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PWC & Jet Ski

How to Load Jet Skis onto a Trailer


When loading up your jet ski on to a trailer, it’s important to go through the process with great care and precision. If something goes wrong, it could result in some significant damage to your jet ski or your trailer, or injuries to people attempting to get the jet ski lifted up on the trailer.

Fortunately for you, we’ve got some simple instructions to help you get your jet ski on the trailer for transportation efficiently and safely.

Here’s a quick look at everything you need to know.

Preparing for the load

The way you prepare for the loading process will have a big impact on its success and safety.

Before you begin the process, inspect the trailer to make sure it is properly attached to the vehicle that will be towing it. Unplug the wiring for the trailer lights, and check to make sure the bunks are in the right position and are completely clean. Flip the lever of the winch out from the lock position.

Then, make sure the area around the dock is clear so you can bring the trailer back up to it. Depending on the time of day, the time of year and the day of the week, it could potentially be very busy at the dock, assuming you’re at a boat launch. Keep an eye out for others around you, and wait your turn if there are others in line to either launch or take out a vessel.

Get the trailer ready

It’s a good idea to use a vehicle with four-wheel drive if possible. If you have carpeted bunks on the trailer, back the trailer up slowly enough until the bunks are fully submerged.

How far you stop the vehicle from the water depends on multiple factors: how steep the ramp is, the depth of the water, how long your trailer is and how high the trailer bunks are. Steeper ramps mean your jet ski will float on to the trailer sooner. If you’re on a shallow ramp, you’ll need to stop your vehicle before the exhaust submerges, but leave the engine running to prevent waves from forcing water into the exhaust.

Try to avoid backing the trailer too far into the water as well—this could result in the jet ski simply floating off the trailer while you’re trying to load it.

Finally, make sure you’ve applied the parking brake to give the vehicle some extra stability.

Know the loading process

The way you move the jet ski on to a trailer depends on the conditions of the water and the kind of trailer you have. You should avoid driving jet skis directly on to trailers—this could result in damage to the ski.

Power loading is also a bad idea for many beginning users especially. This involves using throttle to move the jet ski on to the trailer when the bunks are not fully submerged. This process can result in an accident that damages the ramp or the vessel itself.

For most users, pulling the jet ski on to the trailer with a rope is going to be the simplest and safest option, especially if you’re able to get the trailer submerged enough to get the jet ski to float right on to it.

Once you get the jet ski on the trailer, make sure it’s in a centered position to ensure an even weight distribution. Pull up the jet ski until the bow reaches the bow stop, and then you can attach the chain. Make sure it’s fully chained up before you pull the trailer out of the water.

Pulling the trailer out of the water can be tricky. Remember, the jet ski is a heavy vehicle, so if the ramp is steep and/or slippery, this could cause you some difficulty. This is why it’s a good idea to use an all-wheel-drive vehicle; rear-wheel drive cars are more likely to spin out, and front-wheel drive cars are not able to have enough weight on the front in many cases to get the trailer out with the jet ski on it.

Final steps

Before you drive away, make sure the jet ski is fully secured down on the trailer with straps so it does not shift its weight while you’re driving. Remove all extra gear from the jet ski and stow it away safely in your vehicle, and remove the drain plugs to get rid of any excess water.

Once you’re away from the water, reattach the trailer lights so you comply with the rules of the road, double check the trailer to make sure it’s in good shape, and cover the jet ski if needed/desired.

What's the craziest loading experience you've ever had or seen? Tell us below!

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