Jet skis are very lightweight and expensive enough to be tempting targets of theft. Considering the fact that the price of a newer model can range between $5000 and $20 000 it’s worth making some effort into securing your jet ski from thugs.
The problem is that not many people are talking about jet ski security, as if people will just figure it out on their own. I think it’s good to have all the best security tips in one place, so here they are:
On Land Security Tips:
1. Insure your jet ski
To reduce your fears, consider getting your jet ski insured. If it gets stolen you’ll at least be compensated with a fair chunk of money.
Your insurance policy will probably cover the perceived price of the jet ski by comparing the price of the model when it’s brand new and the perceived value depending on when you bought it and other factors.
Also talk to your agent to make sure you know all the details before signing the papers. If you implement some of the security tips from this article, you will probably be able to reduce the insurance costs.
For example, storing the jet ski indoors, securing it with a thick chain, using a security camera or an alarm system.. all of these methods indicate to the insurer that your jet ski is unlikely to be stolen, thus bringing the insurance premium down.
2. Take photos and record videos to prove your ownership
This is useful with any vehicle or possession that’s prone to theft. When it comes to your jet ski, take photos of:
- engine bay
- hull ID numbers
- registration numbers
- serial numbers
- engine tags
- yourself sitting on it
- any unique things on your jet ski (marks, locking features etc.)
Taking photos is great, but having a video recording can make it even easier to identify your jet ski. Do an all round video, where you show the overall condition of your jet ski.
3. Copy important documents
Many times a vehicle gets stolen and the owner can do nothing about it. Why? Because he/she can’t find the documents!
They were either stolen as well or simply misplaced because they were not needed for a long period of time. It’s important to have your documents in a safe location that you can easily remember. Make a couple of copies of:
- vessel registration
- sales receipt
- insurance information
Tuck a copy away somewhere in the jet ski compartment as well. Also take photos of these documents and store them on your computer, external hard drive, smartphone or Google Drive. In case the physical documents go missing for whatever reason, you’ll have these digital backups to rely on.
4. Secure the storage space
When on-land, jet skis are commonly left outdoors on the trailer (not recommended) or indoors. These are the most common indoor storage areas:
- backyard shed
- storage unit
All of these options can be great… or not so great. It really depends on how secure they are. If you leave the garage or shed door open all the time, it won’t be of any use.
If the doors and windows are easy to break through, it’s more of a deterrent than anything, and a tougher burglar won’t have much problem dealing with. Some things you can do to improve the security of these areas are:
- always lock the doors and windows at night and while you’re away
- set up security cameras
- set up an alarm system
- install better locks on doors and windows
- use motion sensor lights to detect intruders at night
- set up warning signs to deter criminals
An actual storage unit can be a great solution as well, especially if it’s part of a storage complex that has a fence, security guards and cameras.
The downside is that you might have to travel to get the jet ski when you want to use it, and you won’t have constant access to it like you would if it were in your garage.
There’s also the cost factor in case you’re renting a storage unit. But at least you wouldn’t have to personally worry about its security and it won’t take any space away from your garage, shed or backyard.
5. Secure your jet ski to an immovable object
Similar to securing a bicycle or a motorcycle, you can secure your jet ski by using a security cable or a thick chain.
Pull the chain or security cable through a part of the jet ski and around an immovable object. It could be a metal pole, a fence, part of a wall, a tree.. it really depends on the circumstances and the environment.
Do this even if you store the jet ski indoors. Otherwise you’ll stress all the time about whether you kept the door open or not.
6. Use a tear-resistant but plain looking cover
If you’re worried about security (as you probably should be), use a plain, universal cover like this heavy duty iCover. It’s tear resistant, mildew and UV resistant and provides all weather protection.
It takes some effort to remove this cover thanks to the heavy duty elastic cord sewn in around hemline for secure and snug fit. So no one can take a peak in a second to see what kind of a jet ski you have.
Thanks to the secure fit, it also provides more weather protection than random covers.
Show boating is way more fun on the waves anyway, so make sure that your jet ski is still there come summertime.
7. Don’t run the jet ski for too long while on land
Cleaning and maintenance can require running the jet ski to run while on land, but this causes a lot of noise. Jet skis are incredibly loud when they run out of water so keep this to a minimum, otherwise everyone in the neighborhood will know you have one.
8. Avoid washing your jet ski on the front lawn
Or any other clearly visible spot for that matter. For the same reason; you don’t want everyone to know you have a shiny new toy. The less people know it, the better, from a security angle of course.
9. Use the chock lock for trailer wheels
Besides using a thick chain to attach your jet ski trailer to an immovable object, you can also use a wheel lock. A wheel lock will prevent the wheel from rotating. So if some tries to roll your trailer away, it’s just not gonna happen.
There are some excellent wheel locks on the market, and I recommend using this affordable Trimax Wheel Chock Lock from Amazon. It basically chocks the wheel like a scorpion (or a lobster) with its powder coated steel claws.
It’s pretty much impossible to remove without the key (you get two keys) since it would require cutting through the thick steel.
This wheel lock can be used on any other wheel you like so it’s a great security investment for more than just a jet ski trailer.
I bought it primarily for my boat trailer, but recently I carried it on an RV trip with my family across the US. When we left the RV for too long in uncharted territories it definitely reduced our stress levels knowing that even if someone broke inside it would be impossible to drive away without taking that thing away.
I often joke with my wife that it’s bringing better results than all of the anti-anxiety pills that I’ve tried so far! (Running Security Latest can get stressful at times!)
On Water Security Tips:
1. Keep your jet ski in view when it’s on water
Your jet ski is especially vulnerable when it’s left unattended on water. There are many criminals who’ll gladly take it for a spin and never come back if you let them. If you’re not on your jet ski, try to keep it in view. Try parking it in view of a security camera if possible.
2. Attach it to a dock post (not a dock cleat!)
If you have to keep your jet ski on water for an extended period of time while away, definitely attach it to a dock post with a water-resistant cable. Don’t attach it to a dock cleat because it’s less safe. The dock cleat itself can often be removed which makes it a pretty unsafe option.
3. Remove the kill switch and lanyard
This is a major mistake that jet ski noobs make. They leave the kill switch and lanyard in the dash. Or they attach it to the PFD sitting on the seat. Doing this will make it pretty easy for someone to start the engine and ride away into the sunset. Of course, other security measures could minimize the risk, but why take any chances?
4. Install a remote battery kill switch
This is an old-school method that some guys use. It involves installing a remote battery kill switch with a removable key in a not very visible location.
It basically prevents the engine from starting if the key is not there. If you plan on doing this, make sure that the device is waterproof and marine grade otherwise it could lead to unwanted damage.
But I suspect that guys who opt for this option have some previous experience with the method. I personally haven’t used it so I can’t say much about it other than these basic guidelines.
Final Thoughts on Securing a Jet Ski
Since jet skis are lightweight and can be rolled off your property in a matter of seconds, they’re vulnerable to theft when stored on land. They’re also vulnerable on water if you keep them out of sight for too long.
To secure your jet ski from slime balls, store it indoors whenever possible, conceal it with a plain-looking cover, lock it to a fixed object with a security cable, use a wheel lock on the trailer wheel.
Better securing your storage space (garage, shed..) with security camera, alarm and improved door locks will also help. Alternatively, store it in a rented storage unit.
When on water, keep it in view whenever possible. When you’re away for a longer period of time, use a security cable to attach it to a dock post. Always remove the kill switch and lanyard before you leave your jet ski.
These are the best tips available and I hope you can see the basic logic behind them. So I hope you’ll use them to your advantage!