Jet skiing is one of the most popular water activities for people who love to visit the oceans and seas. It may just seem like a very exhilarating yet harmless sport, but did you also know that doing too much of this has certain negative side effects to the environment?

Yes, you heard that right. Jet skiing can actually hurt the planet in more ways than one. If no regulated it can greatly pollute our waters and kill numerous marine life. In this post, you will learn about the hidden environmental impacts of this well-beloved water excursion.

1. Causes High Amount of Pollution


Noise Pollution Causes Harm to Ears
Noise Pollution Causes Harm to Ears

According to an article posted on The University of Vermont, personal watercrafts like a jet ski greatly contributes to the contamination of our seas. That is because most watercraft uses two stroke engines that pour out gallons of unburned fuel annually. Two stroke engines oftentimes fail to combust 20 to 25 percent of its fuel sources so raw fuel is secreted on the waters. If the watercraft suddenly malfunctions in the middle of the sea, it might even spew out more fuel.

2. Collapse of Aquatic Life

When the water becomes too much contaminated with raw fuel, aquatic organisms like plankton absorb the chemicals. When that happens, it will cause these organisms to be extremely sensitive to light. This incident is called phototoxicity. Too much exposure to sunlight will kill them and the entire aquatic food chain will be in a state of unbalance. A study conducted by Saco-Alvarez et al noted that these are some of the marine life that are greatly affected by photo toxicity:

  • Mussels
  • Sea urchins
  • Copepods
  • Specific varieties of fish species

3. Noise Pollution

Even the roaring sound of a jet ski can greatly contribute to the destruction of marine life. According to an article that was posted on the Minnesota Sea Grant, personal watercrafts and motorboats can

Water Pollution
Gas from engines causes pollution

produce sound levels that are 80 – 100 decibels high. For most human beings, this is already considered as too loud and noisy.

Another article from Marine Insight noted that sound travels four times faster in water than in air. It also travels farther underwater. In addition, the sound is greatly amplified. The Jet Ski traffic in certain areas produces the following problems for aquatic life:

  • It drowns out the sound of other aquatic animals. Certain marine species like dolphins and whales uses sound waves to communicate with each other. They usually reach out using very low frequencies, somewhere below 1000 Hertz. Because of too much noise pollution, the underwater mammals who depend on these low frequencies cannot hear each other out. Because of that, they tend to stray away from their migration paths and also prevent them from responding to mating calls.
  • They easily get scared with alien sounds. If these aquatic animals hear loud noises that they are not familiar with, their behavior changes. They change their diving routes and migration areas. They also tend to swim away from the sea and beach themselves on the shore. If they cannot go back immediately underwater, they will die.
  • Can cause damage to their internal organs.
  • Hemorrhages.
  • Several fish species like the rock fish, herring, or cod can experience extensive ear damage.

4. Accidentally Hurt other Creatures

Some marine species such as sea turtles usually resurface above water to breathe in air. When people drive their personal watercraft recklessly, they can accidentally hit these creatures. The impact of their watercraft’s body can cause a sea turtle’s shell to crack or break. Shell injuries are oftentimes life threatening and very deadly. Keep in mind to always follow speed limits and safety regulations when operating this vehicle.

5. Broken Parts are Dangerous for Fish

When your watercrafts get destroyed and sink in the middle of the sea, it can also cause grave harm to the animals living there. Small parts like cogs and gears might be mistaken for food. These aquatic species do not have the right digestive juices to dissolve metal. It might get stuck inside them and affect their eating patterns. Plastic parts are also dangerous because they contain toxic components. It is important that jet ski owners maintain their watercrafts properly and follow safety regulations so that they won’t experience problems when driving in the water.


Riding along the ocean waves with your cool jet ski is a very fun activity. However, keep in mind that we have a responsibility to the planet. You can still use your watercrafts as long as you do not do it too often and you follow safety laws in your area. In addition, always be mindful of your surroundings. Do your little share in promoting a clean environment by not throwing waste on the ocean or fishing for endangered aquatic species.

Do you know other water sports that are fun yet very safe for the environment? Feel free to share your ideas and knowledge in the comments section below. 

Environmental Impacts of Jet Skiing