Looking for a dependable jet ski helmet? We recommend some of the best options on the market right now.
Wearing a helmet while jet skiing is not actually a legal requirement. However, it pays to be sensible and a jet ski helmet could well make the difference should you be involved in a high-speed accident.
Unfortunately for PWC enthusiasts, there are very few companies that make helmets specifically for jet skiing.
Thankfully, there are some amazing helmets designed for mountain biking and BMX that crossover really well. They’re lightweight, breathable, and really solid.
In this guide, we uncover what’s available and decide if they’re worth wearing while out on the water.
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.
When are Jet Ski Helmets Necessary?
The most safety-conscious out there would argue it’s always necessary but wearing a helmet for jet skiing is not actually a legal requirement in any US state.
That means it’s a completely personal choice. But, the fact that modern jet skis can now reach speeds of over 60mph means that it’s becoming a more sensible thing to do.
When traveling at high speeds like this, even the impact with the water can cause serious damage to your head.
However, there are definitely certain jet ski activities where wearing a helmet should be (and sometimes is) considered essential.
Let’s take a look at some of these situations where wearing a jet ski helmet is a very sensible thing to do.
- Riding in groups – if you ride alongside other jet skiers then a helmet may be a great idea. The likelihood of a collision is much higher. A high-speed collision between two PWC could cause serious head injuries.
- Competitions – in this instance it’s actually a legal requirement. Any sanctioned PWC race requires the participants to wear helmets. The same goes for trick competitions too.
- Tricks – doing tricks on your jet ski significantly raises the risk of a head injury. This goes for jumping on waves and wakes too.
- Mounting a camera – if you like to record the action then a helmet is actually a great place to mount a camera. Assuming, it is compatible of course.
- Changeable weather – if you ride in a place where the weather is prone to changing quickly and for the worse then a helmet could be a sensible addition to your jet ski kit. Big waves and low visibility are a dangerous combination that shouldn’t be underestimated.
But, as we said, it’s a personal choice. We can only provide you with some scenarios. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if a helmet is necessary or not.
Are there any Drawbacks to Wearing a Helmet?
There aren’t any drawbacks when it comes to safety, however, wearing a helmet can provide a few little problems. Let’s take a look at the disadvantages of jet ski helmets.
Limited vision & hearing – wearing a full-face helmet is going to restrict your field of view. Especially your peripheral vision.
It will also restrict your hearing. This means you need to be more aware of what’s going on around you at all times.
They can be heavy – a helmet adds significant weight to your head. Wearing one for long periods can cause fatigue in the neck.
Storage – it’s another large item that needs to be kept somewhere when not being used. Do you have space on your ski to keep it?
Important Points About Jet Ski Helmets
The main point to note when shopping for a helmet for jet skiing is that there are no helmets that are specifically designed for PWC riding.
There used to be a few around but currently, there are none (to our knowledge).
Instead, riders use helmets designed for BMX, dirt bikes, street bikes, and mountain biking.
These types of full-face helmets lend themselves to jet skiing too as they are breathable and relatively lightweight. They’re also able to withstand an impact or two.
Full-face helmets really are the way to go as they offer protection to your face and jaw. There might be less to crash into when out on the water but there will always be a dashboard and handlebars in front of you. These are more than capable of causing you a severe facial injury.
These helmets also deal well with water as they don’t contain too much padding or foam. This means they don’t get waterlogged as say a motorcycle road helmet would.
Recommended Next: Don’t miss our guide to jet ski depth finders next!
What to Look For in a Good Jet Ski Helmet
These are a few things that every good jet ski helmet has. Don’t settle for less!
- Any decent helmet should comply with DOT or CPSC safety standards (it depends if it’s a cycle or motorbike helmet). Look for a DOT sticker and also a Snell or American National Standards Institute (ANSI) sticker. These are excellent indicators that the helmet meets the Federal safety standard.
- Any helmet that’s going to be used in the water needs to be breathable. If (when) it gets wet it needs to be able to air out properly or it will remain damp for weeks. Having multiple air vents sure makes a difference to your comfort when wearing a helmet on a hot day too.
- Unless you plan on wearing jet ski goggles, look for a helmet with a face shield. It can be hard to keep your eyes open even at moderate speeds without some sort of face shield. This is more of a preference than a necessity. If you can ride fine without goggles or a face shield, then this is something you can skip over.
- It should have sturdy chin straps. The effectiveness of a helmet is dramatically reduced if it doesn’t fit snuggly. Make sure any helmet you are considering has solid straps that fit well and buckles that won’t let you down.
People who choose to wear a helmet while riding a jet ski should also consider wearing a neck collar as well.
The added weight of a helmet can sometimes cause problems either when riding or when getting tossed off. However, a neck collar can mitigate or eliminate those problems altogether.
Recommended Reading: Don’t miss our ultimate guide to jet ski life vests.
Our Jet Ski Helmet Recommendations
These are the helmets that we believe deserve your consideration.
GLX GX23 * Best Jet Ski Racing Helmet *
The GX23 from GLX Helmets is summed up beautifully by professional PWC rider GB Gasperone in the video above.
It’s a lightweight and breathable helmet that’s actually used by the pros but accessible to all.
The aerodynamic shell uses an advanced cooling system to maximize airflow around the head. There are a total of 14 air vents that ensure you get some of that breeze to cool down.
The helmet weighs just 3.5 pounds, which is incredibly light for a full-face helmet. Even when wet you won’t feel weighed down at all.
But most importantly of all, it exceeds DOT safety standards.
You can find out more about this jet ski helmet work by the pros at the GLX website.
Fox ProFrame * Best Recreational Helmet *
The Fox Proframe helmet is one of the lightest helmets around. It weighs just 1.65 pounds which I think you’ll agree is pretty light!
It’s designed for mountain biking so it is certainly able to withstand some heavy collisions. It’s made from molded polycarbonate. A material that’s known for its toughness.
It’s really breathable and includes multiple airflow vents. There are 15 intake vents and 9 exhaust ports that are sure to keep you feeling cool and fresh after long rides.
But most important of all it had multiple certificates concerning safety tests it has passed. These certifications include:
- N 1078
- ASTM F1952 (including a chin bar rigidity test)
- AS/NZ 2063
This really is an awesome piece of kit. But, that means it comes at a price. It’s not exactly cheap!
Bell Super 3R MIPS
This mountain bike helmet is another popular option for jet skiers. The lightweight polycarbonate shell is full of airflow vents that make it one of the most comfortable helmets to wear for long periods.
It weighs just 1.72 pounds, is on a level with the exceptional Fox Proframe (see the previous helmet). It’s ridiculously light for something so strong and durable.
It also complies with the US CPSC safety standards for bicycle helmets.
O’Neal Fury RL II * Outstanding Value *
O’Neal make great helmets and this is one of their most popular offerings.
It weighs just 2 pounds which is incredibly lightweight. It’s not in the same class as the Bell Super 3R or Fox Proframe when it comes to lightness but then it costs less than half of what these expensive helmets do.
The magnetic buckle system makes fastening the strap easier than ever before too. It’s really easy to release and fasten with just one hand.
It’s a BMX helmet by design and exceeds CPSC and EN1078 safety standards for bicycle helmets.
This is a really well priced helmet that is popular among the few helmet wearing jet skiers.
Bell Sanction BMX/Downhill Helmet
Unlike the previous jet ski helmet alternative, this option comes from a BMX background.
Because this helmet is designed for BMX riding, it is much more lightweight than some other options, weighing in at just over 2 pounds.
The fully vented shell is made from hand-laminated fiberglass and the visor on top can be adjusted. There’s no face shield so glasses or goggles can be worn.
The front is very open and provides a wide field of view. A large front opening can be good or bad depending on what you’re looking for. This helmet has a moto-inspired design which gives it a cool look but it may not be fitting for everyone.
-Glasses or goggles can be worn with it
-More flimsy design than other jet ski helmet alternatives
-Sizing can be a little small
-Not DOT Certified
Although none of these options are actual jet ski helmets, they have been known to be used by people on the water. Use your own discretion when choosing safety equipment.
When making a decision on which jet ski helmet alternative to go with, aim for one that’s lightweight and breathable. Remember how wet it’s likely to get and you don’t want to be wearing a helmet that’s heavy with the water that it has absorbed.
Having multiple air vents for breathability makes such a difference to your comfort and fatigue levels. You really don’t want to be aware that you’re wearing a helmet and big air vents certainly help with that.
Obviously, safety comes first though. Look out for those safety certifications that prove a helmet is dependable when it comes down to it.
Is there a helmet that you recommend? Or do you own one of our recommendations? We’d love to hear what you think down in the comments section!