A jet ski hoist or lift can get extremely expensive, especially if you go the fully motorized route. Today, we recommend our favorite affordable hoist that doesn’t cost the world.
A jet ski lift (or a jet ski hoist) is a useful tool used to move a jet ski from one place to another while it’s not in the water. Anytime a PWC needs maintenance, transported, or stored for winter, a lift can be used to make the process much easier.
Typically jet ski lifts can be purchased from a dealership, but anything bought from a dealership is going to come with a hefty price tag. Many people like myself would rather look around online if it means saving some money.
While most would prefer to not empty out their wallet, a good lift can pay for itself in one use. Anyone who’s tried to move a jet ski without one will most likely agree.
Sometimes it can take groups of 2-4 people just to move one watercraft. With the help of a good jet ski lift, the same job can be done with just one person.
PWC lifting slings can be bought both online and at the dealership. Both options can be good, but be aware of possible dealership markups. Businesses have to make money somehow, and sometimes that means doubling the original price tag.
As for online options, avoid cutting corners and getting a cheap jet ski lift. There is a fine line between good quality and an affordable price. Once the prices start getting too low, the quality diminishes.
Considering a single jet ski can weigh over 1,000 pounds, this isn’t an area where most people would want the cheaper option. Jet ski lifts need to be strong, durable, and able to hold up against the weight of any PWC it comes in contact with.
In today’s guide, we recommend an affordable lift and sling combination that doesn’t cost the earth.
Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we may make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
The Best Option
Although there are tons of options, the PWC sling with the best reviews is Erickson’s Personal Watercraft Lift Sling. Since this is just the straps, a separate jet ski hoist will be needed. Usually, an engine crane can work just fine.
Here’s a closer look at the manual jet ski lift and sling combination that we recommend:
Erickson PWC Lift Sling
This jet ski lift is made out of strong polyester straps designed with all types of personal watercraft in mind. It has a simple design featuring a forged steel safety hook, 2″ wide steel rings, and 36″ rubber-coated bars to hold almost any PWC.
Although it weighs just 16.4 pounds, it has an impressive load capacity of 1,000 pounds. This is a substantial load capacity considering the heaviest jet ski is just under 1,100 pounds.
Some reviewers claim to have gone well over the capacity without a problem, but obviously that is never recommended. The risk of potentially dropping a watercraft that weighs several hundred pounds just isn’t worth it.
One of the best things about this jet ski sling is its versatility. It can be used on any PWC with rails that run straight along the side (which is the majority of jet skis).
Sea Doos, Yamahas, and Kawasakis can all fit on this lift so there’s no worrying about whether or not it’s brand-specific. Other than a few select models (like the Honda Aqua track because it has a bi-level side rail) this sling fits almost every hull out there.
There are tons of reviews saying it’s just as good as the Sea Doo sling but it’s a fraction of the price. Ultimately it’s hard to say which one is better, so that’s up to the individual to decide.
The only drawback I’ve heard about this lift is eventually the metal on it can start to rust if used in saltwater and not rinsed thoroughly. The rings are pretty high up so it would be difficult for them to get exposed to saltwater in the first place, but there are some complaints about it so it’s worth noting.
Also, it’s unfortunate that there’s no option to purchase it with a crane as well. Many people already have a hoist of some sort, but that isn’t always the case. It would be nice if there was a sling-hoist combo available for those who don’t already own a crane to attach the lift to.
Other than those two drawbacks, not a lot of negative things can be said about this manual jet ski lift. Given the price and overall quality, it’s a very solid choice.
Overall Pros and Cons
-Great quality for the price
-Easy to use
-Can rust in saltwater
-Doesn’t come with a jet ski hoist
Folding Floor Jet Ski Crane
A sling is no use without a solid jet ski crane. Thankfully, this crane from OTC is able to handle weights of up to 2000-pounds, which is easily enough strength to handle the largest PWC you can throw at it. In fact, should you need more then there’s a 4000-pound capacity option too.
It’s built on casters too, so it can be moved around with ease and folds away to take up very little floor space.
If you find it a bit too expensive then this is a great alternative.
When using a jet ski sling, (or any other lift) be sure to follow the instructions in the manual.
Try getting another person to help you if possible, even if you’ve moved jet skis by yourself in the past.
Be very aware of where your fingers are and keep your feet out from under it at all times. It doesn’t matter if someone is completely new or an experienced veteran, accidents can happen. Always be cautious, careful, and aware when using a jet ski lift.
Jet ski lifts are an essential accessory for anyone with a PWC. No one wants to shell out money if they don’t have to, but in the end, it can prove to be a great investment.
What’s your “go-to” lift? Did you go down the expensive dealership route? Was it worthwhile? We’d love to know all about your experiences! Drop us a comment in the comments section down below and let’s get this discussion started!
My problem is I don’t have a lift or straps so I need a whole set up. Really not looking forward to forking out that much cash but we have 2 ski’s now so I kind of need to. Is there any way I can make a DIY lift?
I know how you feel about not wanting to spend a ton of money on a lift. It kind of sucks how expensive they are. Try thinking of it more as an investment. Once you have a lift, you can use it for things other than a jet ski.
I really don’t recommend trying to make a DIY lift because if it breaks it will most likely damage the jet ski and could possibly injure you. However, you can make a DIY jet ski cart. There are a couple of how-to’s on the web, but we may make our own tutorial in the future.
Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.
I already have a hoist in my shop so all I really need are some straps
That’s good to hear. You’re already half way there!
My old straps are on their last leg so I need to get some new ones before they finally give. Dropping a 700 pound jet ski in the middle of my shop is the last thing I need.
Lifts really are a must have for every shop. It makes moving ski’s 100x easier.
Good read. Thanks for the tips.
You’re definitely right about how important they are. It really makes storing and maintenance easier for me since I’m the one who keeps up with them.
Recently my friends have been telling me to get a lift. I’ve been holding out for a while but I think I might finally give in and just get one. They seem to be worth it.
I couldn’t agree with these other guys more. Jet ski lifts are the way to go if you ever need to move your pwc around.
This answered like every question I had before I had it. Thanks for the mini guide haha.