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Jet Ski Shipping: Move Personal Watercraft Cheaply

January 18, 2024
 By Jacob Lee
Jet Ski Shipping: Move Personal Watercraft Cheaply
Last Modified: January 18, 2024
Jet ski shipping is a necessary service when moving these vehicles over land. We’ll show you what you need to do to prepare jet skis for transport and how much moving them will cost.

As per the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, flatbed or open deck trailer shipping is an ideal choice for jet ski shipping. This equipment makes loading easier, accommodates different sized vehicles, and ensures safe delivery to the final destination. Costs to move these vessels can fluctuate between $200 to $2,000.

Before you commit to jet ski shipping, learn how much it will cost to move these vehicles and the preparations you’ll have to make. 

Are There Regulations for Jet Ski Shipping?

Under most circumstances, there are no unique regulations for shipping jet skis. While these vehicles can vary in size, none of them will exceed weight or dimensional regulations that necessitate oversized or overweight permits. That said, it’s still necessary to include standard shipping documents with the load, such as a bill of lading (BOL) or packing lists.   

These vessels depicted in the picture are ready for jet ski shipping

How Do You Ship Jet Skis On A Flatbed or Open Deck Trailer?

Although jet skis aren’t the largest type of cargo to haul, they should be loaded and secured to an open deck trailer with care. We’ll go through the steps to ensure safe transport.   

Preparing the Jet Ski for Shipping

Before a shipping company can retrieve jet skis for transport, owners of the vessel will need to make a few preparations. 

This includes: 

  • Cleaning the vessel: Since jet skis are in the water most of the time, there won’t be much dirt to clean off. Instead, focus on removing any debris like dried salt or algae. 
  • Draining liquids: Any water inside the vehicle should be drained. For safety reasons, fuel should also be emptied completely or to less than a quarter. 
  • Disconnecting the battery: Accidental ignition or power drainage is possible if this section remains connected. Therefore, the battery should be disconnected and battery terminals should be covered.  
  • Securing loose parts: Loose parts like mirrors and flags should be secured. In some cases, complete removal is the best option. 
  • Covering the jet ski: Since the jet ski is traveling on an open deck trailer, it’s important to use a high-quality, weather-resistant cover to protect it from the elements. 

Taking these precautions will ensure jet ski shipping services can be completed as safely as possible. 

If you enjoy being in the water and want to upgrade your home, then check out our article on hot tub transportation to get one to your residence. 

Loading the Vehicle

Loading multiple jet skis onto a flatbed or another type of open deck trailer can be a little tricky. Hulls are rounded, so they must be lifted and secured to a flat surface with care. Fortunately, there are a few ways jet ski shipping companies overcome this challenge. 

Most flatbed and open deck trailers have a loading ramp. Using these will allow transportation providers to roll the jet skis onto the trailer using a dolly. Another option is to use a personal water craft (PWC) lift or a Davit Crane to hoist each jet ski onto a cradle. Once this is done, the vehicle can be lifted onto the trailer that will be used to transport it. 

Securing the Jet Ski

After jet skis have been loaded onto a trailer, they must be secured to keep them from moving around during pick up and delivery. Companies transporting jet skis use a few methods to keep these PWCs from moving during transit. 

This includes:

  • Applying quality straps and ropes
  • Using block and brace methods
  • Applying even tension
  • Checking movement

Quality straps and ropes are extremely important for securing jet ski transport. This equipment should be durable and capable of withstanding the rigors of transit. These straps and ropes are secured to solid points on the jet skis and trailer. 

Most PWCs have designated tie-down points and trailers have several spots where ropes and straps can be securely attached. Even tension should be applied to the jet skis to ensure there isn’t too much pressure on one part of it, especially along the bottom, which is more prone to damage. 

The final thing shipping companies do before beginning jet ski transport services is making sure the vehicle is secured properly. This is done by shaking the vehicle to ensure movement is minimal.     

Advantages of Jet Ski Transport On A Flatbed or Open Deck Trailer

Numerous trailers and containers can be used for jet ski transport. That said, open deck and flatbed trailers provide a variety of shipping advantages that other types of equipment can’t match. 

Easy Loading/Unloading

One of the key advantages of using a flatbed or other open deck trailers for jet ski shipping is the ease of loading and unloading. This saves time and reduces the risk of damage to jet skis during these critical phases of transport. 

Reasons why flatbeds are efficient for loading and unloading include:

  • Flat, open surface: The flat and open design of these trailers provides an unobstructed platform. This makes it much easier to move the jet skis on and off of the trailer.
  • Use of ramps: Flatbed and open deck trailers often come with ramps that facilitate smooth loading and unloading. These ramps are designed to handle heavy weights and provide a gradual incline, making it much safer and easier to move watercraft.
  • Reduced physical strain: The ease of moving jet skis on and off of these trailers reduces the physical strain on those doing the loading and unloading. This is especially important when handling heavy or multiple jet skis.
  • Flexibility in positioning: The open and spacious nature of flatbed or open deck trailers allows for greater flexibility in positioning the jet ski. This is beneficial when loading multiple jet skis or when specific positioning is required for balance and weight distribution.

Thanks to these advantages, flatbeds and other open deck trailers make loading and unloading jet skis a more efficient process. 


Another benefit of using flatbeds and open decks is the accessibility they provide. Unlike enclosed trailers, cargo can be loaded onto these from the rear, above, or on either side. Flatbeds don’t have to be parked at a dock for loading or unloading, either. 

Instead, they can be parked in any open area with plenty of space to maneuver. This opens up more loading and unloading area options for shippers and transportation providers.

Cargo Flexibility

Flatbeds and open deck trailers are more flexible in the cargo they’re able to carry. This is beneficial for shippers that need to move jet skis that come in various sizes. The open space of these trailers allow these vessels enough room to sit comfortably on the deck.  

Other benefits include:

  • Customizable loading configurations
  • Adaptable for additional equipment

The open design of these trailers allows for customizable loading configurations. Transportation companies can position jet skis side by side, in a row, or in any other arrangement that suits a shippers needs.

In some cases, owners of these PWCs may need additional equipment like crates, to give them extra protection. Thanks to the space afforded by flatbeds and open decks, shippers will still have the room required to move multiple jet skis. 

Multiple jet ski riders operating their vessels together

How Much Does It Cost To Ship Jet Skis?

Jet ski shipping costs can range anywhere between $200 and $2,000. Transportation expenses can vary based on the number of vessels that are being shipped and the distance the cargo will travel. 

Jet Ski Transport Costs

Short Distance (within 100 miles)$200 — $500
Medium Distance (100–500 miles)$500 — $1,000
Long Distance (500 miles)$1,000 — $2,000

Based On Industry Averages*

These costs are only for a single jet ski. When moving multiple of these PWCs, expenses will be even higher. 

Get Your Jet Skis Moving with Heavy Haul and Oversized

Jet ski transport doesn’t have to be a complex or stressful ordeal. To make this process easy on yourself and your business, choose Heavy Haul and Oversized to move your vessels for you. Our network of experienced flatbed transportation companies have the skills to move your PWC with the utmost care. 

Our carriers can move your jet skis with the following types of open deck trailers:

  • Removable Gooseneck Trailer Shipping (RGN): Ideal for heavy or oversized jet skis, offering easy loading and unloading.
  • Standard Flatbed Shipping: A versatile option for all types of jet skis, ensuring safe and secure transport.
  • Lowboy Trailer Shipping: Perfect for taller or larger jet skis, providing extra clearance and stability.

Let Heavy Haul and Oversized handle the logistics for your PWCs. Get started today by filling out your jet ski shipping quote. You can also call (866) 902-2713 for answers to any questions you might have about our services. 

Careful Planning for Heavy Haul Shipping 

Shipping heavy and oversized equipment requires careful planning and coordination. Submit your quote form today and see how our specialists carefully coordinate your shipment’s arrival.

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