Learn how quickly jet skis can stop with this in-depth look at jet ski braking distances. Get pro tips for safe riding and emergency stops.
When it comes to riding jet ski in Georgia, knowing how to safely operate your watercraft is crucial – and that includes understanding braking distances.
As an experienced jet ski enthusiast in the Peach State, I’ve learned that stopping jet skis requires more time and distance than you may initially think.
In this article, I’ll share valuable insights on jet ski braking based on physics and real-world tests, so you can ride confidently and responsibly on Georgia’s waterways.
Jet Skis Require Longer Stopping Distances Than Cars
When I first started jet skiing in Georgia years ago, I assumed jet skis could stop as fast as my Toyota Camry.
I quickly realized I was wrong – jet skis require much longer braking distances due to their lightweight hulls and contact with water instead of the road.
- Jet skis weigh between 500-1500 lbs. My Camry weighs over 3000 lbs. With less mass, jet skis have less inertia and decelerate slower than a car.
- Jet skis are designed to skip along the surface of the water. This reduces friction and traction compared to tire contact on pavement.
According to Yamaha, most jet skis take 3-4 full lengths to come to a complete stop when traveling at 30 mph. For a 10-foot-long jet ski, that equals a 30-40-foot stopping distance – much longer than a car!
Stopping Time Also Depends on Speed, Weight, and Maneuvers
Through experience, I’ve learned there are three key factors that affect jet ski stopping time beyond the basics of mass and friction:
- Speed – The faster you go, the more distance it takes to stop. At 60 mph, an average jet ski may need over 100 feet to fully stop!
- Weight – Heavier jet skis with multiple riders have more momentum and take longer to slow down.
- Maneuvers – Using techniques like reverse thrust and turning sideways creates extra drag and reduces braking time.
Here Are 5 Tips to Stop Safely on Your Jet Ski
Follow these useful tips to make sure you can always stop in time while jet skiing in Georgia:
- Give yourself 2-3x the stopping distance you would in a car. If a car stops at 50 feet, allow over 100 feet on your jet ski.
- Cut your speed well in advance when approaching congested areas, docks, or other boats/skiers. Remember it takes longer to slow down.
- Use reverse thrust in combination with braking to maximize deceleration. Don’t just coast to a stop.
- Turn sideways to the direction of travel if you need to stop quickly. This increases drag substantially.
- Practice emergency stops in open water to get a feel for your jet ski’s braking capabilities.
Knowing exactly how jet skis handle stopping is key to safe, responsible riding. Use these tips and always ride within your and your jet ski’s limits. Let me know in the comments if you have any other braking tips for fellow jet skiing enthusiasts!