The 251 XSS from Scout Boats is the answer if you seek a bay boat with the features, such as outstanding tops and towers, and quality for which Scout is renowned, but you need more than a 23-foot-long hull. Scout builds more freeboard into its bay boats than you might find when inspecting other boatbuilders’ models, and it designs the hulls to work in both inshore waters as well as when venturing offshore. This recipe results in versatile boats that deliver confidence underway and pride of ownership at all times.
The high-performance hull upon which the 251 XSS runs made good on what the big 300 hp Yamaha outboard had to offer. When we firewalled the throttle, the 251 XSS topped out at a speedy 56.7 mph winding a 19-inch-pitch stainless-steel Yamaha Saltwater Series II propeller at 6,000 rpm. That’s an impressive top speed, especially given the choppy harbor conditions and the three-person, 600-plus-pound load with a half-tank of fuel that our test boat bore. With more setup and seat time, this is a legit 60 mph ride, in our opinion.
Truly a hybrid, the 251 XSS only draws 13 inches, which makes for easy hunting of game fish in backwater bays and creeks; when it’s time for bigger water, however, the wide bow flare and the hull’s 18-degree transom deadrise make for dry-riding comfort. We can confirm that despite the lower freeboard typical of bay boats, the Scout 251 XSS gave us a secure and sure-footed dry ride over the inner harbor chop and boat wakes. The speed is natural given the boat’s relative light weight (2,300 pounds, bare hull) and the high-performance hull design with engine setback and lifting strakes. It’s stingy with fuel too; at 4,000 rpm and 36 mph, we saw our best mileage of 11.9 gph and 3.1 mpg. With its 68-gallon tank full, that’s nearly 190 miles of roaming and fishing.
Scout’s clean rigging and thoughtful engineering touches are applied liberally. The Yamaha F300XCA was rigged using a 10-inch setback hydraulic jack plate and electric trim tabs — both standard equipment.
- Forward casting platform is large enough for two anglers to fish comfortably; fitted with a center platform and cushion set, it doubles as a relaxing lounge for sun seekers.
- Self-bailing cockpit makes leaving this Scout at the dock worry-free.
- Tall center console features a lift-up forward seat/hatch revealing a privacy locker with portable head.
- Full-size enclosed console with T-top may appeal more to the offshore crowd than to inshore bay anglers who need to wind into tighter angling spots.
- We’d like to see ventilation added to the head compartment.
American Marine Sports’ Shearwater 25LTZ ($83,805) compares well in overall size, weight and price. It features a similar bow fishing/sunbathing setup, has a bit more fuel capacity (75 gallons) and is rated for up to 350 horses.
Price: $84,340 (base with test power)
Available Power: Outboard
How We Tested
Engine: Yamaha F300XCA
Prop: Yamaha Saltwater Series II 15.25" x 19" 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Fuel Load: 35 gal.
Crew Weight: 600 lb.
Scout Boats - Summerville, South Carolina; 843-821-0068; scoutboats.com