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Can You Start A Jet Ski Out Of Water?

Whether you have a Sea-Doo, an off-brand used jet ski, or a Kawasaki jet ski, owning a personal watercraft for those fun water adventures is fun, but you have to know what goes into keeping it in good condition.

So, you might be wondering, can jet ski engines be started out of water?

The short answer to this question is yes, but it is important to know that so much more comes with how it is not a good idea to do so.

If you must run your jet ski out of water, follow our guide to ensure you don’t cause it any damage in the process.

Why It Is Not A Good Idea To Run A Jet Ski Out Of Water

jet ski on trailer on beach

Jet skis use an open-loop cooling system to cool the engine and exhaust system.

This is done by taking in water from the body of water your jet ski is on.

This could be either lake water or the sea.

Running your jet ski out of the water will lead to overheating the engine and exhaust system, ultimately leading to severe damage.

Other jet skis use a closed-loop cooling system which is not to be started out of water.

This is because, in these watercraft, only the engine has a closed-loop cooling system while the exhaust does not and can lead to overheating.

How To Start A Jet Ski Out Of Water

Starting a jet ski out of water can cause damage, so here are steps to follow if you absolutely need to do so.

jet ski at beach
  1. Connect your jet ski to a water supply and make sure that it will not come off once the water pressure builds.
  2. Ensure that when this connection is done, you have an on/off valve at the end of the hose.
  3. Start the engine of the jet ski for no more than 20 seconds. It is never a good idea to start a jet ski engine before the water has been turned on – this can lead to hydro locking. If this does happen, turn the water off immediately, unplug the spark plugs and let the water out of the motor.
  4. Turn the water on. It is important not to turn the water on too much. If you are not close enough to the water source, get someone else to do so, as the water should be flowing as soon as possible once the engine has started.
  5. Let the water run out until you see that it is clean.
  6. Turn your hose off.
  7. Let the remaining water out of the header. You can blip or throttle to do so. It should be a lower RPM blim since higher RPMs can cause damage to the ski.
  8. You may now turn the jet ski off.

Specifications for being connected to a water hose

To flush water out of the motor or to freeze it, you can simply use a cut-off piece of a garden hose as a connection.

However, more recent watercraft have been designed to have a built-in connection.

Other brands like Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Sea-Doo require a flush kit.

These connections can be found internally, others in the engine bay, while others can be found towards the rear of the ski.

To connect the hose or flush kit, you should consult your owner’s manual for directions on how to do so.


jet ski on the beach

Can you start your jet ski out of water if it has a closed-loop cooling system?

This way of starting a jet ski is usually done on brands like the Sea-Doo.

It is normally newer models that have a closed-loop cooling system.

If a jet ski has this cooling system, it means that they do not have to be connected to water for a short amount of time, so you can start your jet ski’s engine out of the water.

This system will keep your engine cool but will not do so for your exhaust, pump, or any of the other components that need to be cooled by lake water while riding.

Why does my jet ski make a loud noise when I start it out of water?

If you are concerned about why your jet ski is making a loud noise when starting it out of the water, there is no reason to be.

The exhaust muffler makes this very loud noise. You may be wondering why it is this loud now and not when you are riding it in the water?

Well, it’s because the muffler needs a sufficient water supply to muffle the sound fully.

Sea-Doos are typically the jet skis that are loud.

You may hear rustling or other sounds from your ski, which is normal, too; these are just the sounds you would not typically hear when riding on water.

How long can a jet ski run out of water?

It is possible to start your jet ski without supplying water, but it is not a good idea to do so.

Technically, you should only run your Sea-Doo for about 10-20 seconds if it is not connected to a water hose.

If your jet ski has an older type of carbon draft, the time you run it out of the water should especially be kept short.

If it is not on the water but connected to a water source, like a water hose, it should only be left running for up to 2 minutes to avoid overheating.

So, starting it out of the water is not impossible, but it is not recommended. Doing so can be detrimental to its parts and should therefore be avoided as much as possible.

jet skis in ocean

Final Thoughts

It’s not recommended to run your jet ski out of water; however, it can be done. Follow the necessary steps and remember to keep this process short.

It should not exceed more than 10 – 20 seconds.

You may hear loud sounds coming from your jet ski, especially from Sea-Doos.

This is not something to worry about.

Starting your watercraft outside of water should be done with care and only if necessary.