Everything to know about Waverunner Rentals

Got some questions about renting a Waverunner? We do our best to answer the most common questions and misconceptions.

Yamaha waverunner 2020

Renting a Waverunner is a pretty simple task, but there are a lot of common questions and misconceptions about it.

To help provide an easier and overall better experience, this guide will help you weed out what you need and don’t need to do as well as educate you on some of the tricks of the trade.

Keep in mind that Jet Skis and Waverunners are the same things.

Jet Ski’s are the trademarked name of Kawasaki’s PWC (Personal Watercraft) and Waverunner is the trademarked name of Yamaha’s PWC.

Both of these companies make stand up watercraft and sit down watercraft. Throughout this guide, the terminology varies to avoid redundancy. The terms “Jet Ski” and “Waverunner” are interchangeable.

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Dealing with Waverunner Rental Companies

A lot of times people renting a PWC are on vacation so they are a bit out of their element.

Unfortunately, many companies realize this. There are certain things you may want to steer clear of.

Don’t get tricked by rental companies. There are plenty of rental companies out there that will provide a better service.

First things first, you should research reviews of the rental companies you’re considering. Many companies, especially those abroad, often charge fees for “damages” you caused even if you know you had nothing to do with it.

This is a common scam and you should be aware of it.

Waverunner rental companies (even the more honest ones) would love to keep that security deposit you made as well as charge you other fees for repair so they can buy some new equipment.

Make sure you’re covered on your end by doing everything you can to ensure you do not damage the Waverunner.

The renter is responsible for any and all damage done to the watercraft while it’s in their possession.

Try your best to plan ahead. This means getting a reservation if possible (although this isn’t always needed) and checking the weather.

The summer months are peak times for Waverunner rentals, and for many regions it’s also the wet season. If you get rained out while on the water, you’ll get charged the same regardless.

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General Questions

Having a lot of questions is normal considering many renters have never even ridden a watercraft.

While answers vary between companies this general outline should give most people a better understanding of the do’s and don’ts.

Age Requirements

Almost all companies require renters to be at least 18, but many bump that number up to 25.

Normally riders as young as 12 can operate jet skis after taking a course. Some facilities require children to be 44″ or taller to be a passenger on a ski.

A parent or guardian usually has to sign a waiver for children. Non-drivers over 18 also fill out rental and liability waivers.

Riding Limits

This is something that varies much more from company to company. Some have rules stating riders must stay within visible sight of trained escorts, others allow free roam for as long as the jet skis are booked for.

Rental companies inland have even been known for allowing renters to take their ski’s to other locations, and even delivering the jet ski to them.

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How fast are rental Waverunners?

If you’re interested in top speeds, check out our article on the fastest Waverunner.

When it comes to rentals, the top speed is usually 55mph, maybe a little more.

If you’re looking to go much faster than 55mph, you may want to consider purchasing your own PWC.


Sometimes, but not always, renters are required by law to have a boater education ID card.

This is something that varies so depending on location so planning ahead is necessary.

If you were born before 01/01/1989, you do not need a boating safety certificate. Riders born after 01/01/1989, you need to take a boating safety course before you can legally operate one.

If a course is needed, it is offered online at or If you are under the age of 16, you must take the boating safety course in the classroom and not online.

Renters should have the card in their possession and display it before the facility they’re renting from.

Waverunner rental operators always provide an on-the-water demonstration on how to ride and a practice ride to evaluate the proficiency of renters.

You can check out our jet ski license requirement guide here.


All passengers (including those being towed) and the operator must be wearing a personal flotation device (PFD).

This is a law that is basically set in stone no matter where you go. Inflatable PFDs are not allowed for personal watercraft use. The rental company should provide jet ski PFD’s for you.

Waverunners typically can’t be used from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise, even if headlights are on, due to decreased visibility.

This is a law that is strictly enforced in many areas. Sometimes the ride is so fun you don’t want it to end, but just like when you were a kid, you better be home before the street lights turn on.

One thing you don’t want to do is get caught riding recklessly. This includes but isn’t limited to jumping the wakes of passing boats, riding too close to boats, and capsizing the Waverunner.

Capsizing can flood the engine, and leave you stranded wherever you are. Most people can use common sense to figure out what is considered riding recklessly.

If you aren’t sure if something is allowed, ask yourself if you would still do it with a small child on board.

Riding recklessly not only endangers people but can cause damage to the Waverunner rental which you will be charged for.

Do you have any further questions? Ask us down in the comments section and we’ll do our best to help!

  1. Thanks for the tips. Going to try renting some for the firs time this summer.