We've always wanted a Florida jet ski, Sea-Doo or personal watercraft (PWC). It’s the equivalent of a motorcycle on water. Fast and fun, if you own one you have to tow it. Here are some options we found for towing.
The first time we rode a Waverunner was in the Cayman Islands. That great experience and feeling of freedom has stayed with us for years. What a great experience! Nothing else feels like flying through the water on a small powered craft. It makes you feel alive and is a great experience to share with your partner or kids. Now that we live in Florida we have access to many waterways. It's a no-brainer to get a personal watercraft and tow it with our truck.
It's simpler and easier than owning a boat. Easier to maneuver, cheaper to
maintain and operate and have lots of safety features. The biggest selling feature for us is we are just so happy when riding on a jet ski. There aren’t too many items you can buy
that will make you smile the first time, and every time you use it. Just park, back it into the water and take off!
Let's get real. Owning a boat or any personal watercraft is driven by our personal wants and dreams. The costs can add up quickly and be substantial. A big part of owning a jet ski, besides maintenance, is having a vehicle (a truck) to bring it to the water. Then you will need some type of trailer to tow or carry it there. Jet skis usually don’t come with trailers or hauling devices. So, let’s take a look at some of the options available for getting that jet ski to the shore.
Small Watercraft Trailer
The most common and practical option is a trailer that attaches to the hitch on your
truck. Using a PWC trailer is straightforward. First you have to back up the trailer into
the water until the bunks are under the water. Then maneuver the jet ski off the bunks
into the water. When loading, do the reverse. Move the jet ski onto the trailer bunks and
winch it up until the bow reaches the bow stop. Finally, secure the jet ski and carefully
drive back up the ramp. So easy!
Double or Single Watercraft Trailer?
Another decision to make is whether you are getting a single or double trailer. If you
only have one PWC, get a single. If you have two, get a double. Sounds easy enough.
Makes sense, right? Make sure the trailer that is balanced enough to carry just one
without some sort of extra weight on the opposite side to balance things out. Otherwise towing the trailer might end up being more exciting than riding the jet ski! Check out Karavan trailers here.
There are several things you need to consider about the type of trailer needed. They
will affect cost and long-term durability. Trailers come in steel or aluminum. Steel is
cheaper but you need to be aware that rust will attack it. There's a lot of salt in the air in Florida! Methods used to protect against rust are painted steel, powdered coated steel or galvanized steel. If you are going to be in salt water (in Florida) than galvanized steel or aluminum will be the best choices. All of these will provide a more durable finish, but rust could still form over time especially if the trailer is not cleaned up after exposure to salt water. Just like your beach truck, you need to clean it after every use. See options at ShoreLand'r and Com-Fab Trailers.
Avoid Towing Mishaps
For any trailer, you want to be able to see where it is heading especially as you back up.
Every trailer has 3 blind zones, they are on both sides and rear of the trailer. An
additional backup camera (wireless units found on Amazon) or some form of visual aid so you can see the trailer as you are backing up can prevent any mishaps. Tie Down Boat guides are easy to see. Boat Guides help you load your boat safely while also providing a visual aid when backing in a trailer.
Use a Hitch Hauler
Another option to use to carry your jet ski is a PWC hitch hauler. This is a two bar support platform that attaches to your standard truck hitch. The PWC sits on the platform and is securely attached to it. They are easy to install and make it easy to load and unload a PWC. Hitch haulers are designed to carry the PWC close to the vehicle to make the carrying experience as safe and secure as possible. But they look a little scary.
There are some negatives to a hitch hauler. It's best suited for smaller jet skis
and stand-up units that are lighter in weight and easier to move. You may need the help of an additional person to do the loading and unloading. The hitch haulers work best with trucks and SUVs that have the load carrying capacity to handle the additional weight of everything. You need to ensure your vehicle can handle this as hitch carriers can be hard
on your truck suspension and tire wear. There will also be some additional expenses if
you are using a hitch hauler such as ratchet straps to secure the PWC. Don't forget that both the license plate and tail lights must be clearly visible when the watercraft is mounted on the hauler for safety purposes. You should take care when driving over potholes too!
Hitch Hauler Safety
Your personal water craft should NOT fall off a hitch hauler, but we've seen it happen. Drive slowly and safely. Be careful not to try to move the personal watercraft yourself. If you can't slide it right into the water, a strong partner will help. Due to salt water exposure, you need to flush your PWC engine after every single ride. Along with other preventative maintenance steps for your truck and PWC, you will have many great days on the water.
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Susan and Bruno are travel bloggers. We write about Florida beaches on every coast. Our opinions only.