For more, check out Prima’s free GTA 5 guide.

Unlocking Sea Races

In order to unlock this cool sport known as Sea Races in Grand Theft Auto 5, you'll need to complete the mission Hood Safari in the main story. This is roughly 28 percent into the game. With Trevor, an F icon should appear on your map (which is Franklin's house). Here, you'll meet up with Franklin, argue with a drug dealer, shoot some gangs and escape from the police on Seasharks (jet skis). From there, each Sea Race will be marked on your map when unlocked. 

General Strategies

Where to Start

Unlike other race modes, you can partake in any of the four contests at the start. Take note that all four can only be accessed by the ocean's east, west and south coasts. 

Need a Shark

You must acquire a Seashark in order to join these races. There's usually one lying near each match or the beach. This may tick off people for stealing them, but you're only borrowing these vehicles.


Sea Races are open 24 hours a day. That means you can race them at any time. That said, it's not a good idea to race at night – checkpoints can be seen easily, but rocks and other obstacles will be difficult to spot. 

Wave Race 64

Some Sea Races are bumpier than others. Waves give you some leverage and launch you into the air if hit dead-on at full speed. Although launching yourself slows you down (and may knock you off), it allows you to hop over opponents or landscapes.  

Sharp Turns

Most courses pit you against sharp turns that are hard to maneuver around when going fast. To be safe, let off on the gas – if you don't, too much speed will shift your control. Also, be sure to lean your joystick towards your destination, or your direction can be skewed. 

Stay Wet

The idea of Sea Races is to outpace your opponents and come in first. To do that, you need to stay in the water and avoid hitting rocks or dry land. Environmental objects such as these will literally halt your progress, and you'll fall way behind. Hop over them (from a wave) or reduce your speed.    

Get DQ'd

Unlike other races in Grand Theft Auto 5, you don't have the option to quit races. Sometimes, however, things might not have gone to plan and you may wish to restart. To do so, simply press LT/L3 and fire your weapon. You will automatically "fail" the race, but receive the option to retry. 

Hit 'em Hard 

Competitors will get in your way sometimes. Why not knock them off their jet skis? Although it won't work every time, you can hit opponents when descending from the air or from the side. The best part is, they'll fall off their Seasharks and lose their current positions.     

Sea Race Tips

Sea Race 1 – East Coast

Race Stats: 

-Difficulty: Moderate

-Average Time: 1:30   

-# of Checkpoints: 18

Since this is probably the first race you'll tackle, this one should get you prepared for what's to come. Drive smooth in the beginning between the rocks. Smaller rocks can easily be avoided by pouncing over them. The fourth and fifth marks have a narrow path between rock lands, so ease on the gas. At checkpoints 12 through 16, you're faced with an extremely tight turn. Hold off on the gas slightly and tilt right. 

Sea Race 2 – North East Coast (El Gordo Lighthouse)  

Race Stats: 

-Difficulty: Moderate

-Average Time: 2:30   

-# of Checkpoints: 30

Besides being a bit longer than Sea Race 1, this competition will test your turning skills. The waves get semi-crazy here and make it difficult to turn. Many checkpoints are "zig-zagged" from one another. Release the gas as you launch in midair; it'll give you an opportunity to lean towards the checkpoints. The last three marks have some rocks and buoys, so either move to the side or jump over them.    

Sea Race 3 – Zancudo River (Raton Canyon) 

Race Stats: 

-Difficulty: Easy

-Average Time: 2 Minutes

-# of Checkpoints: 21

At first glance, this river-based race seems intimidating. The thing is, your rivals will take their time, so don't bother rushing into first place – they're easy to pass. Because there aren't too many big turns in this river, it's pretty streamlined. The only real problem is the narrow paths you're up against. Carefully steer and stop if you have to. Rocks and shorelines are your only threat. 

Sea Race 4 – Cypress Flats 

Race Stats: 

-Difficulty: Easy 

-Average Time: 2 Minutes

-# of Checkpoints: 25

The calmest of the four races, this sea contest takes place at the same location as the Hood Safari mission. You've got two obstacles to get by. The first is when you reach the large ships (roughly four checkpoints in). Here you'll need to take L-shaped turns at a comfortable pace. Secondly, though this race lacks waves, you'll go under numerous bridges. Proceed cautiously and watch out for the pillars.