Can You Start a Jet Ski Out of Water? – Is It Safe

Jet skis are a fun and practical way of tracking across the water. However, you will likely need to remove your jet ski from the water from time to time for maintenance or other reasons. So what happens if you start a jet ski when it’s out of water?


You can start a jet ski when it’s out of the water if it’s secured to a trailer. However, running a jet ski engine out of water for more than a few seconds is unwise as jet ski engines are designed to be cooled by water. As a result, running the engine out of water may cause damage to the engine.


Keep reading to learn more in detail about the risks involved in running a jet ski engine while out of the water. We will also minimize this damage and which jet skis you can’t start while out of the water. By the end of this article, you should have better insight into maintaining your jet ski.

What Are the Potential Risks of Starting a Jet Ski Out of Water?

Starting a boat when it’s out of the water is usually a sure-fire way of damaging the engine. However, jet ski engines and mechanisms differ from ships, as they can be started out of water. Although, if the jet ski engine runs for more than 10-15 seconds, it can have disastrous consequences.


Here are three vital aspects of your jet ski that may be damaged by running the engine while the vehicle is out of water:


  1. Engine
  2. Cooling Systems
  3. Seal of the Drive Shaft


The engine in your jet ski will overheat within seconds of running while out of the water. This is because jet ski engines pump water through the motors to keep them cool. When the engine overheats, it can lead to damage that will require professional assistance to repair.


Damaged cooling systems are another side effect of running your jet ski engine while out of water. The cooling systems in jet skis are designed to run in water as they require it to function. When there is no water present, the cooling system can quickly be severely damaged.


The most common and often most detrimental consequence of running a jet ski engine while out of the water is damage occurring to the deal of the drive shaft. When this happens, your jet ski can start to leak, and in some instances, it may even sink when reentered into the water.


While the risks mentioned above can happen, they only occur when a jet ski engine runs for more than a few seconds while out of the water. Although, some makes and models of jet skis cannot run at all out of water. In contrast, some models of jet skis can run for longer when out of the water, so check your owner manual before starting your engine out of water.

How Can You Increase Your Jet Ski Engine Run Time Out of Water Without Causing Damage?

If you wish to check out something in your jet ski engine without placing it back in the water, you may want to figure out a way of running the engine for more than a few seconds. There is something that you can do to increase your jet ski engine run time out of the water without harming the vehicle.


Jet ski engines running out of water are damaged by no water entering the cooling system to cool the engine. To prevent the engine from overheating, insert a garden hose into the cooling system intake and run it on full power. This will provide you with some extra run to get out of water.


When the garden hose is rushing water into the jet ski to keep it cool, you will be able to run the engine for much longer. Although, you still should not run the machine like this for more than one or two minutes as damages may occur after this point that could result in the need for expensive repairs.


Some manufacturers require jet ski owners to run water through the engine before starting it while out of the water. Even if you’re running it for a few seconds. Similarly, manufacturers suggest running the engine for no more than 2-3 minutes, depending on the jet ski brand.

What Causes a Jet Ski To Explode?

You may have heard from someone or read somewhere about a jet ski exploding. This is unsettling news that naturally leaves jet ski owners wondering if it will happen to them. So what causes a jet ski to explode in the first place, and how can you prevent this from happening.


Jet ski explosions are typically caused by the watercraft sitting idle for an extended period. When jet skis sit idle, they can build up flammable gasses without an effective way of venting them. Then all that’s needed is a spark, and the jet ski will explode into a ball of flames.


To prevent your jet ski from exploding, you must ventilate the engine to remove the gasoline fumes. To do this, remove the engine cover for a few minutes every once in a while, especially when the jet ski is sitting idle. This will prevent a build-up of explosive gasses and ensure your safety by preventing an explosion in your jet ski.

Final Thoughts

You can start any jet ski engine out of the water without risking anyone’s safety. However, if you run the machine for more than ten seconds, you risk causing catastrophic damage to vital components of the watercraft. This can lead to your jet ski needing repairs or even sinking when placed in water.


To run your jet ski engine for more than a few seconds while out of the water, you’ll need to run a garden hose through the cooling system intake. This will prevent much of the damages and provide you with up to 3 minutes of run time.

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