How to Winterize a Jet Ski In 7 Simple Steps 

Avatar photo

One of the skills you’ll need to be a personal watercraft owner is how to winterize a jet ski. While this might seem like an intimidating task, winterizing a jet ski is actually fairly simple, and even novice PWC owners can do it. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through a few straightforward steps to help you protect your jet ski from freezing temperatures and avoid costly damages. 

What is Winterization?

Winterization is a crucial process for safeguarding your jet ski against the severe impacts of cold temperatures and inclement weather

If your jet ski is left unprotected, any leftover moisture could freeze and expand, causing extensive damage to internal systems. 

Winterizing your jet ski is simpler than winterizing a boat. PWCs are smaller and require less time to prep, which is why we recommend that all water sport enthusiasts learn how to winterize a jet ski.  Proper winter storage is key to ensuring your jet ski’s longevity and performance. 

How Neighbor is changing storage

Transparent monthly savings

Renters save 30-50% on vehicle storage, on average. No rate hikes.

Keep your toys nearby

Hosts in your neighborhood means that your items are always close by.

Storage made simple

Don't settle for stone age tech and long contracts. Neighbor makes it easy.

Step 1: Drain Excess Water

After you’ve gathered up your supplies, the next task is to drain surplus water from your personal watercraft. Leftover water in your jet ski’s cooling system could freeze, expand, and wreak havoc on your engine, exhaust system, and intercooler.

To circumvent this, it’s necessary to drain out all surplus water completely. Here’s how:

  1. Start by tilting your PWC so the front is elevated
  2. Remove any drain plugs from the hull so trapped water can escape
  3. Use a shop Vac or towels to collect any water in hard-to-reach spaces

To make this process smoother, you can always install a bilge pump in your jet ski, which will remove any excess water after each ride. 

Step 2: Antifreeze

At this point, if you know you’ll be storing your jet ski outside or in a unit that isn’t climate-controlled, you need to add marine or RV antifreeze to the jet ski. 

To do this, you first have to make sure the PWC is dry. Then, you can mix up a 1:1 solution of antifreeze and water (usually about 1 gallon of each, depending on the size of your jet ski). 

But where exactly do you put antifreeze in a jet ski?

You’ll pour–or pump–this mixture into the flush input on the cooling system. The antifreeze will help keep the jet ski at a baseline during cold temperatures and prevent residual moisture from freezing. 

As you de-winterize your jet ski in the spring, you’ll need to flush the antifreeze from the system using fresh water to ensure it runs properly. 

Step 3: Clean and Protect the Exterior

After you’ve cleaned up any excess water and the interior of the jet ski is dry, now it’s time to address the exterior. Maintaining the exterior of your jet ski is equally as crucial as the internal upkeep because it not only prevents corrosion but also keeps your jet ski looking as good as new.

Start with the hull. You’ll want to use a mild soap to wash off any dirt, algae, or salt deposits. We recommend a marine-grade soap like WavesRX EpicWash.  

Not only will this keep your jet ski looking slick, but it also helps maintain the integrity of the hull during storage. Salt and other grime can slowly eat away at your PWC when in extended storage. 

After your hull is immaculate, it’s time to apply and remove wax. Applying high-quality wax to your jet ski’s exterior forms a protective layer against moisture and UV damage. WavesRX also has a wax/ceramic spray combo that’s great for PWCs called AquaShield

Product available through Amazon

Step 4: Fuel System Maintenance

Your fuel system and fuel injection system also require some care before winter storage. Achieving fuel stability will help avoid fuel contamination and deposit accumulation in the gas tank. 

To service your fuel system, drain out any remaining fuel from the gas tank. Then, add a fuel stabilizer to your tank. Many watercraft enthusiasts swear by Sta-Bil 360° Marine Fuel Stabilizer.

Fill up your tank with premium gas so you get a good mix with the stabilizer. This mixture will help prevent condensation and fuel breakdown. Then simply run your engine to let the stabilized fuel circulate through the entire fuel system. It offers additional protection during the chilly winter months and prevents engine stalls. 

Ensuring your spark plug cylinders are in good condition also plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal engine performance.

Product available through Amazon

Step 5: Lubricate and Protect Internal Components

In the same way that moisturizing keeps your skin supple and elastic, lubricating your jet ski’s internal components ensures their smooth functioning. Applying lubricants to seals, cables, and moving parts throughout the engine bay helps prevent corrosion and ensures smooth operation when it’s time to hit the water again.

Be sure to use the lubricants recommended by your jet ski manufacturer. This will keep all the parts in tip-top shape and prevent any unexpected surprises when you start your jet ski after the winter. XPS Anti-corrosive Lubricant is a good product for this task. 

The next step is to spray fogging oil and check the air filter. Spraying fogging oil helps protect the carburetor, spark plugs, and other essential engine components from moisture, ensuring they stay corrosion-free throughout the winter. Sea-Doo has its own brand of fogging oil, but Sta-Bil also has fogging oil that works just as well. 

Product available through Amazon

Step 6: Battery Removal and Storage

A well-kept jet ski battery is key to a hassle-free jet ski experience. To ensure your battery doesn’t lose its charge during winter, you’ll need to remove it from the jet ski and store it properly. (For tips on disconnecting a Sea-Doo battery, check out this video). 

Simply disconnect the cable from the negative terminal (black) first, then disconnect the positive terminal (red). Once the cables are disconnected, carefully lift the battery out of the compartment. 

A cool, dry location, preferably on a wooden surface, is the best place to store your jet ski’s battery. To keep your battery charged up over winter, consider using a trickle charger which maintains the battery’s charge during storage.

Step 7: Choose the Right Storage Location

The final step to winterize a jet ski is to find the proper storage location. Storing your PWC inside during the winter is the best option because it protects your jet ski from the elements. Sheds, garages, barns, or storage units are all prime real estate for watercraft storage

You might also be tempted to wrap your jet ski in a tarp and store it outside. While in warmer climates this may be an option, it’s simply not safe for the jet ski in colder areas. Drastic changes in temperature can damage the internal components, and exposure to snow, rain, or UV rays can damage the hull. 

In short, a temperature-controlled, indoor storage area is the best place to over-winter your jet skis. 

Winterize Your Jet Ski in Style

To protect your jet ski over the winter, you should properly prepare the engine, interior components, and cooling system from moisture and condensation. 

One of the best ways to protect your watercraft is with a temperature-controlled storage solution. Prolonged exposure to sunlight, significant temperature changes, and the elements can decrease the life expectancy of your jet ski and increase your yearly maintenance costs. 

If you lack space in your own garage to store your personal watercraft, consider renting a 10’x10’ storage unit, a climate-controlled storage unit, or a suitable garage to keep your jet ski protected. 

Neighbor is a peer-to-peer storage marketplace that lets you find safe, budget-friendly storage options in your area. Whether you’re trying to store one jet ski, or three, there’s a storage option for you. 

Related Posts