The best moment in running Yamaha jet boats is the initial acceleration. Jamming the throttle forward gives dramatic performance (in our test, it pushed the boat to planing speed in 2.5 seconds and hit 30 mph in 5.6 seconds). Top speed was a satisfying 52.4 mph — and this was all on a single, economical jet-pump engine. In fact, our powerful tester got 3.3 mpg at 22.4 mph.
But jet boats are slippery, skittering out of their turns or losing their track, reminiscent of a wakeboard rider cutting back and forth, right? Wrong. In 2015, Yamaha introduced what it calls an articulating keel. Think of a small rudder set near the jet-pump nozzle as sort of an extension of the hull’s keel. In turns, it carves into the water, holding the stern’s trajectory in line with the steering input. When we spun the wheel to port, the SX 195 turned hard without any drift or sliding — something that was not possible in jet boats before this system. It not only eliminated any handling objection I’ve ever had to jets, it capitalized on the nimble turning radius allowed by in-line propulsion, creating a new standard for runabout maneuverability.
Even though the SX 195 is an entry point into the Yamaha jet-boat line, it includes “cruise assist,” an automated speed control that activates at any speed at the touch of a button. Once it’s switched on, speed can be adjusted up or down in small increments by tapping the button.
With all those handling advantages, it’s easy to overlook the hanging-out amenities, like Yamaha’s classic stern swim-platform area. Inside the cockpit, wraparound seating pampers the crew; forward, there is a wraparound seating area that comes with a removable center cushion.
It’s complete with a Bimini top and loaded on a custom trailer. What more could you need?
* Cruise assist makes it easier to hold speed at idle or on plane.
* The articulating keel guides the boat through turns, keeping it steady when towing tube and ‘board riders.
* The jet-pump clean-out ports allow debris removal from inside the boat.
How We Tested
Engine: Yamaha Marine 1.8-liter Super Vortex High Output Engine
Drive/Prop: Water-jet/3-blade stainless-steel impeller
Gear Ratio: 1:1
Fuel Load: 16 gal.
Crew Weight: 250 lb.
$33,299 (as tested)
Yamaha Jet Boat Manufacturing – Kennesaw, Georgia; yamahaboats.com