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Things I learned owning a Jet boat

Things I learned owning a Jet boat

Owning a boat is a lot of work. The truth is you'll spend more time troubleshooting and fixing it then you will riding in it. It still can be a lot of fun and you'll learn a lot. Here's what I've learned so far.
I’ve had an older 2002 Yamaha LX2000 for about 2 years now. I’ve never owned a boat before and am handy but not mechanical. These are the things I’ve learned and wish I had known up front. Most of these things apply to all Jet boats .

Fuel usage

I had no idea how much fuel a jet boat uses until I purchased one. My boat has two engines and a 40 gallon fuel tank. If I’m pulling kids I can go through the entire tank in less than 5 hours. I swear I get about a gallon per mile.
Fuel is a lot cheaper from a regular gas station than a station on the water. It costs about twice as much so refuel it before you go. If you live on the water buy a bunch of 5 gallon .

Stuck tow ropes

Eventually you will get a tow rope in your boat. If you are out and there’s a slight chance you got a tow rope stuck, stop trying to start the engine immediately and check. I didn’t realize it and had to replace both the starter and starter replay (after hours and hours of diagnosing). Also the heat from trying to start melted my battery terminal and so the batter had to be replaced.

Returning on a single engine.

If you can’t get the rope out and have a duel engine like my boat you can still drive with one engine. Make sure you drive EXTREMELY slow. After I got back I read that driving on one engine can cause water to get sucked up the other engine and cause it to seize which requires an engine replacement.

Getting rope out.

Make sure you have a knife and pliers on the boat to help get the rope out. You can accesses it via the clean out ports. See the clean out ports section below for help with that.

Stuck seaweed

Seaweed is a little different than a tow rope in that your engine will still start and seem to work at lower RPM. When you rev up higher, it won’t be able to suck up enough water and just sort of sputter. To get sea weed out you can either open the clean out ports or put it out from underneath the back of the boat. In my boat, I could barely reach it if I got in the water and reached under the boat.

Clean out ports

In the back of the boat under the clean out hatch there are two clean out ports. If something like a rope or sea weed gets stuck these holes are the only way to get it out. The holes are each covered by a clean out plug


There’s a button on each clean out plug you press till it clicks and then pull them straight up to get them out. If you haven’t opened them in a while they can be IMPOSSIBLE to get out. Don’t use a crow bar or hammer to get them out or your will wreck them like I did and they are around $300 for a new one. The best way to do so is to tie a rope around the plug handle and to a bat or stick and pull straight up. You can also sit on the back of the boat and put the pole on your thighs and go up on your toes while you also curl it. Make sure you store the bat and rope in your boat so you have it on the water


Make sure you pull them up every so often to prevent them from getting stuck. To make them easier to get off in the future, replace the rubber using a . The rubber expands and gets distorted over time and the $50 kit is worth it. Also lube the plug up with some to make it even easier.

Jet Engine wont start

Inevitably you will pack everyone up on the boat and then it won’t start. A pro tip is to first try and start it before your have an audience to witness your panic. There two types of not starting, 1) it makes a loud sound or crank but the engine won’t ignite or 2) it doesn’t make a sound or just a light clicking noise. I can’t remember which of these applies to which sorry so just try them all :)
Lanyard: Make sure the by the driver's seat is plugged in and holding the knob out. Note your can just get it on the end of the know without it pulled out which won’t start.
Neutral: Make sure the throttle is in neutral or it won’t start.
Clean out port switch: Inside the clean out hatch in the back of the boat, you’ll see two black buttons. The hatch needs to be completely closed and these pressed for the boat to start. If you’ve been working back there sometimes the hatch can get dented. The best thing to do is tape a couple quarters to the underneath of the hatch so that the buttons are fully pressed.
Battery: Make sure the batter is completely full to start your boat. It’s worth getting a with gauge to check. I always unplug my battery after each use to prevent it from draining.
Fuses: In my boat there is a fuse on each engine and one for the accessories. The fuses are located inside something that looks like a gas cap near the back of each engine and another one located on the accessory wires near the battery. Open them up and if the wire in the class is black or disconnected it means you need a new one. It’s best to keep in the boat.
Wiring & starter: You can check if there are any issues with the starter or wires from the batter to the starter by effectively hot wiring it. To do this you attach jumper cables directly from the battery to the starter. The starter on my boat is located under the engine and was really hard to access. If it starts via this method the starter is fine but the starter relay may have issues.
Starter Relay: If you hot wired it and it cranks then the starter replay may be hosed. This is located in the electrical box behind the engine. To test remove the red wire connected to it and put an electrical meter on the red knob and try to start the engine. If it didn’t register current then you need to replace it. To do so disconnect the remaining 2 black wires and ground and then pull out with fingers.
Seized engine: To know if you are completely fucked you can check to see if the engine is seized by manually turning the engine. To make it easier, first take off the spark plugs to alleviate some of the pressure. To turn my engine, I needed to reach back behind the engine and underneath. There I could just manually spin it with my hand. The location to do this may be different in different engines and may require a wrench to do so. If you can’t spin it, it may mean that your engine has seized and may need to be replaced. Take it to a mechanic.

Replacing starter & starter relay

Due to trying too many times to start the engine with a tow rope stuck and not realizing it I had to replace both the starter and starter relay.

Diagnosing starter

Narrowing it down to the starter was easy because one engine worked fine and the other would click but wouldn’t crank when trying to start. I also checked to see if it was seized by trying to manually crank engine. To diagnose between the starter and starter replay run power using a jumper cable directly from the battery to the positive knob on the starter. It should start without a key. If it does that means the starter is ok but you should look into the starter relay.

Replacing starter

On my boat the starter was located under the engine (on right side) and was very hard to get too. There’s 2 bolts on the starter that need to be connected as well and unhooking the positive power line. It was very difficult to pull out. You basically have to just keep pulling and wiggling it till it slides out. It can help to get into the engine area and squat between the two engines so you can get more leverage.
After I got it out you could immediately smell the burnt smell so I was positive it needed to be replaced. I ordered a new one from
<work in progress>
Diagnosing starter relay


Fuel & stabilizer: First put in the and then top off your gas tank.
Antifreeze: Run through your engine by attaching it to the hose attachments using a . You may need an to get it to attach to your boat.
Detach battery: To avoid your battering not working in the spring unhook both the positive and negative connectors.
Fogging oil. If your in a colder climate spay some into the air intake under the air filter.
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