There are few things better than cruising crystal clear waters on a hot sunny day.
It’s great on a jet ski, and even better on a jet ski that gives you more space to chill out and relax.
Jet ski boats are unique accessories that put a twist on the standard jet ski.
These converters actually transform a normal jet ski into a versatile boat, giving you more room to layout, picnic, or just spend casual time out on the water.
A jet ski boat opens a world of watersport possibilities that aren’t easy on a personal watercraft (PWC) alone.
From fishing to drifting, there’s a lot to look forward to when opting for this aquatic addition.
These fantastic accessories can be a perfect fit for personal leisure or for a rental business looking to spice up its line of products.
What Is a Jet Ski Boat?
A jet ski boat is a floating boat hull powered by a standard jet ski.
The jet ski attaches to the boat frame and provides the engine and steering capabilities for the entire craft.
With this small transformation, your PWC suddenly has ample deck space and becomes infinitely more versatile.
You can relax with your family or friends without buying an expensive second watercraft.
The most spacious PWC boat attachments being manufactured by French company Sealver can hold up to 10 passengers, with comfortable seating for all.
Many jet ski boat attachments also have built-in awnings, providing cover you otherwise wouldn’t find on a PWC.
Jet Ski Raft
Sealver does make a jet ski boat attachment made out of fiberglass, but the majority of their PWC attachments are inflatable, making them more like whitewater rafts.
The design on higher-end models, however, has molded seating that is more boat-like, and designed for comfort when riding.
How Much Is a Jet Ski Boat?
Jet ski boats don’t come cheap.
The smallest, least expensive jet ski conversion kits cost just under $4,000, while the smallest, least expensive Sealver boat attachment is over $10,000 USD.
You can buy some new models of boat for that!
But it’s important to keep in mind what you’re getting with a jet ski boat compared to a regular boat.
Most jet ski boat hulls are designed to hold up in any condition a PWC might endure.
This includes riding in the ocean. Many oceangoing speedboats costs tens of thousands of dollars.
So, while jet ski boats are expensive, they are less expensive than many vessels designed for use in the ocean.
If you already own the jet ski, a PWC powered boat can add space to your vessel at a lower price point, and will also be cheaper to store and, in many cases, easier to transport.
Jet Ski Boat Conversion
Jet ski boat kits install differently depending on the brand.
The cheapest conversion kits literally just tie onto the jet ski.
You might see how this can prove problematic in strong currents, and is not advised for watercraft intended for ocean use.
The most solid jet ski boats are those that have full fitting kits, like Sealver and Seaquester.
A full fitting kit requires removing some factory components of your PWC and replacing it with moldings specially designed to fit into the grooves on the boat hull.
Conversion kits are specifically designed by model of jet ski for a secure, sturdy fit.
Not only does a solid molding kit keep the jet ski secure within the boat’s hull, even in rough conditions, it allows for easy detachment and reattachment.
You can “park” your boat out on the water, back the jet ski out of the housing and go riding, and come back to reattach the boat and drive back to shore.
Will a Jet Ski Boat Slow Me Down?
The more powerful your PWC, the better it will perform with a jet ski boat attached to its front.
That said, even the most powerful machine will experience some lag in speed and change in steering while pushing a jet ski.
It comes down to weight and capacity.
PWC are designed to carry three people or less, and they all have weight limits.
Unsurprisingly, adding more weight to the jet ski’s load is going to require more effort out of the engine.
Not only will a boat attachment lower your jet ski’s top speed, it should lower it.
Pushing your jet ski engine to its limits is a sure way to have a jet ski engine die before it’s time.
And, since a boat attachment alters a PWC’s steering, it’s best to take things slow and easy.
A jet ski boat attachment is meant for leisure, not racing.
Are Jet Ski Boats Safe?
The best jet ski boats are engineered with safety in mind.
Generally speaking, they are no more dangerous than a speedboat or any other small watercraft.
These boats are the ones with solid conversion systems.
However, there are less stable jet ski boat kits with less comprehensive conversion systems.
Jet ski boat conversions that simply tie to the jet ski are not going to hold up in ocean currents.
They can be fine in a calm river or lake, but are still not as stable as a comprehensive conversion system.
Yamaha Jet Ski Boat, Sea-Doo Jet Ski Boat, Kawasaki Jet Ski Boat
Jet ski boat converters are compatible with models from the big three brands of PWC – Kawasaki, Sea-Doo and Yamaha.
Conversion kits for the jet ski boats differ by brand and model, and may require some minor modifications of the PWC itself.
These modifications only affect superficial components of the jet ski, and are easy to perform.
Once completed, modifications ensure the jet ski fits snugly and securely to the boat attachment.
Since all modifications are superficial, they should not affect the warranty on your jet ski.
But, if you’re concerned about it, make sure you check with your PWC’s manufacturer.
Why a Jet Ski Boat?
Now that you know what jet ski boats are and what to expect, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of what makes them such an innovative boating option.
Here are some of the benefits of a jet ski converter.
- The more, the merrier! A jet ski boat increases the number of people your jet ski can carry, which is great for families of more than three or hitting the water with friends! You can also remove the best attachments for solo cruising.
- Transport and accommodation. Jet ski boat converters are smaller and lighter weight than traditional boats, making transport easier.
- Space and storage. A bigger craft has more room for supplies, turning your PWC into a potential vessel for longer trips, like a camping journey down the Colorado River.
- Anchoring ability. Jet ski boats can carry more weight than a PWC, introducing the option of carrying a heavier anchor. This allows more versatility in where and how long you can float in one place.
- Increased watersport options. More room for supplies means more space for tubes, skis, fins, goggles, and other swim and towing equipment.
Cons of a Jet Ski Powered Boat
While jet ski boats offer a lot of potential benefits to your water routine, there are also some potential downsides involved.
Here are some of the disadvantages of a PWC powered boat.
- Comfort. Higher-end jet ski boats are designed for comfort, but the least expensive boat conversion options are very basic. They typically just have a flat deck with no molded seating or padding.
- Not a perfect boat. While traditional boats come in so many types and models, you may find exactly what you’re looking for, it’s unlikely a jet ski boat will meet all of your needs perfectly. If you want to use the boat for one specific function (fishing, towing), you may be better off with a traditional boat.
- Still expensive. While cheaper than traditional boats when compared model to model, jet ski powered boat conversions are still pricey.
What to Consider Before You Buy
Before you purchase a jet ski powered boat, here are some things to think about:
- Size and model of your PWC. Smaller PWC, like the Sea-Doo Spark, will work with some conversion kits. But they’re more likely to struggle.
- Age of your PWC. Jet ski boats are a fairly new invention. Conversion kits may not be available for older models of PWC. Some jet ski boat conversion kits are universal, but these kits are not nearly as sturdy.
- Availability. Jet ski conversion kits are a specialty product, and a large product at that. The companies that make the fullest product lines are not yet in the U.S. You can order the kits online, but it will likely take some traveling if you want to see a kit in person first.
- Utility. Do you just want a boat for cruising and leisure, or do you have a specific purpose in mind? Since jet ski boat conversion kits are designed for recreational use, if you have a special need for a boat (fishing, towing), you might be better off with a separate craft.
Chilling on a Jet Ski Boat
Jet ski boats are a fresh, technologically exciting way to get the most out of your personal watercraft.
They can be a less expensive means of getting your entire family or friend group out on the water together.
When shopping for a jet ski boat, just keep in mind not all models of jet ski boat will fit all models of PWC, and not all PWC have enough power to push all jet ski boats.
It’s a balancing act.
But if you like the idea of transporting 8 people with a craft built for three, it’s one well worth considering.