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Summer is here, and for many, that means it’s time to head for the water and enjoy time swimming, boating, and skiing. If you enjoy jet skis, either as a rider or passenger, the good news is that it’s usually pretty easy to find rentals near popular bodies of water. Most rental services that offer jet skis will offer you a quality rental craft at a reasonable price. However, some rental services aren’t as ethical. It’s important to know the latest scams so you can avoid getting ripped off this summer.

Common jet ski rental scams

A row of rental jet skis on a marina
A row of rental jet skis | Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

According to Jet Drift, one of the biggest ways rental services take advantage of you when renting jet skis is hidden fees or restrictions. Often, such services will draw you in with tempting discount offers or hard-to-beat hourly rates that you can reserve way in advance. However, once you get there, you’re hit with fees that weren’t disclosed, like charges for cleaning, vehicle parking, gas, taxes, late arrival, maintenance, and more. Furthermore, you might find out that age, activity, and other restrictions on using the craft weren’t previously disclosed.

Additionally, be on the lookout for vague details and poor communication. You might rent a jet ski from a given location only to find out rentals from the service aren’t physically available there. You might also get frustrating excuses like the staff lost or forgot your rental, there was an emergency, and the staff couldn’t make it, or the jet ski is damaged and unavailable. 

Lastly, unscrupulous services can also provide old and worn jet skis despite the promise of a high-end working model. They can attempt to charge you for damage to the jet ski that you didn’t personally cause through this practice.

What you can do to avoid jet ski rental scams

First, completely read the rental agreement and any frequently asked questions offered by the rental service. These should be offered on their website or in print at their physical location. If you can’t find them, make sure to request them. Additionally, ask the rental service any questions you have before signing an agreement or putting any money down.

You’ll also want to confirm the physical location of the rental service to ensure the jet ski will be where you plan to use it. You can verify the street address using Google Streetview or numerous other online tools. Furthermore, make sure you know where you’ll be picking up the jet ski and at what times before the day you plan to use it, as well as when and where it needs to be returned to avoid any late fees.

If you want to determine if there will be communication problems with the service, call them to ask questions before signing an agreement. How quickly and how well they answer your inquiries will preview how they will conduct business with you. If they are prompt and informative to a prospective customer, the chances are better that you’ll have a pleasant rental experience with them. 

While you’re communicating with them, be sure to ask about the age of the crafts in their fleet and ask how often they replace and service jet skis. Once you arrive, ask for a copy of the rental agreement, so you’ll have it on hand if something goes wrong. Additionally, be sure to inspect the jet ski before you use it for any damage and go over it with the rental agent so it’s known that you weren’t responsible for it.

How to know you’re getting a good deal on a jet ski rental

To summarize, doing your homework in advance of renting a jet ski can save you time, money, and frustration. It will also keep shady business practices from ruining your fun. For the best experience, please communicate with the business before doing business with them, completely understand their rental agreement, and be sure to ask any questions you have.

Lastly, take a look at the rental service’s customer reviews online. The experiences of your fellow consumers are one of the best ways to gauge whether a rental service is a good fit for your rental needs or if it should be totally avoided. 


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