The next best thing to owning a jet ski is renting a jet ski, especially since you don’t have to maintain the thing. Maintaining a jet ski will ultimately cost you more than the original sticker price. So, how much does it cost to rent a jet ski?

Renting a jet ski will cost you about $80 per hour and around $400 if you want to rent the thing for the entire day. If you want two jet skis for the day, you’ll end up dumping about $1,000 after it’s all said and done with.

Jet ski rental services are often pretty shady as well, so it’s important to do your homework before you start forking over a ton of cash to rent one. The rental fee also doesn’t include a host of hidden fees and that’s something that you should consider before purchasing.

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The hidden costs of renting a jet ski

Photo by Tobias Nii Kwatei Quartey / Unsplash

No matter what, there are flat fees, and the fees are presented prior to applying sales tax, which can make quite a difference when you’re talking about spending $400+ dollars for a single jet ski. There are additional, hidden costs as well such as:

  • Extra charges for life vests
  • Extra charges for wet suits
  • Extra charges for goggles
  • Safety boating card fee
  • Late return charges
  • Gas
  • Pickup and dropoff fees

We would throw in parking fees as well but that’s always uncertain and generally unrelated to renting out a jet ski. But it’s also worth considering because once you tally up all of the fees, it can get pretty expensive in a hurry.

You have to have a life vest when you are out on a jet ski so if you don’t bring your own, the company that is renting you the jet skis will be more than happy to accommodate you by renting one out to you. Keep in mind, that the cost of the life vest rental will be more than the cost of the life vest if you just purchased one at the store.

The same goes for wetsuits, though you really wouldn’t need one of those unless the jet ski weather is a little chilly, and not many people go jet skiing when it’s cold outside.

Be sure to bring the jet ski back on time or you will almost definitely have to pay the cost of a late return charge. It doesn’t matter if the jet ski breaks down out there, which is pretty common, and it took you forever to drag it back.

As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll pay the rental fee for the jet ski and then you will pay to pick it up and drop it off. You’re probably starting to get the picture by now.

You also have to gas it up. You didn’t think the jet ski rental place was going to gas it up for free, did you?

Average jet ski rental fees in different states

a jet ski on the beach
Photo by engin akyurt / Unsplash

The above, bolded answer is an average cost for jet skis across the whole of America, however, there are a lot of states in America that rent jet skis, even landlocked states that happen to have large lakes within their borders.

Jet ski rentals in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys have some of the hottest spots in the country for jet ski rentals but you’re going to pay for the luxury. Jet ski rentals in the Florida Keys are generally going to cost you about $120 per hour and the fees are going to be pretty high as well.

If you happen to have some coupons for the jet ski rentals, be prepared to get saturated with fees to make up the difference in cost because that’s usually the little loophole that most tourists aren’t aware of.

Gas and life jacket rentals are going to be expensive as well, especially with today’s current gas costs. The best way to prepare yourself for that is to set aside the extra money for gas costs and purchase your own life vests so you’re not dependent on life vest rentals once you’re there.

We picked the Florida Keys for Florida because it’s going to be the most expensive area to rent jet skis from. You’ll be hard-pressed to go anywhere else in Florida and find more expensive jet ski rentals. So, no matter where else you go in Florida, costs are going down.

Jet ski rentals on the east coast

There are a lot of states on the east coast but many of them are more prone to being big on jet ski rentals than others. North Carolina, with the Outer Banks, South Carolina with Myrtle Beach, and Georgia are the primary states on the east coast when it comes to Jet ski rentals.

For the cheapest jet ski rentals, you’ll have to go to North Carolina, where you can find deals as low as $75 per hour, with places like Carolina Beach Jet Ski Rentals renting jet skis for as low as $70.

South Carolina has some good options as well and you can find jet ski rentals there for as low as $75 or $80. One of the best spots to go to in South Carolina is Myrtle Beach. How much you pay will be highly dependent on the time of the year and when tourism is at its highest in the area.

During heavy tourism portions of the year, those low prices quickly jump up to $135 per hour, which is a huge difference, especially when you factor in all of the other fees and costs.

When you consider Georgia, it has as much coastline as the others with far more lakes, inlets, bays, and bodies of water that aren’t the Atlantic Ocean. In Georgia, you can find jet ski rentals for as low as $90 per hour and as high as $125, depending on where you go and when you go there.

You’ll have to go inland to some of Georgia’s lakes if you want to find cheaper jet ski rentals and don’t mind taking a jet ski out on freshwater rather than saltwater.

Jet ski rentals on the west coast

There is a big difference between the west coast and the east coast, mostly because there are so many states along the east coast and California absolutely dominates the amount of real estate along the west coast.

Because of how long California is, the rental rates for jet skis are all over the place. At some places, you can get jet ski rentals for the lowest price yet at $65 per hour. However, up in Tahoe, you can rent a jet ski for $140, which is also the highest on this list.

Most places that rent jet skis in California have all-day options instead of an hourly option and the rates run anywhere between $350 and $500, not including all of the additional fees that go along with it.

Oregon is another place that has plenty of jet ski options and they generally run the same kind of rates as their southern neighbor, with the exception that you won’t find any jet ski rentals in Oregon that are as low as $65 per hour.

Look out for jet ski scams

Wave Runner
Photo by Jonathon Kemp / Unsplash

There are a lot of scams that you will need to look out for when renting jet skis. Some of them were glossed over above, however, it can get worse than all of the fees. That’s mostly because the fees don’t come up until you arrive.

Most of the scams occur when you rent the jet skis out long before you arrive on the scene. You may have thought that you had an excellent deal and you may even have gone through GroupOn or some other discount app to get the best deal.

Then you start getting hit with fees and restrictions that you didn’t know about because they are not advertised. One of the common fees is the ‘late arrival’ fee, which is difficult to define because when you rent the jet skis, there is not necessarily a large print banner telling you that you must be there at a specific time.

It’s probably in the fine print and not many people take the time to read the fine print. That’s how you lookout for scams, by reading the fine print. When it comes to renting jet skis, you really need to take the time to read over the fine print of the rental agreement.

Be sure to only use valid, reviewed jet ski rental services and prepare by purchasing everything that you will need when you get there. The more you have, the less you will have to rent once you get there.

Final thoughts

Renting jet skis is supposed to be a blast and a fun-filled day. So make sure that you do it the right way, read all of the fine print, and bring your own gear, especially life vests, because that’s one less thing that you will have to rent.