Does Salt Water Hurt Yamaha WaveRunners?

by Will Charpentier
The WaveRunner can operate in any waters, including those at the beach.

The WaveRunner can operate in any waters, including those at the beach.

Not only is the Yamaha WaveRunner capable of extreme maneuvers on the water, it is designed to make these maneuvers in any waters. Not all of the personal watercraft you see at the beach are Yamaha WaveRunners, but all of the WaveRunners you see at the beach are operating in a corrosive environment: salt water. The secret to operating a WaveRunner in salt water lies in following the directions in the Yamaha Owner's Manual.

Water is Water

Water is water, as far as the water-jet propulsion system is concerned. It will suck it in, compress it and pump it out. The problem is, salt water is corrosive if left in place. That means that flushing and cleaning the WaveRunner is critical for riders who operate in salt water. Follow the directions in the owner's manual to keep your WaveRunner running whether you use it in the fresh water of lakes and rivers, or in the salt water of the ocean.

Flushing the Cooling System

The cooling system of a powered watercraft is either a closed system, like that of an automobile engine, with a radiator -- called a "keel cooler" -- or open, drawing its cooling water for the water you're boating in and spitting it back out, like an outboard motor. The Waverunner pulls its cooling water in from the water around it, salt or fresh, using the jet pump that powers it through the water. The WaveRunner owner's manual lists the step-by-step procedure for flushing the system to "prevent it from clogging with salt, sand or dirt."

Exterior Cleaning

You keep your car clean inside and out; do the same with your WaveRunner. After you operate in salt water, give the outside a heavy rinse with fresh water. This not only cleans any mud or sand from the outside of the vessel, it also removes the salts from the salt water that linger on the WaveRunners surface. The owner's manual directs washing down "the handle bars, the hull and the jet unit with fresh water."

Draining the Hull

Salt water won't damage the plastic of the hull or the metal used in engine in the short term, but the salts in salt water are corrosive if left in place long enough.The seal between the seats and the hull of the WaveRunner is not absolutely watertight. It is inevitable that water will end up inside the hull. You may see riders at the beach pull at the rear of their WaveRunners, then move around and lift the front of their machines. They're not showing off -- they're using gravity to drain the salt water from the hull, as directed in the owner's manual.

References

  • Yamaha 2007 WaveRunner Owner's Operator's Manual - FX Hight Output/FX Cruiser High Output, USA Edition, LIT-18626-06-87 F1X-F8199-11; Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA

About the Author

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.

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