How Long Can a Jet Ski Stay Upside Down in The Water?

Jet skis are a blast to ride during the summer, but they can be dangerous if the currents are strong or you don’t know how to use them correctly. One thing that can happen is it can get flipped upside down, so how long can a jet ski stay upside down in the water before getting damaged? 

A jet ski can stay upside down for about 20 seconds before it becomes at risk of water damage. As soon as your jet ski turns over, you should act fast and try to fix its position right away. If it’s left upside down for too long, the engine could get severely damaged. 

In this article, I will discuss the importance of keeping a jet ski upright in greater detail. Be sure to keep reading to find out more! 

Jet ski and rider flipped upside down

Is It Dangerous for a Jet Ski To Stay Upside Down?

If your jetski overturns for any reason, it can be frustrating – but not as frustrating as having to fix a damaged engine. 

It isn’t necessarily dangerous for a jet ski to stay upside down, but it could cause a lot of water damage to the hull and engine. That is why you shouldn’t leave it upside down for more than a few seconds. To decrease the danger of the situation, you should turn off the jet ski engine if you can. 

You don’t want your jet ski to be upside down for much longer than 20 seconds, but you also want to make sure all passengers are safe. When a jet ski flips upside down, it generally means that the passengers have fallen into the water. Before doing anything else, check yourself and others for any injuries. 

Before getting on the jet ski, everyone should be wearing a life jacket because it’s highly possible for it to flip over and people to fall in the water. Additionally, you should always make use of a safety lanyard

By attaching the safety lanyard to your wrist or lifejacket and the engine shut off, the engine will automatically turn off when you fall in the water. This reduces danger and could lessen the chance of severe engine water damage, so it’s a crucial thing to remember! 

What Happens When a Jet Ski Is Upside Down?

When a jet ski is upside down, the engine and hull have a high chance of taking in water, which can ultimately kill the engine and cause the jet ski to stop working. As long as the jet ski is upside down in the water, it will keep taking in more water, so it’s best to flip it back right away. 

Jet skiers doing flip tricks

Flipping a Jet Ski Back to Its Original Position

After a jet ski flips upside down, you’ll need to get it back to its correct position right away (well, you should do it once you’ve made sure that you and everyone else are safe). 

Below is a guide on how to flip a jet ski back to its original position: 

  1. Make sure the engine is off. If the engine is on, it will continue to suck in water. Turning it off prevents this, so you should try to turn it off if you haven’t made use of a safety lanyard. 
  2. Check instructions. Many jet skis will have instructions on the stern that tell you which way to flip it. If yours doesn’t have any instructions, you can go to the next step. 
  3. Move to either side of the jet ski. If your jet ski doesn’t have instructions, you can go to either side of the vessel. If it has instructions, go to the side that’s recommended. 
  4. Grap onto the bottom and pull it back over. You can usually hold onto the grate at the bottom of the jet ski while keeping your other hand on the edge (sponson). 
  5. Get back on! Now that your jet ski is upright again, you can turn the engine on and ride away. 

Should You Leave a Jet Ski Upside Down Indefinitely?

You shouldn’t leave a jet ski upside down indefinitely because it will likely become irreversibly damaged from water. In fact, you shouldn’t even leave a jet ski in the water in its correct upright position overnight because it could also get damaged this way. 

PWC on water

Leaving a jet ski upside down in the water for too long will damage the engine and cause corrosion. This is particularly true if your jet ski is in saltwater. In this case, it will be highly susceptible to such damage because saltwater corrodes metal quickly. 

It will also be susceptible to barnacles if upright but kept in the water too long, which is another thing you want to avoid! Take your jet ski out of the water after each use to keep it in good condition, and never leave it upside down in the water for more than a few seconds.

Reboarding a Flipped Jet Ski

If your jet ski flipped upside down while riding it, and then you manage to get it back to its correct position, the next step is to get back on. 

The worst thing you can do at this point is to enter the jet ski from either side. Doing so will put a lot of weight onto the side you’re boarding from, and the jet ski may flip upside down again. It’s always best to reboard a jetski via the back, so make sure to do it that way. 

Once you’re back on the jet ski, you should turn on the engine to ensure it’s working. An indication that it was flipped over for too long is if the engine won’t start. In that case, there is likely engine damage, and you’ll need to have it repaired or replaced entirely. 

After reboarding and starting the engine, make sure the safety lanyard is attached. As I mentioned earlier, this device is essential. If you don’t use one, you should certainly start. 

Top down view of a jet ski

How Long Can a Jet Ski Stay Upside Down in The Water – Conclusion

Jet skis should only stay upside down in the water for a few seconds, so you should act fast to turn them back over. Before riding, it’s essential to use a safety lanyard so that the engine shuts off automatically when you fall. 

Shutting the engine off will make it less prone to severe damage, so you should never ignore this step. 

Always read the instructions on your jet ski before flipping it back over because the side you flip it from will vary depending on the boat model. When reboarding a jet ski, always board from the back and never the sides.

Learn how to roll your PWC upright again and how to safely deal with a rider that has gone overboard.

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