The day I realised jet skis CAN sink

When it comes to jet skis, you think they are rather unsinkable. They don’t have a big hull that takes on water like a boat. If anything, the engine would have to catch on fire to burn it down into the water. That would be bad, given the engine is between your legs!

It had been a while since we had used the jetski. We used it once after getting it serviced some time in 2013, but it was months and months ago.


It is so much fun to skurf behind, so we decided to give it a thorough check, charge the battery and head out for the morning skurfing with friends.


All was great. We all had a really fun time without any dramas or injuries. As the tide started going too far out we decided to go back to the boat ramp.

Not long after that, the jetski started to make a terribly loud beeping noise. I guess it did not want us to keep going, and indicated it was overheating. Was a fire really going to start between our legs? Actually, no.

We pulled the jet ski up to a sandbank. This allowed us to get off the seats and pull it apart to check the engine. Everything appeared fine. I felt around and there was nothing caught in the water intake.

We decided to give it another go and everything seemed fine at first.

Right until about 200-300 meters away from the boat ramp. That beeping sound started again. I looked at my feet covered in water. Turned around and the back of the jet ski was all under water. Very quickly after that, we were both ankle deep in water.

Our safety was not generally an issue. We were close to shore, wearing life jackets and in fairly shallow water. I chose to ignore the video I had seen a few days prior of the fishermen feeding two bull sharks in the area where we were sinking.

We really wanted to get the jet ski back to the ramp. Having it sink would not be ideal.

Luckily we were able to putter along to the annoyingly loud beeping sound. We made it to the boat ramp.

I’ve never seen Ryan run so fast to get the trailer, whilst I repeated my mantra “please don’t sink now, please don’t sink now.” Even in ankle deep water I would have not wanted it to sink. I just wanted to get it home for a thorough check up.

Just prior to loading it onto the trailer I undid the bungs (if you had been wondering whether we did them up, the answer is yes). Very hot water came gushing out, and continued to gush until well after we got home.

Oh right! The engine has a water intake hose!

Turns out that had blown/broken/fallen off. When we first checked the engine on the sandbank, it must only have just happened and there was no water inside the engine bay, yet.

By the time we got near the boat ramp, the engine had swallowed up heaps of water and had no way of expelling it.

Had we been in the middle of Moreton bay or out further, this story might not have ended well. There would have been an extra artificial reef out there for our fishermen friends.

So the jet ski survived yet another saga. I hear it’s not the first time it has been flooded.. That that’s a much more exciting story for another time.


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