Water Jetpacks: All your Questions Answered

Today I will be writing about an amazing product, the water jetpack. Think about everything that comes to mind when I mention a jetpack. About half of those things are true with the water jetpack. In this article I will answer some of the more common questions about water jetpacks and hopefully help you get a little further on your journey of renting or buying one. 

Do Water Jetpacks Actually Exist?

The short answer is YES, water jetpacks do exist and they are manufactured by a few different companies. The three main manufacturers of water jetpacks are:

  • X Jets
  • Zapata Racing
  • Jetlev

There are a few other off brand jetpacks but since your health is on the line I wouldn’t go with a generic jetpack that might not be of good quality. The last thing you need when you are 40-50 feet in the air is for your jetpack to fail because you bought a cheap off brand from a sketchy website. 

What Is A Water Jetpack?

A water jetpack is an accessory that is normally attached to a jet ski or other personal watercraft. There will be a hose that is run from craft to a jetpack that is attached to your back. 

The jetpack uses the craft’s engine power to suck water from the lake, river, or ocean and force it through the attached hose at a high rate of speed. The water flow speed and thereby the propulsion is controlled by a hand trigger that is held by the person using the jetpack. That hand trigger allows you to control the revving of the jet ski’s motor which will determine how high or how fast you move. 

What Are Water Jetpacks Called?

The term “water jetpack” is actually the proper name to call the item that is attached to a jet ski and your boat and uses water to propel you into the air. If the item is on your feet then it would be called a water hoverboard. If you sit on it and ride it while being propelled around then that is called a water bike or hydrobike. 

Often beginners will think that a water jetpack has a special name but it really doesn’t. The overall name for the sport is hydroflight (since you are flying using water) but that term covers hydrobikes, jetpacks, hoverboards, and even kneeboards. 

The most common name associated with the water jetpack is Jetlev but that is a water jetpack manufacture. That isn’t what all water jetpacks should be called. 

Who Invented The Water Jetpack?

There is some debate on the internet of who actually invented the water jetpack. If you were to google who invented the water jetpack you will come up with two names Raymond Li and Hermann Ramke. According to an article by the Telegraph in the UK Hemann Ramke is the inventor of the water jetpack but according to Wikipedia it is Raymond Li, so which is it? 

I did some digging online and the only clear answer came from the US Patent office. According to US Patents Raymond Li applied for a received a patent in March of 2005 for the water jetpack. You can read the entire patent filing here

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Based on that research it would appear that the original inventor of the water jet pack is… RAYMOND LI! Being that he holds the patent for the device in the US and filed for that patent in 2005 it is my belief based on these facts that the inventor of the water jetpack is Raymond Li and not Hemann Ramke as stated in other articles. 

How Does A Water Jetpack Work?

A water jetpack works by attaching to a jet ski or similar device. It is powered by the motor of that craft. The device attached to the jet ski pulls the water from the body of water it is in and propels it through the hose. When it is ejected from water jetpack the speed of the water propels the wearer upwards. 

The water jetpack must be used over a body of water for the device to pull water from as well as for the safety of the user as beginners and even professionals will often crash into the water. 

Water jetpacks are well known for their different tricks that they perform on the water including spins and even diving into the water before resurfacing and streaming into the air. 

Below is a video compilation of some of the cool tricks that can be done with a water jetpack

Awesome Water Jetpack - Compilation 2015

How High Can A Water Jetpack Go?

The height a water jetpack can go varies depending on the size of the craft that it is attached to and the length of the hose. There are many larger water jet backpacks that can go 50-75 feet high but the average one that you will rent or buy will go 30-35 feet high. 

If you are brand new to using a water jetpack it is always a good idea to start lower and slower as you begin to learn. As you become better at controlling the jetpack you can start maxing out your height and range. The last thing you want to do when you get on the water for the first time is to take it up to 30-40 feet, lose control and do a belly flop into the water!

How Much Does A Water Jetpack Cost?

The water jetpack kit that attaches to your personal craft will run $6,500-$7,00 depending on which model and manufacture you purchase from. That is the cost for the entire kit and includes everything you need to get going besides the jet ski. 

Prices for water jetpacks can vary depending on if you are just buying the kit that attaches to a personal watercraft, if you are buying a kit along with craft made specifically for water jetpacks, or if you just need the jetpack itself. 

It is normally cheaper to purchase the kit and attach it to a jet ski than it is to buy it as a unit as the units that include the water jetpack as well as the personal watercraft will run $25,000 to $30,000. 

How Much Does It Cost To Water Jetpack?

If you are just looking to water jetpack for the day rather than buying a system then you are in luck. There are many places in the US where you can rent a water jetpack for 30 minutes for $75-$150. 

That price will normally include a ten minute lesson and then 30 minutes of actual usage on the water. If you are planning to go to a specific area on vacation you can search for water jetpack rentals in that area and contact a few of them. 

The water jetpack rental prices and availability can vary so do some planning ahead when you are looking for a vacation spot if using a water jetpack is a must for your trip. 

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Are Water Jetpacks Safe?

As with anything they are as safe as you make them. You are required by law to wear a life jacket while using personal watercraft so drowning shouldn’t be a concern. The main safety issue when using a water jetpack or other similar products is falling from a height and hitting the water hard or diving into the water and hitting submerged debris that could injure or kill you. 

Always be sure and take proper precautions by checking the area for underwater debris, making sure you are only using the jetpack in an area where the water is deep and always wearing a life jacket. Taking those precautions should keep you from being seriously injured or killed. 

You can still get injured if you are at the max height of the jetpack and lose control or if you drop the hand trigger and suddenly lose all propulsion. Remembering that you are above water and diving into the water will help keep you from injuring yourself. 

There have been injuries reported including someone who lost a kidney because of a fall from a jetpack.  Source As with any sport, injuries can and will happen but taking proper precautions can help prevent them or decrease the likelihood of them happening. 

Are Water Jetpacks Powered?

Yes, water jetpacks require power to work. There are many kits that can be purchased online but they all require a watercraft of some sort to power the water jetpack. As of now there is no water jetpack that will work without some type of craft attached to it.

As technology advances we might eventually get to a time where jetpacks can be used for everyday travel but batteries would have to substantially decrease in size and weight while also putting out far more power than they currently are able to. Unfortunately we are probably a decade or two away from an Ironman type scenario from being possible. 

Are Water Jetpacks Easy To Use?

Water jetpacks do have a learning curve but using them is relatively easy to do. They are certainly easier to use than even driving a jet ski as the area where you would use a water jetpack won’t have other people or large boat traffic to watch out for making piloting the jetpack easier. 

Most water jetpack rental companies give you a ten to fifteen minute tutorial before letting you hit the water by yourself. Just because you have finished the tutorial doesn’t mean you will be an expert. Just like any new skill it will take time to learn the little things and also to become more comfortable. 

When I first started driving a car with a stick shift I was very nervous and was always looking down at the shifter to see what gear I was in or what gear I needed to go into next. After a couple of years I no longer had that issue and could get behind the wheel and go without hardly thinking about shifting. 

The same is true with using a water jetpack. The first time you use it you will be nervous and will probably mess up quite a few times but the more that you do it the easier it will become. 

How Old Do You Have To Be To Use A Water Jetpack?

Many states have created or are in the process of creating laws related to water jetpacks and related vehicles. Assuming those states put the same requirements on water jetpacks as they do on piloting boats then the minimum age for piloting a jetpack will be 13-16 in most states. 

Some rental companies allow tandem rides with children as young as five years old but that can vary by states because of the current laws. 

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Before planning a day of water jetpacking be sure and contact the place where you are renting from or the local municipality and ask for the specific rules in the area that you are in. Taking a few minutes to call is far cheaper than getting a ticket or having your craft impounded for improper use. 

Where Can I Ride A Water Jetpack?

Each state has different laws on where you can use a water jetpack. Often the rules require you to be a certain number of feet away from a building, bridge, etc. but some towns have even restricted what hours that a jetpack can be used. 

If you are renting from a reputable company they will know the rules and restrictions for that area and will make sure that you abide by them. Often they will have certified personnel on the jet ski to make sure that all the rules are being followed and to help keep the users safe. 

If you own a water jetpack or are looking to purchase one for your jet ski make sure to follow all applicable laws. Even if there are no specific laws in your area it is always a good idea to make sure the water you are in is VERY deep and that there is no debris underwater that you could hit in the event of a fast drop. 

How To Use A Water Jetpack?

Before buying a water jetpack for your jet ski or watercraft I would recommend renting it a few times and learning how to use it. If you purchase it from a manufacturer’s website then you will get a lot more support than if you buy it from a third party platform. 

To use a water jetpack you will need to:

  • Purchase the kit
  • Attach the kit to your jet ski. 

This can be a long involved process depending on which kit you purchase so be sure and get it ready before you hit the water. You don’t want to ruin your entire day trying to attach the kit to your craft. 

  • Attach the jetpack to the hose

Attaching the jetpack to the hose will normally be done once your jet ski is in the water. It can be done while on land but is easier to do once your craft has been launched. 

  • Adjust the straps and arm lengths to your size/height

Most jetpacks will be adjustable in a few different ways so be sure it is adjusted to fit your height and weight before you hit the water. 

  • Get strapped in and get going!

The best part of setup is being done! If you are renting a water jetpack then the setup should be done for you but if you own the jetpack you will have to do it yourself. 

There are many youtube videos about how to connect the jetpack to your jet ski as well as how to adjust the straps etc. on each model. Watch them carefully when you are planning to hook yours up for the first time. 

That wraps up this article of the most often asked questions about a water jetpack. I hope it has been helpful to you whether you are renting or buying one. Whatever you do always make sure to stay safe and take proper precautions to keep all of your friends and family safe as well. 

As always, 

Happy Boating

Matthew Robbs

I love the outdoors and especially spending time with my family. Whether on a boat or at the beach, my happy place is near the water.

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