The center console format is associated with fishing, and by adding the Fish Package ($2,000), the new Scarab 255 Open ID will readily fish. But my test boat did not have the rod holders, baitwell and other gear included in that option. It played into the trend of center console as sport boat. Either way, the 255 Open ID offers wide-open, carefree fun for all.
Because it’s jet-powered, this boat can offer a low-profile aft deck with snap-off pads and four removable backrests that can be configured to face fore or aft. The hinged transom flips down like a tailgate and, in its horizontal position, creates an aft platform that’s about 3 feet 7 inches deep and 3 feet 2 inches wide with unimpeded access to the water — perfect for setting up dive gear, pulling a wakeboard, or just diving in. Soft MarineMat decking for the platform and tailgate surface is a $333 option.
Covered by the standard T-top, the helm on our test boat featured the optional 11-inch-by-4.5-inch touchscreen display ($3,667) that combines instrumentation with controls for the audio and lights, plus speed-control functions that are an additional $880 option. There are a pair of clear-plastic phone holders on the dash, and five USB ports that can be used to keep all devices charged. The T-top and seat-base tubing are finished in wrinkle-black paint, and there’s a ski-line tow point on the center of the T-top, accessible by unzipping an opening in the canvas shade. The center section of the elevated helm seat drops down to allow the captain to stand at the wheel, but the outboard sections are fixed, and the seat felt too close to the console for me. The front of the console opens and can be fitted with a portable head. Bottom cushions for the wraparound bow seating can all be removed, and two of those backrests can be placed here for forward-facing support. There’s dedicated stowage below the seats for two 36-quart coolers ($233).
Our top engine option ($10,000 upcharge) put a pair of supercharged 250 hp Rotax jet drives below the hatch, delivering instant acceleration and thrilling top speed. Alas, with jets there is no trim to adjust to conditions, but the ride on a choppy lake was dry.
- Jet power means no props to ding, no trim to master, and self-draining and closed-cooling for minimal maintenance and late-season convenience.
- Tailgate transom provides wide-open access to the water.
- Drive-by-wire automatically synchronizes throttles.
- Jet power means no trim to adjust the running angle for sea conditions and a high-rpm engine tone that’s harsher than that of a sterndrive or outboard.
- Helm seat may be too close to the console for some skippers.
- Snap-on seat cushions must be unsnapped to reach bow stowage.
The 21-foot-3-inch Yamaha 210 FSH ($39,499 to $44,499) is the only alternative center console with jet propulsion. With just a single 260 hp drive, it has a top speed of about 44 mph. The Sport version has a standard T-top, a changing canopy built into the console, the Connext touchscreen display, and a nice combination of fishing and family features but with less room than is offered in the larger Scarab.
Price: $71,250 (base with test power and trailer)
Available Power: Jet Drive
How We Tested
Engines: Twin 250 hp 1.5L Rotax 4-Tec ECT
Drive/Prop: Rotax jet drives with 155 mm stainless-steel impellers
Gear Ratio: 1:00:1
Fuel Load: 56 gal.
Crew Weight: 380 lb.
Scarab Jet Boats – Cadillac, Michigan; 231-775-1351; scarabjetboats.com