Key West developed the 197SKV to be a skiff that delivers as much bang for the buck as possible in a boat that measures just under than 20’ (6.1 m) long. To help her meet that mission, the boat comes from the factory with a livewell, a large bow casting deck, and a cooler with a padded seat on top.Power is provided by a single 4-stroke outboard up to 115-hp, and Key West recommends a 90-hp motor.
Stepping aboard the 197SKV, we’ll start in the bow, which has a full-beam step up casting deck. There’s an anchor locker forward and two cleats outboard on each side. A trolling motor is an available option. A cushion is available to turn the area into a wide sun pad. We would add a cleat on the centerline of the bow for the anchor rode.
Forward storage on the 197SKV includes an anchor locker ahead of the casting deck and two hatches that access a large area beneath it. Some owners will like that the compartment is open so that the contents can be retrieved from both sides. Others might prefer that it be separated into two lockers, so items don’t roll from side to side.
Moving aft, the console has a seat on the forward side with a bottom cushion and backrest. The bottom cushion is hinged at the front, and it opens to reveal a storage box. On the port side of the console, there’s a vented hatch that opens the console storage.
The straightforward helm on the 197SKV has an acrylic windscreen ringed by a stainless-steel rail, so passengers have something to hold onto when the water gets bumpy. The dash comes with a speedometer, tachometer, and fuel gauge. The steering wheel is to the left with a binnacle-style shift/throttle lever to starboard. The boat comes standard with anti-feedback mechanical steering and a stainless-steel steering wheel. The leaning post is wide enough for two people to lean against, and it has a fold-down footrest.
Abaft the leaning post, there’s enough space to pass between it and the raised aft casting deck that has enough space for a single angler. An aft deck cushion and backrest are available options. Beneath the outboard hatch to port, there’s a livewell, and to starboard, there’s storage. In the center, a hatch opens, so owners or technicians can get to the battery and to on board systems such as the livewell pump.
The 197SKV is built with a solid fiberglass bottom and foam coring in the hullsides and deck. The transom is cored with composite and an aluminum plate is fiberglassed into the deck to provide additional support for the outboard. The cockpit is a one-piece liner, and the hull and deck are attached in a shoebox-lid-style joint that is bonded with 3M 5200 and thru-bolted. Stringers are molded as a one-piece grid outside the boat and then bonded in place and foam filled. Aluminum plates also back up all the pieces of deck hardware, and they are thru-bolted wherever possible.
We haven’t tested the Key West 197SKV. Key West offers the boat with a single 4-stroke outboard up to 115-hp and recommends the 90-hp model.
$25,560 with a 90-hp Yamaha 4-stroke outboard.
10-year Transferrable Hull warranty.
Options to Consider
Anglers who only want to fish inshore in protected water should take a look at the Key West 197SKV. For the price, she comes standard with almost everything an angler needs to head right to the ramp. It is important to remember that the USCG requires that all boats with a 2-hp or greater engine under 20’ must float level, if swamped. The 197SKV meets that requirment.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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