Last weekend, we broke our jet ski out after four years of sitting in storage. It was time to take it out on the water and have a little fun.
T Minus One Week
When we were dating, there wasn’t much prep if we wanted to take the jet ski out. We’d hook up the trailer, throw the life jackets in the backseat of the vehicle, and be on our way. Life now with kids takes more planning.
Anna and I were making plans to jet ski a week out, so I grabbed the jet ski battery from the basement, threw it on the charger, and placed it in the jet ski the next day. I received zero response from the jet ski after I tried turning it on.
So, I went to the dealership and had them test the battery with my fingers crossed that it was just the battery and not a larger problem. The battery was indeed absolutely worthless, so I ended up purchasing a new one. What really burns isn’t that it cost $110 for a new battery, but that the battery that was dead had never been used. I had bought that battery 3 years earlier and had never been out on the water with it. Strike two.
After installing the new battery and testing the engine to make sure it turned on, I thought I was good to go. When Friday came, I dug out all of the bikes, kids’ toys, grill, and other items that surrounded the jet ski in the back of the garage. I was struggling to roll the jet ski trailer when I noticed that one of the tires was flat. I filled up the tire, hooked the trailer to the vehicle, and double-checked the lights. All systems go.
Not So Fast
Once we got to the lake, we were excited. It was a long time coming. Our previous two attempts to take the jet ski out after having kids were thwarted. The first time was due to flooding, and the second time was because of a bad battery.
We’d sent our usual sunscreen with Jude and Adelaide to my parents’ house, so we scrounged up some of last year’s mineral based sunscreen. It quickly became evident why we had buried it in the back of the linen closet. Anna and I began looking at each other as we were applying the sunscreen, and we were both turning a nice shade of pasty white cream. Think toothpaste. And the sunscreen would not rub in at all. We laughed it off and prepared to launch the boat into the water.
As we idled our way past the buoys, we enjoyed the sun in our faces and the beauty of the lake. We even came prepared to snap a few pictures while on the lake. I had purchased Mpow Floating Waterproof Cases for our iPhones in case of an emergency. These cases not only protect your phone from water, but they float in the water, too, in case you drop your phone. The best part is that you can still use your phone while it’s in the case.
As we passed the buoys and prepared to open the throttle, I felt the jet ski stutter. I tried again and only reached 5 mph. I knew we needed to get back to the dock. I tried to turn around, and it died. We were stuck.
We tried a few more times to start it back up without any luck, we waited for other boats and jet skis in the area to pass by and wave them down for help. It was clear that jet skiing wasn’t happening today after all.
We eventually flagged down a nice couple and their daughter who offered to tow us back to the dock using their boat. Turns out that there were four other watercraft on the lake that day that were having engine issues. It just wasn’t anyone’s day.
The Walk of Shame
Once we were back at the dock, I had to walk past the DNR officer who had watched us launch the jet ski just minutes earlier. As I was walking, a random friendly person in the parking lot called me Casper. Thanks, sunscreen. At least Anna got a good laugh out of it.
At that point I was determined to do three things:
- Go home, take a shower, and scrub off the nasty sunscreen.
- Drop the jet ski off to get fixed.
- Go out to eat with Anna and salvage our afternoon plan of having fun.
Beer and Burgers to the Rescue
We ended up going to one of our favorite restaurants in the Cedar Valley, Single Speed Brewery. We enjoyed some great food and beer and reminisced about all of our failed attempts to take the jet ski out – and we felt better. It started raining in sheets after we got our food, so we were happy to be inside and together.
We’re waiting to hear from the mechanic about a diagnosis for the jet ski. Jude was so worried about the jet ski when we told him what happened. “What’s wrong with the jet ski? When will it be fixed? How did it break? Can I see the place in the garage where it usually sits?!” He wanted to help and grabbed his phone to start making calls.
Anna wants to sell the jet ski and has for a while. While she might be right, I am not ready to sell quite yet. After nine years of owning it, we only have 30 hours on it, which is an average of 3.33 hours a year. It’s not even broken in yet.
Have you had similar experiences? If so, I’d love you hear about it in the comments below.