but be sure to check the rules of your specific state or territory as they vary a little bit depending on what part of Australia you’re in.

Exclusion Zones
Due to safety and noise concerns, there are a few restrictions around certain areas regarding PWC usage. So it’s a good idea to make sure jet skis are allowed in the area you’re planning to take yours. You should be able to find information on your local government website that details areas and times you can use your jet ski.

You should know that there are prohibited zones, meaning you aren’t allowed to take a PWC there at all. And there are restricted zones, which allows you to use the area on the condition that certain rules are followed. Be aware of any noise restrictions in your area also, because using a jet ski in a restricted timeslot could see you ending up with a penalty.

Inspecting a Second-Hand Jet Ski

Finding a second-hand jet ski for sale
Everything is on the internet nowadays, so finding a used jet ski for sale can be as simple as pulling your phone out of your pocket and searching ‘second-hand jet ski for sale’. Once you’ve found one near you, you can contact the seller to arrange an inspection.

Engine Corrosion
It’s no secret that salt water has the ability to turn shiny metal into a heap of rusted junk. So if a PWC has been taken into the ocean, there’s a chance the engine will be corroded if it has not been looked after correctly. When inspecting a jet ski engine, keep a close look out for rust or corrosion. If there are signs on the outside of the motor, chances are the inside of the engine could be a rusty mess.

Compression Test
If you don’t have a compression gauge, it might be a good idea to purchase one before you have a look at a jet ski. Purchasing a compression gauge could end up saving you a lot of money if it identifies issues with the jet ski motor you’re thinking about buying.

When checking the compression of each cylinder, you will probably want the PSI to be around 100-160. The pressure of each cylinder should be fairly similar — a discrepancy of more than 10% can indicate that the engine may need a rebuild.

Engine Hours
The general rule of thumb is that 300 engine hours is pretty high. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find a jet ski with over 300 hours on the engine that doesn’t still have a lot of life left in it. A PWC with more than 300 engine hours could be perfectly fine for many more years if it’s been well looked after.

Checking the compression of the cylinders, asking about service history, and inspecting the general wear and tear of the body will help you decide if it’s been taken care of. While a few scrapes and scratches are part of normal use, a machine with a lot of visible wear and tear could be a sign that it wasn’t cared for. This can be a big red flag that the engine also hasn’t been well maintained.

Water Test
If you’re looking to buy a jet ski, it’s probably because you’re planning to take it on the water, right? In that case, you should definitely make sure that it actually works on water before you hand over any cash.

Things you’ll want to look for while riding the jet ski are any warning lights and its ability to maintain revs at full throttle. Of course, it could be an inconvenience for the seller to take the jet ski out for you to test drive it, but you run the risk of purchasing a dud if you don’t take it for a spin before committing to buy it.

Purchasing a Used Jet Ski
Once you’ve found a jet ski that you’ve tested and are happy with, it’s time to exchange money. Widely accepted methods of payment include cash, electronic funds transfer (EFT) or a bank cheque. If you’re looking at borrowing money to fund the purchase, Finance One offer Jet Ski Loans that could have you carving up the water in no time. 

Disclaimer: The information above is of a general nature only and does not consider your personal objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information relates to your particular circumstances.  We do not accept responsibility for any loss arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information.


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Makala Elliott

Makala is the Marketing Manager at Finance One. She has worked in the Finance and Lending industry for over 10 years, gathering a wealth of experience. She is passionate about helping Australians get back on track with their finances by passing on her knowledge.

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