Importing Jet Skis – The good, the bad and the ugly!

Jet Ski Club

Importing Jet Skis into Australia – The good, the bad and the ugly - and some tricky questions!?!

Background Information

Today we live in a Global Economy and buy and sell in a Global Shopping Mall called the internet.

The Motor industry has been accepting of this for years now and has made many adjustments to remain competitive. This competition has proven to be a great benefit for consumers.

Back a few years ago the Jet Ski Industry wasn’t quite as advanced and the distributers were rolling the dice on the numbers game. Keeping the price high and making those few extra dollars per unit, of Skis sold.
Naturally Skis were imported and people saved thousands of dollars on them.
These days each of the distributors (say 3 of them) move around 2,000 units (6000 approx) into Australia each year each.
If they’re making say $2000 on each that’s $2000 x 6000 units that’s $12,000,000.00 This is not going to be given away without a fight, fair or otherwise.

Now in recent years the process to import a Jet Ski has become extremely easy with very few down sides. This has put pressure on the Watercraft distributers to keep the margin down a little to allow their dealers to remain relevant.

The Jet Ski Industry has also seen a plethora of independent workshops arrive in the last few years. This is due to the readily available diagnostic equipment which can interface with the ECU of all the Ski to reset codes etc. Previously only a Dealer could do this. The result is that getting someone to maintain and fix your imported Ski is easy and competitive. Most Dealers do imported Skis now to remain relevant and retain the workshop business.

We have also seen specialist import dealers pop up. They operate almost exactly like a traditional dealer (who operates under the watercraft Distributors/man in the middle as such).

I get asked all the time is it OK to import or buy an imported Jet Ski so I thought I’d clarify a few points to consider.

Firstly here’s the Importing Process to Australia.

1. Send an email to a Dealer and settle on a price shipped. You find them via Google.
2. Pay for the Ski and the shipping ($1-1.5K) Insure for Piracy, transit damage and lost at sea if you can.
3. The Dealer will ship the Ski the way it arrives at the Dealership from its country of origin - In a crate. The crate goes onto a Truck gets taken to a ship yard, Fork lifted off the Truck into a container. Container goes onto a Ship. Ship sails to the destination.
4. Container is unloaded in Australia. Customs then require a payment of 10% from your purchase receipt for GST.
5. The Crate with the Ski is released and a Forklift puts it on a truck.
6. The Truck drops it at your premises. You Forklift it off the Truck. You De-crate the Ski and lift it onto a Trailer you have purchased in Australia..
7. Pre Deliver the Ski. This usually means handlebars, oil battery etc.
8. Take the details and register the Ski (sometimes you do this while it’s in transit as you have the details) and stick on the compliance information.
9. Insure the Ski
10. Place an aftermarket warranty on the Ski (See Warranty)
11. Run it in. Ride it and have some fun ?.
12. Service it. (See service providers)

What about the Jet Skis

Is it the same Jet Ski?
Absolutely yes, it’s the same Ski. Sometimes it has different stickers on it. Sometimes there is a slightly different tune in the ecu ( to comply with the USA regulations) and occasionally the colour is different too.
However usually it is impossible to tell them apart.

Can I get parts?
Absolutely yes. I order OEM parts online Monday and have them by Thursday in most cases.

Warranty - Is the warranty the same?

The Skis carry a different warranty on different Continents. In Australia a Ski may have 3 years warranty, to remain competitive against another brand.
The same Ski purchased in the USA may only have 2 years warranty.

This needs to be taken into account when importing. For example if you buy a Ski in the USA and bring it to Australia and the motor blows up you have a USA warranty not an Australian warranty.
It’s very important to note that in Australia the warranty is usually implied as a return to Dealer warranty from the country of origin. This is an extremely grey area though.

For example if I buy a Ski in the USA under a 2 year warranty and bring it to Australia where in 6 months the engine blows up, given we are operating in a global economy, shouldn’t the manufacturer still cover it? Probably, yes.

I have seen a manufacturer cover a Ski under similar conditions. However if the manufacturer insist on a return to base then you could of course put the Motor on a ship or plane back to the dealer. I have seen this too.

Lets reverse it then. I buy a Ski in Australia with 3 years warranty and take it to the USA for a holiday. While there it breaks down. Should it be covered by the manufacturer? Yes it should of course. But will it be?

Realistically , It’s only a matter of time before we begin taking our skis on holidays as some do with their campervans, Boats and Motor Bikes. Up North they do ride Skis from Australia to New Guinea already btw.

In Europe they ride their Skis to other countries, drive their Cars to other countries, sail their Boats to other countries and ride their Motor Bikes to other countries.

If their machinery breaks down guess what? There is no mention of “Oh, you brought your Ducati in France so we can’t fix it under warranty in Germany” or You brought your BMW in the UK so we can’t fix it under warranty in Italy. Can you imagine the manufacturers trying this on if you break down on a Sunday drive?

How about you brought your Boat in the USA so we don’t fix it under warranty in Europe form Sunseeker yachts!

Are we being bluffed about all this implied warranty conditions? Are we being mislead and discriminated against based on distance? Should our consumer laws apply more pressure on the distributors to stand by the brand given how much they earn from Australians?

Nevertheless, More importantly the last thing you want to do is be worrying about a warranty and the ACCC when the Ski needs to go for a ride ?

So for now, your warranty options are as follows;

1. Do nothing. Cross your fingers and prepare to dig deep should a rod make its way through the block. I have seen this happen on new Skis unfortunately.
2. Take out an aftermarket warranty policy. They are available from Jet Ski Services and give you cover to match the manufacturer’s warranty.
3. Buy the imported Jet Ski from a specialist importing dealer who will provide you with a shop warranty.

Before you decide consider the following potential warranty hazards……………….

Make sure any warranty you rely on has;

1. Clearly defined terms and conditions allowing for a choice of repairer.
2. States an authority to service at a choice of workshops. Servicing can range from $400 to $1200 or more and quality varies so you need to ensure a choice.
3. Defined service schedules within reason. No one can service every 20 hours given how far our adventure riding takes us these days. Nor is it necessary (unless racing).
4. It’s imperative that the warranty is in writing and remains with the Ski should you decide to sell it. This will overcome buyers objecting to an imported Jet Ski and therefore maintains your Skis value.

If you decide to sell and the warranty doesn’t stay with the Ski it will be worth thousands less as all potential buyers will “allow” for problems in the purchase price they offer for it.

Further info: Your Rights.

The ACCC states that the international seller must comply with Australian Consumer laws. However they have little or no power to enforce this.
Read more here:

This requires a stronger focus from our law makers, the people we trust to make decisions on our behalf. Especially given what is already considered standard to buyers in countries where crossing the border is more frequent.

In summary

I may sound like I’m all for importing however this is not the case at all.

I have written this as a reference to bury the myths for the hundreds of people who ask me about it every year. Everyone needs to make their own decision based on fact and on what suits them best.

I think the manufacturers distributers here provide a terrific support network of dealers. They deserve us to support them in return.

They, like all of us are entitled to earn a dollar for a day’s work and a bit on top for the risk of business, the jobs they provide, the tax they pay and the investment involved.

They’re Australian and there’s a good enough reason alone.

Currently the dollar value and the realistic pricing structure from the Dealers makes it ridiculous to import anyway unless you’re bringing in container loads.

While the market remains fair I will always buy local cs


Active Member
Great post
That is the best piece of advice I have written about imported skis from someone who has 2 imported skies and has done a lot of worrying about them
Thanks Mandy