There is nothing more frustrating and disappointing than gearing up for a fun day of playing on the water, only to be confronted with an inoperable personal watercraft (PWC). Perhaps even worse, to get stuck out on the open water. But with some attention to simple maintenance, you will have many fewer problems and a lot more fun.
Before Every Ride
Prior to every ride, you need to give your PWC’s engine a once over. Check the engine’s oil level and, if needed, slowly add additional oil. However, be careful not to overfill. Also, check hoses, clamps and electrical connections to make sure none of these connections are loose.
While the same considerations are necessary for riding in both saltwater and freshwater, more rigorous post-ride care is needed after saltwater usage given saltwater’s highly corrosive effects.
Personal watercraft, with very few exceptions, use the water they run in for cooling. Therefore, the water the craft is operated in circulates throughout the PWC’s cooling system, in addition to the engine’s exposure to water due to simply operating in the water. Therefore, flushing the engine in needed after every single saltwater ride due to the corrosive effects of salt. We recommend using flushing product such as Salt & Corrosion Terminator. Additionally, engine flushing should be performed regularly for freshwater riders to avoid algae, sediment and other build up.
Saltwater Engine Flushing Recommended Product:
Gentry spray down your engine with a garden hose after every saltwater ride to remove the corrosive saltwater. Additionally, freshwater riders should regularly rinse their engines to prevent grime, sediment and other build up from accumulating.
Rinse the PWC’s Body & Trailer
Just as the engine needs to be rinsed, so does the PWC’s body. This rinsing needs to occur after every saltwater ride to battle the corrosive effects of saltwater and regularly for freshwater riders. Also, don’t forget to rinse your trailer. After rinsing the body and the engine, pop up the seat and let the engine, body, and trailer dry thoroughly.
After your PWC’s body and engine have thoroughly dried, spray engine and other appropriate parts with an anti-corrosion spray. Also, don’t forget your trailer.
Recommended anti-corrosion products:
Maintain Your Battery
For the most part, battery maintence is simply fully charging your battery between rides. Fully charging your battery not only ensures operation of your PWC, but also helps your battery retain its ability to hold a charge. Battery neglect can lead to the formation of sulfate crystals on the battery’s plates which will over time decrease your battery’s ability to perform.
Finally, clean your battery terminals regularly to avoid build up of corrosion, dirt or moisture on the terminals. Don’t allow corrosion, dirt or moisture to build up on the terminals. We recommend Yamaha Battery Cleaner & Protector (update) for added protection year round.
Dead battery emergency? The NOCO GB20 Genius Boost Jump Starter is a safe and easy way to jump-start a dead battery in seconds - even in freezing temperatures.
Seasonal or Occasional Tasks
How often you need to change your PWC’s oil truly depends on how often and how hard you ride. For most casual riders, an oil and filter change at the beginning of a season is ample. Frequent, aggressive riders have been known to regularly change their oil and filter after just 8-12 hours of use.
Wash, Wax & Protect
Wash your PWC at the start of the season, then apply a good coat of wax. A quality wax will protect your PWC from the damaging affects of UV rays, Additionally, we recommend using a good vinyl protectant to protect your seats.
Add grease to all seals and bearing fittings, and lubricate the parts.
When the season is over and it’s time to store your PWC, drain any water from the engine, flush the engine, clean the craft thoroughly, lubricate metal hinges, handles, bearings and fittings, fill with fuel and add fuel stabilizer, put on the cover and start dreaming of next season.