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A jet ski sounds like a spectacular proposition among fun, recreational boats and personal watercraft (PWC). However, there are some factors potential owners should consider when perusing the latest or most seasoned used jet skis. One of the things fun-seekers should keep in mind is the lifespan of a PWC. So, how long does a jet ski last? 

What is the lifespan of a jet ski?

A set of riders show how long a jet ski can last in rough waters as they watch the waves.
Suliane Favennec, AFP via Getty Images

A jet ski could last anywhere from 200 to 500 hours, depending on the engine type. For instance, a two-stroke engine could run its course in 200 to 300 hours. However, a four-stroke mill could last between 300 and 500 hours. 

While that might not seem like much, it’s enough to account for years of typical use. According to Weller Recreation, manufacturers like Sea-Doo, Yamaha, and Kawasaki design PWCs to last about 10 years at 30 hours per year. Applying that formula, a used, three-year-old jet PWC should have around 90 hours on its clock. Moreover, that same jet ski should last another six or more years. 

Do jet skis take a lot of maintenance?

Jet skis require annual maintenance. Also, as with larger boats, a PWC may incur some wear and tear on the waves. Owners must be prepared to pay for repairs beyond routine preventative upkeep. Still, regular maintenance isn’t cheap; an oil change could cost between $200 and $400. 

Moreover, Jet Drift reports that a full service could cost as much as $600, granted a tech doesn’t find any more expensive issues. Further, like other boats, PWCs will require winterization in addition to regular servicing. Winterization typically includes procedures like cleaning components, stabilizing fuel, and removing or tending to the battery.  

How much does a new jet ski engine cost?

A Sea-Doo Rotax engine from one of the marque's fastest jet skis shows off its dimensions.
Rotax engine | Sea-Doo

A replacement jet ski engine could run anywhere from $600 to $4,000. Of course, the price depends on the manufacturer, whether it’s new or refurbished, and type. For instance, a larger, more powerful, supercharged four-stroke mill will be much pricier than a two-stroke engine.  

Is a jet ski worth it in 2023?

While pricy maintenance and repair costs might be harrowing, a jet ski could be how owners produce lasting smiles. Considering the 200 to 500 hours a PWC could last, a jet ski could be your ticket to fun for over 10 or more years. 

Moreover, major manufacturers offer PWC warranties. For instance, Yamaha and Kawasaki provide one-year warranties on personal-use jet skis.

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