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Articles / Workshop / Jetskis in Transition: The Global Shift from Two-Stroke to Four-Stroke Engines

Jetskis in Transition: The Global Shift from Two-Stroke to Four-Stroke Engines

19 May 2024
Article  Jetskis in Transition: The Global Shift from Two-Stroke to Four-Stroke Engines

The Environmental Impact of Two-Stroke Jetskis

The phasing out of two-stroke engines in jetskis is a significant environmental move driven by the need to reduce emissions. Two-stroke engines, known for their high emissions and inefficiency, have been widely used since the 1970s. However, many countries and states are now imposing bans on their use, promoting the transition to four-stroke engines, which are more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Why Two-Stroke Engines Are Being Phased Out

Two-stroke engines have long been favored for their simplicity and power-to-weight ratio, making them popular in personal watercraft like jetskis. However, they are also notorious for their high emissions. Unlike four-stroke engines, which complete four separate strokes in their operating cycle, two-stroke engines complete their cycle in just two strokes. This design leads to incomplete combustion of fuel, resulting in higher emissions of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and other pollutants.

The environmental impact of these emissions is significant. Two-stroke engines can discharge up to 25-30% of their fuel unburned into the water and air, contributing to air and water pollution. This pollution can harm aquatic life, degrade water quality, and contribute to the formation of smog and other air quality issues. Consequently, regulatory bodies around the world have been moving to restrict or ban the use of these engines in favor of cleaner alternatives.

Global Overview

United States

In the United States, several states have implemented strict regulations on the use of two-stroke engines in personal watercraft. California has been a leader in this regard, enacting a ban on non-compliant two-stroke engines as of December 31, 2012. This ban applies to personal watercraft that do not meet the 2006 EPA emission standards, effectively prohibiting the use of older, high-emission two-stroke engines. Personal watercraft that meet these standards through the use of direct-injection two-stroke or four-stroke engines are still allowed​​.

Other states have followed suit, with varying degrees of restrictions. For example, New York and New Jersey have also implemented regulations that limit the use of high-emission two-stroke engines in certain bodies of water to protect environmental quality and public health.


In Europe, the European Union has been at the forefront of environmental regulation, with several member states implementing bans on high-emission two-stroke engines. These bans are part of broader efforts to reduce pollution and protect water quality across the continent. Countries like Italy, France, and Germany have implemented local bans and restrictions that align with EU environmental directives aimed at reducing emissions from recreational watercraft.

The EU's approach to phasing out two-stroke engines is part of its comprehensive environmental strategy, which includes stringent emissions standards for a wide range of vehicles and machinery. This strategy is designed to meet the EU's ambitious climate goals and improve air and water quality for its citizens.


Canada is also moving towards stricter regulations on two-stroke engines. Several provinces have enacted local bans on older, high-emission two-stroke engines in an effort to reduce pollution and protect aquatic environments. For example, British Columbia and Ontario have implemented regulations that restrict the use of non-compliant two-stroke engines in certain lakes and rivers.

These provincial regulations are part of a broader national effort to address environmental concerns and promote the use of cleaner, more efficient technologies. The Canadian government has also been investing in research and development to support the transition to four-stroke engines and other low-emission alternatives.


Australia has seen growing pressure to implement stricter regulations on two-stroke engines, although enforcement is less widespread compared to the United States and Europe. Some areas have considered bans, and there is increasing awareness of the environmental impact of these engines. Efforts to align with international standards are gaining momentum, with advocacy groups and environmental organizations pushing for stricter regulations to protect Australia's unique aquatic ecosystems.

Transitioning to Four-Stroke Engines

The transition from two-stroke to four-stroke engines in personal watercraft is a significant shift that offers numerous environmental benefits. Four-stroke engines are more efficient, with separate intake, compression, power, and exhaust strokes that result in more complete combustion of fuel. This leads to lower emissions of harmful pollutants and better fuel economy.

In addition to environmental benefits, four-stroke engines also offer improved performance and reliability. They tend to be quieter, smoother, and more durable, making them a popular choice among recreational watercraft users. Manufacturers have been investing in the development of advanced four-stroke engines that meet the latest emissions standards and offer superior performance.

Challenges and Considerations

While the transition to four-stroke engines offers clear environmental benefits, it also presents challenges for users and manufacturers. For users, the cost of upgrading to a new four-stroke jetski can be significant, especially for those who have invested in high-performance two-stroke models. Additionally, the availability of replacement parts and maintenance services for older two-stroke engines may decrease as these engines are phased out.

Manufacturers face the challenge of developing new technologies that meet stringent emissions standards while maintaining performance and affordability. The research and development costs associated with these innovations can be substantial, and there is a need for ongoing investment to stay ahead of regulatory requirements and market demands.


To provide a clear picture of the regulatory changes, here’s a timeline graphic illustrating the key milestones in the phase-out of two-stroke jetski engines globally:

Country/State Regulation Details Source
United States EPA 2006 emission standards; California ban on non-compliant two-stroke engines from 2012 Sea-Doo Forum, various US state regulations
European Union Various local bans aligning with EU environmental policies EU Environmental Directives
Canada Provincial regulations banning older two-stroke engines Canadian environmental policies
Australia Increasing pressure for bans; some areas considering implementation Australian local environmental discussions


The move towards banning two-stroke jetskis is primarily driven by environmental concerns. As countries and states adopt stricter regulations, users must transition to cleaner, more efficient four-stroke engines. This change, while challenging for enthusiasts of traditional two-stroke jetskis, is a necessary step towards reducing pollution and protecting aquatic ecosystems.

For more detailed information and updates, refer to local regulatory bodies and environmental protection agencies.

What Are Your Thoughts?

The transition away from two-stroke jetskis is a significant change for enthusiasts and the environment alike. What are your thoughts on the phasing out of two-stroke engines? How do you think this will impact the future of recreational watercraft and our natural ecosystems? Share your perspectives and join the conversation.


May 2024
There are very few lakes that have banned 2 stroke watercraft in California. I ride on many rivers and lakes in this state. New units cannot be manufactured and sold in the state. I ride lots of places lakes rivers and ocean
May 2024
I call BS. While millions of tires burn in third world countries nothing said. EV battery resources being mined by children in conditions not safe manufacturer batteries that have no recycling worth and take hundreds of years to break down only to pollute the earth. It's about power and control. F$#K The Global elite!!🖕🖕
May 2024
I am from Oz and have not heard of anything official, but I did see on FB they are talking about it in NSW. Lucky im from Vic.
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