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How Full Should You Fill the Fuel Tank on a PWC

March 3, 2024 | Victor Lukasso

How full should you fill the PWC (Personal Watercraft) tank? This question is common among people who use recreational water vehicles known as Jet Skis.

Like other automobiles, PWCs run on gasoline and have a fuel tank that must be filled regularly. But how full should you fill the fuel tank on a PWC?

Refueling a personal Watercraft might sound simple, but I can boldly tell you that doing it wrong can be chaotic or affect your driving experience.

For a better driving experience, it’s advised that the fuel in your PWC gas tank should not exceed 90% to create space for expansion and gas vaporization.


In this article. We’ll further discuss why the fuel in your boat gas tank should not exceed 90% capacity and factors to consider while refueling your Jet Ski.

How full should you fill the fuel tank on a PWC?

After much consideration, marine engineers have advised that the gas tank of your PWC should never be filled but never stated how full the gas tank should be, and that’s what we’ll discuss in this section.

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So, how full should you fill the fuel tank on your PWC? Gasoline expands when it heats up, and if your tank is full, there’s nowhere for the fuel to expand into. This can cause pressure in the tank, leading to leaks, explosions, and other issues. Filling your tank only to about 90% capacity is recommended to prevent this, leaving enough room for the fuel to expand.

Ensuring all air vents and valves leading to the gas tank are open before fueling is essential. Once finished, be sure to replace the gas cap tightly to prevent any leaks or spills.

In addition, other factors might come into play to determine how full your PWC’s fuel tank should be, including the make and model of your PWC, the type of ride you’re planning, and the weight of the gas tank.

Here’s what you need to know to decide on fueling your PWC.

The type of ride you’re Planning

One factor to consider when refueling your PWC is the distance of the ride you’re about to embark on. If you’re going for a long ride, such as a Jet Ski fishing trip or excursion, you may need to fill your tank up to 90% capacity to avoid running out of fuel in the middle of your trip.

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However, if you’re taking your Jet Ski for a short trip, you may not need to fill up your tank. Filling up halfway or less may be sufficient for your needs.

Size of your PWC Fuel Tank

Most models have a fuel capacity of around 50 to 60 gallons, varying depending on the make and model.

It’s essential to know the exact fuel capacity of your PWC so that you can plan your refueling needs accordingly.

The Weight of the Fuel Tank

I’d also like to bring to your notice that the weight of the fuel in your tank can affect the stability and maneuverability of your PWC because it’ll cause the craft to sit lower in the water, which can impact its performance.

If you plan to carry additional weight, such as passengers or gear, you may consider filling your tank only partway to offset the added weight. Alternatively, you may want to plan for additional fuel stops along your route to keep your tank weight to a minimum.

How should you fuel a PWC?

Fuels are highly flammable and can also threaten health if the spill gets into water consumed by humans or animals.

Here’s a proper method to fuel a PWC by yourself.

  1. Make sure everyone is off the PWC and the engine is turned off
  2. If you’re refueling on the water, ensure that the boat is adequately secured to a dock
  3. Find and open the gas tank
  4. Insert the gas nozzle into the filler neck to fill up the tank (do this slowly to avoid spillage)
  5. Ensure the gas tank is filled, then wait some minutes before removing the nozzle.
  6. Reinstate the fuel cap and tighten it correctly.
  7. Wipe off any fuel deposit from the deck with a neat rag.
  8. Lastly, you might consider removing the seat to ventilate the engine.
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Finally, always ensure you’re using the correct fuel type for your craft, and follow all safety guidelines for fueling and handling gasoline.


Should I keep my boat gas tank full?

Filling your tank only to about 90% capacity is recommended to allow room for fuel expansion.

Why should a gas tank never be filled?

Overfilling the gas tank of an automobile could result in spillage, reduced stability, and explosion.

Is it OK to put regular gas in a boat?

Yes, it’s perfectly OK to use regular gas on a boat. However, you may also consider using ethanol-blended fuels or other eco-friendly alternatives. These fuels are designed to burn cleaner and emit fewer pollutants, making them a better environmental choice.


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Meet Victor Lukasso, the owner of V. Auto Basics. Through this blog, Victor Provides Insights on the latest tips, maintenance, repair, and techniques in the automotive world.