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Discussion Starter #1
So I am helping my son buy his first jet ski. He is 13 but is 5'11 165lbs and races expert motocross and rides an 600cc mountain sled. I dont want anything radical but if it is too tame he will likely be looking to move up within a short time. We have rented some Yamahas in Mexico occasionally but the thrill wore off quickly due to lack of performance. I am thinking we should be looking in the 130 to 150 hp range but could use some help deciding from some more experienced owners here.
He has saved up 3200 and I am loaning him 2800 so our budget is 6K. We live on Lake Ontario and the waves are often 2 to 4 feet here, so a smooth ride will be important. It will be a 3 seater so we can use it for skiing and wakeboarding. The other priority is that it needs to be quiet due to the fact we have alot of canoe and sailboat neighbors and I don't wish to become the prime reason they want to ban PWC's in our cove. In fact I would like to help show that jet powered watercraft can be ridden responsibly and the newer models are very quiet. We have 3 regulars with open pipes who like to do a few laps around our cove on a daily basis in the summer...
My first choice was a Seadoo since we have had a speedster since 96 and only had to change the wear rings/impellers. No other problems at all. I have heard that buying used we would probably be better off with a Yamaha or even Honda ? Anyway, 6000 bucks, good ride in the chop, quiet, 3 seater, and able to pull a skier.... What are my options?
Oh yah, Occasionally I would like to be able to tow it behind our big boat at about 24 knots without flooding the exhaust. This was a problem with the speedster and we had to hang it on the davits which is a pain if you are only going a short distance. I understand that some pwc's can be towed over 5mph but I am not sure which ones?

Thanks,
Rob
 

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My recommendations are used a Yamaha FX or FX HO, but the FX HO model may push your budget. These skis meet all your requirements. The FX will do around 53-54 mph and the FX HO around 60 mph. Good 3 rider skis, very stable, moderate "V" hull so good in rough water, will tow.......but no ski anywhere is good for towing a skier or wakeboarder unless you want to go in a straight line. Slalom sking will wreck a jet ski, and no jet ski creates enough wake for a wake boarder. They are OK for towing a tube.

The FX and FX HO can only be towed at 5 mph, as most skis unless you block off the water intake line. This is a simple fix, and many guys that routinely tow their skis install a valve in the line that they can turn use for towing the ski at higher speeds.

Another model that may be a consideration is the Kawasaki 15F, which is very good in rough water, but not as reliable as the Yamaha models. I can't comment on SeaDoo, but Outlaw who routinely posts to this forum can give you a recommendation. Honda skis are not good rough water skis, and Honda is now out of the ski business since 2009, so finding parts and service may be tough..........their turbo models have corrosion problems with the waste gates, so I would not recommend one of them.

Check your state or local boating regulations, because in most states a 13 year old cannot operate a PWC alone.
 

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Seadoo or Yamaha works

Ok I just posted on Aritcs thread, Ernest know me well, I can be a little to colorful and to competitive. So the doc gave new meds to calm me down:laugh:, so now i will post in a calm polite manner from now on (LMAO) key word is try,an RXT like mine would fit the bill, as far as thrust washers go anything 2007 and up has stainless already. Any that may still have ceramic ones can be swapped out.My color holds up the best mine looks brand new.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. So is there any brand that tend to be less expensive on the used market? I am not really opposed to any brand. The main thing is that he is on a tight budget and this is a learning process for my son. We cant go over 6K so we are limited. Also if anyone in upstate NY is reading this, we are looking for a great deal and are located just across the border in Canada. He has the cash in hand and the weather is great!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Also, top speed is less important than rough water ride and quiet operation. Strong acceleration would be good and sharp handling a bonus. My kid is a very fast motocross rider however the top speed he reaches on his 150R is only about 40mph. I am looking for a ski that will be good to start on and not get boring within a few hours of riding. I lost a bunch going from a 50 to 65 to 85 to 150 4 stroke due to him outgrowing the power within a few weeks on each step up. Also he will probably end up to be quite tall and heavy by the time he quits growing so something that will handle a big guy is important. I just checked for some Yamaha FX models and there is nothing on the market here. Out of 87 pwcs for sale 73 are Seadoos and the rest are older like tigershark, polaris and 2 GP 1300's. I may have to expand my search to New York or New England to get the deal we need...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Is 13 too young to start learning to ride a PWC ?

My recommendations are used a Yamaha FX or FX HO, but the FX HO model may push your budget. These skis meet all your requirements. The FX will do around 53-54 mph and the FX HO around 60 mph. Good 3 rider skis, very stable, moderate "V" hull so good in rough water, will tow.......but no ski anywhere is good for towing a skier or wakeboarder unless you want to go in a straight line. Slalom sking will wreck a jet ski, and no jet ski creates enough wake for a wake boarder. They are OK for towing a tube.

The FX and FX HO can only be towed at 5 mph, as most skis unless you block off the water intake line. This is a simple fix, and many guys that routinely tow their skis install a valve in the line that they can turn use for towing the ski at higher speeds.

Another model that may be a consideration is the Kawasaki 15F, which is very good in rough water, but not as reliable as the Yamaha models. I can't comment on SeaDoo, but Outlaw who routinely posts to this forum can give you a recommendation. Honda skis are not good rough water skis, and Honda is now out of the ski business since 2009, so finding parts and service may be tough..........their turbo models have corrosion problems with the waste gates, so I would not recommend one of them.

Check your state or local boating regulations, because in most states a 13 year old cannot operate a PWC alone.
Since I started this search for a used PWC it has been kindly mentioned that there is a an age limit of 16. I just wanted to make my opinion known that age is rarely an indication of a new rider's ability to safely enjoy a particular watersport.
In our case my son is physically the size of an average 16 year old and has been riding motorcycles since age 5. There has always been an unbreakable rule that personal safety and the safety of others is our #1 priority. We are a family that is passionate in promoting safe enjoyment of all motorsports. The son who is buying the pwc has been learning to navigate since he was 10 and plots our course and files our cruise plan when we head out on our big boat. He also helps maintain her engines and can change a diesel injector by himself. Last year he practiced docking and can now handle our 50ft boat as well as I can around the marina. (see picture of him navigating at night via radar and chartplotter .He was 10 at the time.)
It is disappointing that the law insists that age is the only factor that permits a young person the privilege to start enjoying a great sport.
By the time my son is 16 I will be confident that he can head out unsupervised to enjoy a day on the water with his friends. Unfortunately it appears I will be breaking the law by allowing him to learn to drive a pwc under my supervision in the years leading up to that magic 16th birthday.
I respect the opinion of others and wonder what the community here thinks about allowing the option for kid below age 16 to take a competency test and receive a learning license that will allow supervised operation of a PWC?
 

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It varies state to state, so check your local laws. In NC they can operate a PWC at age 14 if they pass the boating safety course. My daughter took the required boating safety course, and was operating our PWC at age 14 by herself. She is now 16 and routinely operates our boat and the ski with no problems or concerns on my part. She is a very conscientious operator. It is definitely an individual thing. I have a 22 year old son, that I feel much less confident about on the PWC or boat than my younger daughter............he managed to run the ski aground last year, and did considerable damage to the hull. I will not let him operate my boat alone.........he is a very smart kid, but has absolutely no common sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My recommendations are used a Yamaha FX or FX HO, but the FX HO model may push your budget. These skis meet all your requirements. The FX will do around 53-54 mph and the FX HO around 60 mph. Good 3 rider skis, very stable, moderate "V" hull so good in rough water, will tow.......but no ski anywhere is good for towing a skier or wakeboarder unless you want to go in a straight line. Slalom sking will wreck a jet ski, and no jet ski creates enough wake for a wake boarder. They are OK for towing a tube.

The FX and FX HO can only be towed at 5 mph, as most skis unless you block off the water intake line. This is a simple fix, and many guys that routinely tow their skis install a valve in the line that they can turn use for towing the ski at higher speeds.

Another model that may be a consideration is the Kawasaki 15F, which is very good in rough water, but not as reliable as the Yamaha models. I can't comment on SeaDoo, but Outlaw who routinely posts to this forum can give you a recommendation. Honda skis are not good rough water skis, and Honda is now out of the ski business since 2009, so finding parts and service may be tough..........their turbo models have corrosion problems with the waste gates, so I would not recommend one of them.

Check your state or local boating regulations, because in most states a 13 year old cannot operate a PWC alone.
It varies state to state, so check your local laws. In NC they can operate a PWC at age 14 if they pass the boating safety course. My daughter took the required boating safety course, and was operating our PWC at age 14 by herself. She is now 16 and routinely operates our boat and the ski with no problems or concerns on my part. She is a very conscientious operator. It is definitely an individual thing. I have a 22 year old son, that I feel much less confident about on the PWC or boat than my younger daughter............he managed to run the ski aground last year, and did considerable damage to the hull. I will not let him operate my boat alone.........he is a very smart kid, but has absolutely no common sense.
I totally agree with you Ernest. I believe that if parents are given control of training kids to operate PWCs at their discretion, we will have a better chance at instilling a sense of responsibility and thoughtfulness for others who are using the lake. They are still taking our advice at age 13 but by age 16 they tend to be influenced by their friends. By the time my kid is 16 he will hopefully have the responsibility to be able to do what the law says he can legally do. Without the learning curve prior to unsupervised pwc operation I really doubt that he would be ready.
Here's a personal example that makes me angry as hell:
On labour day 2009 the autopilot on our cruiser was intermittently acting up, and I needed to go down to the engine room to check out the ecm and hydraulics while under way. The law states my son is too young to drive the boat so I gave the helm over to my brother in law (police officer) after instructing him how to follow the course plotted on the gps and simply follow the tour boat in front of us. When I was down below he veered 300 feet off course and managed to hit the only shoal in the middle of a 4 mile wide open area of the St. Lawrence River. Had the law been based upon ability rather than age my very competent older son (15 at the time) would have simply stayed to the right of the navigation buoy and life would be great. Instead it ended up with a 6000 dollar long weekend salvage and tow back to a marina. (crane barge and 2 tugs for 3 hours)!
The only reason I didnt put my son at the helm was that I didnt want to break the stupid age law and it cost me big time. Total deductible 16,000, 18 months without our boat and a massive insurance claim to repair transmissions, replace shafts, rudders, props, generator, ac/heat pump, batteries, starters, charger, water heater and repair a 6 foot long gouge and hole in my hull. I was the only one hurt luckily as I was coming up the stairs at the moment we hit and then thrown back down and hit my head on a metal beam.
The bottom line is I made a very stupid mistake by assuming that just because someone is a responsible adult, he is capable of following (what I thought) were simple instructions. I believe the current law makes the same mistake by using age as the defining factor as to whether a person is capable of driving a recreational vehicle on the water.
I assume all responsibility for the accident and would never had forgiven myself if one of my kids had been hurt. The fact is that the adult driver was too proud to simply stop the boat and ask if he should go on the left or right of the navigation buoy.
Anyway this topic is a long way from looking for a used pwc but the age limit is a stupid way of ensuring the safety of watersport participants.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Bought a Seadoo Thanks for your help!

Picked up a 2000 GTX Carb 951. We really are enjoying it, Thanks for the help!
 

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I totally agree with you Ernest. I believe that if parents are given control of training kids to operate PWCs at their discretion, we will have a better chance at instilling a sense of responsibility and thoughtfulness for others who are using the lake. They are still taking our advice at age 13 but by age 16 they tend to be influenced by their friends. By the time my kid is 16 he will hopefully have the responsibility to be able to do what the law says he can legally do. Without the learning curve prior to unsupervised pwc operation I really doubt that he would be ready.
Speedster, If you are still reading this, New York allows kids above the age of 14 to operate personal watercraft after taking the approved boater safety course. It must have been a long time since you've done the required boater safety course (required even for adults driving PWCs) because this was actually a question on the test and was repeated a number of times in the class.

Hope you haven't been holding your kid back! :rolleyes:
 
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