It’s February in West Michigan. The days are getting longer, and spring is right around the corner. That means that people all along the lakeshore are preparing for the fun that comes with warmer weather and the start of the personal watercraft season. Here are some frequently asked questions from first-time buyers.

Is there a particular season where the purchase of personal watercraft (PWC) is more common?

When it comes to purchasing a PWC in West Michigan there are a few different times and reasons to buy. 

Peak Season 

  • The peak purchasing season lasts from late winter to early spring (February-June). This is the time to buy. Dealer inventory is at its peak, and there are great promotions due to dealer boat shows in February and March. It’s important to buy your boat at this time to ensure you’ll get exactly what you want. Otherwise, you’ll be waiting to get what you want next year.

Mid Season

  • Mid-season is also the peak riding season in West Michigan (July–Sept). At this time, PWC availability begins to wane as hot current model year inventory is purchased. Replenishment for current model-year inventory slows as manufacturers focus their efforts on new model-year inventory.

End of Season

  • As soon as summer ends and riding conditions diminish, sales and inventory begin to slowly decline as both retailers and manufacturers prepare for the upcoming model year. This is the time to get ahead of next year’s riding season. New model-year inventory is typically available for pre-order at this time. We recommend that our customers order what they want at this time to ensure they get exactly what they want for the upcoming season. Pricing typically holds throughout the year and doesn't fluctuate. There can be some benefits to purchasing near the end of the riding season and model year, but not necessarily.


What qualities are most commonly desired in a personal watercraft? 

This is a broad question. We like to ask, "What are you going to use it for?" as features and benefits differ from person to person. Of course, you are looking to have fun. What kind of fun? Are you looking to go fast and rip around the water? Do you need to tow a tube or a skier behind it? Are you using it for fishing? Most customers just want to go fast and have fun. So most people generally inquire about how much speed or horsepower a PWC has. If you are looking for a PWC with more speed, we recommend looking at the Kawasaki brand or a PWC with a supercharger. If you want more maneuverability and agility, a Yamaha will probably be the PWC for you. Otherwise, other features and options boil down to personal preferences and use.

What are some go-to recommendations you give customers regarding personal watercraft?

Again, we go back to what we touched on in the previous question: "What are you looking to do with it?" We recommend looking at the Kawasaki brand or a PWC with a supercharger if you want speed. If you want more maneuverability and agility, get a Yamaha. We always advise you to ride in the recommended or suggested attire and gear. This information can be located in each PWC's owner's manual. This includes proper swimwear, a life jacket, and, depending on the craft, a helmet, as well as all required safety equipment to be kept onboard at all times, as well as adhering to all state laws and regulations when owning and operating a PWC. To keep your PWC in peak operating order, you'll want to follow all maintenance and service intervals as suggested in your owner's manual. Proper storage and winterization are also highly recommended and important for PWC owners in West Michigan. Improper storage and winterization result in hefty service and repair costs. Babbitt's offers service, winterization, and storage options for all their consumers.

If you’re curious about purchasing your very first personal watercraft, we invite you to visit our Babbitt’s Sports Center showroom at 3712 Airline Rd. Muskegon, MI 49442, or come see us this coming week at the Grand Rapids Boat Show, at the Devos Place in Grand Rapids, MI, February 15th–19th. We’ll have a wide variety of MY23 Yamaha and Kawasaki PWCs available for purchase and viewing. Have any questions? Reach out! We’d love to hear from you.