Riding a jet ski comes with its fair share of fun and adventure. And what better way to have fun than pulling up your jet ski at high speed onto the beach. Well, it’s certainly an exhilarating way to bring your boat to land, but is it okay?
It’s not okay to beach a jet ski because the pump can suck in sand, rocks, shells on the beach. If you start the engine with these particles inside the pump, you may end up with a gouged wear ring, dented impeller, bent shaft, or damaged cooling and exhaust system.
There are other risks associated with beaching a jet ski. In the rest of this article, I’ll show you everything you need to know about this practice and how to do it the right way. Let’s get started.
How Do Riders Beach Jet Skis?
Riders beach their jet skis by either riding directly onto the beach or pulling it by hand. While these methods seem fun and exciting, they’re not the best way to park. The safest way to go about it is to anchor the boat close to the shore.
Let’s take a closer look at the ways people beach their jet skis.
Riding the Jet Ski Directly up the Beach
This method is the most common among jet ski riders, as it’s a pretty easy and convenient way to beach your boat, but it can do more damage than good. The powerful suction of your pump can draw in sand, rocks, shells, and coral chunks from the bottom.
Dragging Your Jet Ski Through the Sand
The second method is to turn off the ski’s engine in the water and pull it to the beach by hand. Although it’s a safer way to park your boat, it’s not the most recommended, and you shouldn’t operate it anywhere near the beach or shallow water.
In the next section of the article, I’ll go into more details on why it’s not okay to beach your jet ski.
Why You Shouldn’t Beach a Jet Ski
There are several reasons why you shouldn’t beach your jet ski. The biggest risk is that you can damage your pump or cooling and exhaust system. Sand and rocks can also damage the hull and fiberglass of your ski.
We’ll take a closer look at the problems associated with this approach.
Your Hull Can Get Damaged
Riding up your jet ski up the beach can brush the hull against abrasive objects like sand and rocks. Over time, you’ll notice visible scratches in the hull’s Gelcoat and barrier coat. If you continue beaching your ski on rocks and stones, the scratches can penetrate the layers of the fiberglass.
Your ski can also get damaged if it’s resting on a sharp or hard object on the beach.
It gets even worse if a large wave hits it and moves it from side to side, as the particle that the boat is resting on can eat hard into the fiberglass. Also, the intake grate and ride plate located at the bottom of the ski may get damaged if you consistently ride your boat over stones and sand.
Sand and Rocks Can Get in the Pump
The pump of your jet ski features an impeller and wear ring that accelerates and shoots the water outward from the center of rotation to move the boat. So, if you ride the ski up the beach or in shallow water, sand and small rocks can get drawn into the pump and impeller.
Sometimes, the damage they cause can be beyond repair and require a replacement.
Your Jet Ski Can Get Stuck or Float Away
A rising tide may also swamp your ski and carry it off, leaving you stranded or having to swim across the water to get it. Things can even get worse if the waves are heavy, as they could carry your boat off before you have time to retrieve it.
Also, the falling tide can grind your ski in the sand and leave it stuck.
Although you can quickly move it back into the water by hand, in some cases, you’ll have to wait for an incoming tide to retrieve your ski. Even if your jet ski doesn’t get stuck or carried off, heavy waves can splash sand and rocks and damage the running gear and components at the bottom of the hull.
Techniques for Beaching a Jet Ski Properly
We’ve already established that it’s not okay to beach your jet ski. However, if you must do it for the sake of convenience and fun, there are a few things you can do to reduce damage.
Know the Conditions of the Beach
Having a clear view of the beach can help reduce the level of damage when beaching. Slow down at least 400’-500’ (121.92-152.4 m) from the shore as you approach the beach to gauge the water depth and density of the rocks and stones that can damage your hull.
You can tell the depth of the water by observing its color. The water is deeper if it appears dark to light blue. Shallow water, on the other hand, usually appears greenish or murky. However, if the color is difficult to tell, the general rule is that the water should be waist-deep.
Also, avoid revving your engine when beaching as it can damage your jet ski.
Turn Off the Engine
If you must beach your ski, consider shutting off your engine as you come up the beach. Riding your jet ski up the beach with the engine running can push the impeller deeper and suck up sand, rocks, and other debris.
Some ski manufacturers recommend turning off the engine when the rear of the watercraft is in at least 3’ (0.91 m) of water. Once you turn it off, move it slowly onto the beach by hand.
Also, when walking your jet ski up the beach, ensure no passenger is on the board as the added weight can push the hull further into the water.
Keep Your Vessel Straight
When you’re beaching your jet ski, avoid riding in at an angle, as doing this can cause your boat to tip over or onto its side if the hull strikes rocks, stones, or sand. To drive your vessel in at a straight angle, keep your body straight and lift your head.
Also, avoid putting pressure on the handlebars or staring at the water directly in front of you.
Anchor Your Jet Ski Instead of Beaching It
It’s best to anchor your boat instead of beaching it.
Anchoring helps you avoid all the problems I mentioned earlier in the article. It also gives you some peace of mind about your watercraft’s safety as you go on to enjoy the beach.
An anchor can also be useful in other situations, such as leaving your ski at a friend’s house or parking at a restaurant where there is no dock or the one available is full. Plus, anchoring is easy if you do it the right way.
Let’s get into more details on how to anchor your jet ski.
Choose an Anchor
There are several types of anchors designed for different purposes. When choosing an anchor for your jet ski, consider your watercraft’s bottom, weight, and dimensions and the anchor’s holding power, weight, size, and ease of use.
I’ll go into more details on the different types of anchors later in the article.
Prepare Your Anchor Line
The second task is to find an anchor line of the appropriate length. When selecting an anchor, the general rule of thumb is to choose one greater in length than the water depth and conditions.
If it’s too short, the waves can crash into the anchor and carry your jet ski off.
If there is no strong current and the water is quiet, you should look for an anchor with a ratio of 3:1 with the water depth. So, if the water depth is 4’ (1.22 m), your anchor line should be 9’ (2.74 m).
For wavy water, the recommended ratio is 7:1. This means that you need a 21’ (6.40 m) anchor for a water depth of 3’ (0.91 m).
Once you’ve found a suitable anchor line, you’ll need to attach it to the anchor.
Anchor Your Jet Ski
To anchor your jet ski:
- Drop the anchor slowly in the water and release the anchor line.
- Ensure it’s not dragging or prone to tangling.
- Once you have a good length in the water, tie the anchor line to your jet ski’s bow eye.
If it doesn’t hold well or the wind or current changes, you may need to reset the anchor.
Types of Anchor
As mentioned earlier, anchors come in different designs, shapes, and sizes. Consider the pros and cons of each and how they fit your anchoring needs. Below are some of the anchor options you can select from.
This type of anchor is the most common for jet ski riders, as it offers simplicity, functionality, and convenience. It doesn’t take up much space in your storage hatch and won’t bounce around, and the extra space it offers allows you to load up on longer anchor lines and other items you need on your journey.
To use it, all you need to do is fill it up with sand or rocks, and depending on the brand, it can hold up to 50 lbs (22 kg). Once you’ve unanchored, dump out the contents of the bag and toss it.
It works well in both shallow and deeper water. However, it may not be the best solution when there’s a strong current or crashing waves.
Screw anchors are also great for anchoring in shallow water in muddy and sandy areas. As the name suggests, this type of anchor requires you to manually screw it in the water, which is probably its main disadvantage.
However, they provide better holding power than most other anchor types, even if you can only use them for depths of up to 3’ to 4’ (0.91 to 1.21 m). They are also foldable, which allows for more convenient storage and easier transport.
The other disadvantage of screw anchors is that they are not suitable for waters with a rocky bottom and may be difficult to retrieve quickly.
Anchor poles are also great for shallow water anchoring in mud and soft bottoms. This anchor uses a pole that requires you to push into the bottom, and it has a recommended anchoring depth that varies between 4’ to 6’ (1.21 to 1.82 m), depending on the pole’s height.
After deploying the pole in the water, you’ll need to secure your jet ski to it with an anchor line or mounting brackets.
One advantage of the anchor pole over the screw anchor is that you can quickly retrieve it if you need to move to a different location. This convenience and ease of use make it one of the most effective anchoring tools and a favorite among jet ski riders and anglers for shallow channel fishing.
Because of their size and weight, mushroom anchors are great for anchoring larger jet skis, as they offer increased holding power in weed, mud, or silt bottoms. Since it buries itself firmly in the bottom, it keeps your jet ski in place and prevents it from drifting in strong current or wind.
It is also coated with vinyl which helps to protect it for several years.
However, it also comes with its cons. The main disadvantage of a mushroom anchor is its weight and size, making it difficult to store and transport.
Many models come around 8 to 10 lbs (3.62 to 4.53 kg), so you have to worry about it bouncing around in your storage hatch and damaging other components. Also, it is not suited for use in rocky or hard bottoms.
Beaching a jet ski is not recommended, and the risks involved are not worth it. You may damage your pump, impeller, wear ring, hull, fiberglass, and exhaust or cooling system. You also risk losing your ski to a rising tide or having it stuck on dry ground.
If you must beach for any reason, turn off your engine at least 3’ (0.91 m) to the shore and drive in dead straight.
Even better, you can anchor your PWC instead of beaching it. Plus, anchoring is pretty straightforward when you choose the right type of anchor and correct anchor line.