3 Best Jet Skis for Beginners

Anyone who lives or vacations near recreational bodies of water will eventually need to decide whether or not to buy a Jet Ski. These watercrafts have come a long way in terms of fun, capability, and safety over the years. If you’re new to Jet Ski life, you may need a comparison review to help you decide which watercraft model makes the most sense. Jets Skis, WaveRunners, and Sea-Doos can all be incredibly fun additions to your summer. Here are three personal watercraft options that beginners should look for when buying and riding for the first time.

Jet ski on a water at sunset.
Jet ski | Getty Images

Differences between a Jet Ski, a WaveRunner, and a Sea-Doo

When you’re first exploring the watercraft market, you’ll see many different “names” for the various rides out there. As Jet Drift points out, choosing between the 51 or so other models available can be pretty daunting. Don’t get overwhelmed in knowing what to call your next water toy.

Typically, the titles of the watercraft themselves are rooted in the manufacturer behind their production. For example, the Jet Ski is a product of Kawasaki. Yamaha makes the WaveRunner, and Sea-Doo makes the Sea-Doo. Any of these models can be ideal for beginners and advanced-level operators. 

How to tell which is best for beginners?

The personal watercraft options that make the most sense for beginners are Jet Skis, WaveRunners, or Sea-Doos that are clearly labeled as “recreation” vehicles or intended for “recreational” use. This distinction means the watercraft offers a more stable ride and tends to be easier to operate. These recreationally marked options will also tend to be heavier. They also come equipped with robust braking systems and braking assistance technology, perfect for first-time riders.

Many industry experts warn beginners not to be persuaded by immense power or fast watercraft. When you’re first starting, you’ll need a model that provides increased balance, is easy to navigate, has beginner-friendly operational controls, and comes loaded with great safety mechanisms. Once you get your “sea legs” with a recreational personal watercraft, you can upgrade to other, more advanced, or performance-driven rides. 

Recreational personal watercraft to consider

If you’re ready to buy your first personal watercraft, definitely take a look at the Sea-Doo GTI. Steven In Sales says it’s one of the three best options for first-timers. You can buy one of these, according to Sea-Doo, for an MSRP of $9,299. It boasts incredible stability, with a low center of gravity and a design that’s ideal for families.

Another beginner-friendly water toy is the Yamaha VX. For a comparable $10,449, Yamaha says you can take home the newest VX for ultimate personal watercraft beginner fun. This WaveRunner has a new boarding step, making it easier to get back on your watercraft from the water. It offers excellent storage compartments, too.

The Kawasaki STX-15F is also a solid personal watercraft consideration for beginner enthusiasts. Starting at $13,799, this Jet Ski offers what Kawasaki calls the “class-leading” 1,498 cc engine. It delivers excellent fuel efficiency, low emissions, and robust acceleration. In addition, beginners will appreciate the agile composite hull, offering a feel of better control.

Enjoying life on the water with your personal watercraft can be incredibly rewarding. Just make sure you introduce yourself to the fun with the suitable model for recreation and beginner-level riders. Look for recreationally labeled models and compare weight ratios for stability. Check into hull dimensions as well as acceleration and braking stats. And consider adding these three personal watercraft options to your shortlist. 

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