What Is the Difference Between Jet Ski and WaveRunner?

Jet Skis and WaveRunners are both types of personal watercraft, with Jet Skis manufactured by the Kawasaki Motors Corporation and WaveRunners made by the Yamaha Motor Corporation. Together with Ski-Doo, which is manufactured by Bombadier Recreational Products, they represent the vast majority of personal watercraft in use in the U.S. Many people use the trademarked terms “Jet Ski,” “WaveRunner” and “Ski-Doo” interchangeably even when technically referring to a watercraft of a different brand.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, personal watercraft are jet boats that are shorter than 13 feet long. Most personal watercraft are designed for use by one or two people and usually have seats. They are easy to steer, highly maneuverable and typically simple to use without training. Because they are powered by jet pumps and therefore have no external propeller, personal watercraft are safer than traditional motorboats or jet boats; they are often used as rescue vehicles for this reason. While Jet Skis and WaveRunners share most common personal watercraft features, there are a few small differences. Jet Skis typically hold more fuel than do WaveRunners and also offer a small amount of personal storage aboard the vessel. Because of these minor differences, WaveRunners are typically somewhat less expensive than Jet Skis.