Jet skis are some of the fastest forms of aquatic transportation. They have a powerful motor that propels them through water, but how do they stop? It’s not as simple as applying brakes on land, so what is it that stops these speedy vessels?
Do jet skis have breaks?
Yes, most jet skis do have breaks. Just about all jet ski models manufactured by Yamaha and Sea Doo feature a hand brake that allows the rider to stop quickly.
There are two main ways you can stop a jet ski:
You can stop a jet ski by pulling down on the hand brake lever. You can also slow down or stop a jets ski by simply shifting down into idle.
If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, keep reading!
How do brakes work on a jet ski?
The hand brake lever is a safety feature that all jet skis have. It is very similar to the hand brake on a car, but it’s much easier to use and more effective because of how high-powered engines work in jet skis.
When you pull up quickly on this lever, it cuts power from the engine while transferring mechanical energy into heat energy via friction. This causes the jet ski to decelerate very quickly, which is what you want when you’re coming back in for docking or if you need to quickly stop to avoid another watercraft.
Typically, if a rider wants to stop more gradually or turn around they will shift down into idle mode. You can do this by shifting the throttle lever backward until it reaches zero (in some models this happens automatically). This doesn’t completely cut power from the engine like using the hand brake, but it does slow down combustion and cause deceleration.
Both of these methods are effective at stopping a jet ski, but it takes slightly longer to stop by shifting down into idle mode. This is why the hand brake lever tends to be more convenient for most riders because they can quickly slow themselves down without having to shift gears or balance out their watercraft while still docking precisely where they want.
How quickly can a Jet Ski stop?
A jet ski can stop at a distance of about 60 feet when it’s going 35 miles per hour if you use the brake lever. If you are going above 60 miles per hour, it will take your jet ski about 200 feet to stop.
For this reason, it is important only go above 60mph when you are in calm, open water with no other water crafts nearby. If you are interested in getting a fast jet ski, I suggest you check out my article on the fastest jet skis and wave runners.
Note that if you are stopping by switching to idle, the stop distance will take roughly twice as long.
If you are a beginner, you should always test the brake lever on a jet ski. In open water with no one around, begin to pick up speed (between 10-20 miles per hour). Pulling up on the brake lever will slow you down, but if the lever is weak or broken then your jet ski may not stop when needed. If you are buying a used jet ski, it is essential that you test out the brake lever before you buy it.
It’s also important to always use caution and avoid water activities during high winds because this can make controlling and stopping a Jet Ski difficult.
The most agile jet ski models are designed for racing and can stop in only 40 feet when going 60 miles per hour.