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Scarab 165 (2015-)
(w/ Currently no test numbers)


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Brief Summary

This is an entry-level boat for those who need a bit more space than that available on even the largest PWCs, and for those who just don't feel comfortable straddling the engine -- but still love the "wet and wild" potential of personal watercraft. But make no mistake about it, the 165 is a “boat” and because she is small and light, her jet engine provides a thrilling ride and her 7’1” (2.16 m) beam gives her more stability than a PWC which inherently have a high CG.

Key Features

  • Extended swim platform with low-profile with stainless steel reboarding ladder
  • Ski tow
  • Ski locker
  • Scarab premium upholstery and metallic accent
  • ComfortRide bench seats
  • Swim platform lounge seats
  • Storage under seat in bow, cockpit and beneath sundeck
  • Custom trailer with black GatorHyde finish
  • Specifications

    Length Overall 15′ 9''
    4.80 m
    Beam 7′ 1''
    2.16 m
    Dry Weight 1,600 lbs.
    725 kg
    Tested Weight N/A
    Draft 12''
    30 cm
    - Draft Up N/A
    - Draft Down N/A
    - Air Draft N/A
    Deadrise/Transom 21-deg.
    Max Headroom
    Bridge Clearance N/A
    Weight Capacity N/A
    Person Capacity N/A
    Fuel Capacity 20 gal.
    76 L
    Water Capacity N/A
    Length on Trailer N/A
    Height on Trailer N/A
    Trailer Weight N/A
    Total Weight
    (Trailer, Boat, & Engine)

    Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.

    Engine Options

    Std. Power 1 x 150-hp Rotax
    Tested Power Currently no test numbers
    Opt. Power Not Available

    Captain's Report


    This is an entry-level boat for those who need a bit more space than that available on even the largest PWCs, and for those who just don't feel comfortable straddling the engine -- but still love the "wet and wild" potential of personal watercraft. But make no mistake about it, the 165 is a “boat” and because she is small and light, her jet engine provides a thrilling ride and her 7’1” (2.16 m) beam gives her more stability than a PWC which inherently have a high CG.Because the 165 is small she is also affordable, which means that nearly anyone who wants to get out on the water and enjoy watersports can do so. She comes standard with a trailer and can be towed by almost any vehicle. She should appeal to singles, people with young families, or anyone looking for an entry-level, minimalist boat.

    Scarab 165 birds eye view
    A bird’s-eye view of the Scarab 165 taken from the builder’s website shows the layout plan. Person capacity is 5 people or 850 lbs. (385 kg), whichever comes first.


    The Scarab 165 jetboat might be seen as filling a niche between full-on PWCs that one "rides" and jet boats that one "drives"-- she does sport a wheel rather than handlebars, and she's got a rated seating capacity of five. The combination of low weight, shallow draft, and the vigorous torque available from her jet engines clearly puts the emphasis on performance.

    The 165 Series comes in three models

    – the 165, 165 HO and 165 HO Impulse. The differences among the three models are in the amenities provided and the horsepower of the engines. The 165 comes with a 150 Rotax, and the two H.O. models are powered by 250-hp Rotax 4-TEC engines. All three come with a standard trailer.The Scarab 165 Series, according to the company, is the smallest jet boat on the market. That means she is easy to tow and can fit into most car garages.

    Scarab 165
    The Scarab 165 Series comes in a choice of three color choices.

    The new Scarab jetboat Series

    has 9 models that fall into three sizes – 165, 195 and 215. All have three models with horsepower ranging up to 500-hp.

    Scarab 165 aft facing seats
    The aft-facing seats will be popular spots to sit when the boat is pulled into a cove for a swim and a bit of sun-worship, or when at anchor. Soft-surface padding on the swim platform will be easy on the feet and also prevent slipping. A swim ladder slides out from under the platform for reboarding.

    Inspection of the Scarab 165 Series

    The extended swim platform with two rear-facing seats is a proven design concept and provides a useful place for launching watersports of all types. It is also a natural gathering spot for the crew when it's time for a swim or to watch a sunset. The soft textured material on the deck surfaces provide excellent non-skid protection and are also soft on bare feet.

    The "Comfort Ride" seats

    are quite unusual and have spring-support rather than simply foam. This should provided a softer ride when it gets bumpy. In a boat with a minimal LOA where standing is not an option, this can be an important factor. The seats are constructed with a “crease” down the middle of them which the company says makes them “breathable” to keep riders cool on hot summer days. Likewise the seat backs have split upholstery treatments which match the seats.There's also a small bolster on the front of each seat that should help riders stay put during wild maneuvers invited by the jetboat genre. Grab handles are mounted low beside the seats, right where they're needed to hang on, as are cup holders to keep beverages upright.

    Scarab 165 swim platform pad
    The pad on the swim platform not only looks good, but prevents slipping with wet feet.
    Scarab 165 storage nets
    Storage nets add versatility to the storage areas and help keep small items out of the bottom of the compartments.

    Major Features

    Mesh storage bags are positioned strategically to hold sunglasses, sunscreen, flip-flops and other gear, and these bags snap out for the occasional washdown.

    Scarab 165 storage
    There's a surprising amount of storage in the 165 considering its compact dimensions.


    The heavy-gauge chromed stainless steel tow eye mounts just below the swim pad. The cleats are small but adequate for the lines one will need on a boat this size.

    Scarab 165 ski locker
    The ski locker is up front in the sole. Note the gel-coated interior on the hatch lid, and the through-bolted stainless steel hardware. The rack for the aft running light is also accessed here.

    The ski locker hatch lid is gel-coated on the inside for easy cleaning, and the hinges are through-bolted and secured with aircraft style locking nuts. The "hood" on the starboard side has a gas-assist piston for easy access. A 12-Volt outlet and access to dash wiring is found here, along with a large storage compartment.

    For Watersports

    A stainless steel reboarding ladder makes climbing out of the water relatively easy -- it stows by sliding under the swim platform. The aft-facing seats will be good spots to get gear arranged for tow-sports. A pass through between the seats requires a step-over, but it's low, and the padded "tacky" surface steps should make users sure-footed.

    Scarab 165 walkthrough
    A walkthrough behind the center seat allows stepping back to the swim platform.
    Scarab 165 tower
    The folding wakeboard tower is an option that many who purchase the 165 will probably include.


    Investing in a boat with this mission makes it seem almost criminal NOT to go all-in on the optional sound system, which includes a Sony stereo, Kicker Amp, subwoofer, transom remote and blue LED speaker lights. A MP3 port and Bluetooth connectivity are standard.

    Scarab 165 speakers
    Optional Kicker speakers are part of the premium sound package.

    The optional fold-up sunshade is an unusual touch that will be welcome on many hot afternoons.

    Scarab 165 three across seating
    The three-across seating in the helm area features spring-loaded bottoms for added comfort during wave-hopping, and the split seat backs are designed to reduce perspiration on hot days. Note the small bolsters on the front, an asset in staying put during tight turns.

    Three-across seating is compact but adequate for the mission of this boat, which is basically to form a bridge between PWCs and larger, more conventional jet boats, with the quick handling and performance of the former as well as some of the comforts of the latter.

    Scarab 165 lounge seat
    Both the lounge seat to port and the bow seat lift to reveal storage underneath. All seat hatches are secured with hinges -- no danger of cushions blowing out.


    There's a lounge-type seat to port up front. The streamlined “hood”, with storage underneath, forms an attractive cowling for the helm station to starboard. (That “hood” is an interesting design touch, clearly linking this boat to her PWC relatives while at the same time giving a sizeable storage area.) There's a very low-slung windscreen -- not an actual windshield, but more a deflector. No issue, this is primarily a warm-weather ride, so a shield would be superfluous most of the time.

    Scarab 165 hood
    The "hood" is actually a design feature covering a large storage area in front of the helm. The cover lifts easily and stays put thanks to gas-assist pistons.

    A small seat sits across the squared-off bow, and lifts to provide access to a storage area. Like all hatch-lids in the boat, this one is attached by through-bolted hinges -- no issues with loose cushions blowing out.

    The Helm

    Scarab 165 helm
    The racing-style helm looks ready for action, with stainless steel finishes and toggle-type controls for most functions. Both analog and digital gauges are included standard. Note the squared off bottom of the steering wheel, designed to give a bit more leg room.
    Scarab 165 electronic amenities
    The HO models have electronic amenities usually only found on much larger boats.

    Instrument Panel.

    Metallic accents and chrome logos work together to create a no-nonsense, go-fast look to the gauge panel. The gauges include both analog and digital readouts, with lighted racing-style switches for breakers and all other electrical functions. The stainless steel panel looks modern and race-oriented. The radio is mounted low to the left. The racing style wheel tilts.

    Amenities on HO Models.

    The Digital Speed Control package with Rotax speed-control functions display has a lot to offer, as well:

    • Cruise mode – Allows for setting desired cruise speed and maximum speed.
    • Ski mode – Allows for a controlled launch with up to 3 pre-set acceleration curves. Once underway, it accurately maintains tow speed.
    • Eco mode – Optimizes engine efficiency by limiting engine torque.
    • Docking mode – Limits engine power for improved control and maneuverability at the dock.

    Performance and Handling

    We have not tested the Scarab 165 so can make no empirical comment on her performance. However, the boat is intended to deliver the same sort of high-Gs, spin-in-its-own-length handling as most jets/PWCs. The horsepower combines with the jet impeller system is said by the builder to avoid bogging down even on a complete spinout. Hole shots should be almost instantaneous as the motor winds back to high rpms quickly.


    The 165 has "Lateral Thrust Control" steering which directs jet thrust to either side of the transom during low speed maneuvers, such as docking. The builder says this design gives the driver much improved control at the dock. This system can direct thrust out to the sides for much more positive control. The builder also says that the system also "re-scales" the throttle in digital docking mode, giving a broader range of control to help avoid over-revving.

    Scarab 165 deadrise
    “Look, Ma, no prop!” -- is a strong sales point for jet drive boats. The 165 has a 21-degree deadrise at the transom

    Propulsion System

    The Rotax package is compact and takes up much less room than would be required to fit even the smallest sterndrive aft of the seats, a big plus in a boat the size of the 165. Horsepower available ranges from 150-hp in the standard version to 250-hp for the two HO models. The Rotax engine is a 3-cylinder 4-stroke design. It's accessed by lifting up the hinged aft platform, which not only provides access for daily checks of oil and coolant but also reveals a large storage box on each side of the engine.

    Closed Loop Cooling.

    The engine's closed-loop cooling uses coolant to keep running at the ideal temperature, much like a car’s radiator, rather than raw water as in outboards and many marine engines. The system keeps out corrosive salt water and debris, and there's no concern with freeze up of left-over water in the system in winter as with some raw water systems, so long as the anti-freeze coolant is in good shape. A cooling-plate heat exchanger on the bottom of the unit vents the heat to the water.

    The HO Models.

    The 250-hp Rotax engines in the two HO models have a direct-drive supercharger with intercooler. Blowers typically give almost instant wind-up of torque, which translates to head-snapping hole shots and lots of mid-range power when needed for tow-sports.

    A protective sleeve

    keeps weeds and tow lines from tangling in the drive shaft that runs between the engine and the jet system.

    The fuel filler cap

    is permanently attached to the fill tube so it can't be lost overboard. It's a "click-to-close" cap, quick and easy to use -- a small touch but it prevents a major potential annoyance.

    The warranty

    is for three years or 480 hours, and can be extended with an extra service contract for an additional 2 years. Typically these contracts cover parts and labor and are recommended.

    Options to Consider

    • Folding wakeboard tower
    • Premium sound package
    • Folding sun awning
    Scarab 165
    An optional folding sunscreen gives a bit of shade when needed.


    There's a lot of seating room in this boat considering that she's only 15’7” long; for a family with two or three youngsters. The 165’s page owner's manual, available on-line, is exceptionally thorough, and includes more than 40 pages of safety information.This boat will undoubtedly perform best in smooth water locations.

    Standard and Optional Features

    Marine Electronics

    Autopilot Optional


    CD Stereo Optional
    Shore Power Standard

    Exterior Features

    Outlet: 12-Volt Acc Standard
    Swim Ladder Standard
    Swim Platform Standard
    Tower: Watersports Optional


    Engine Warranty
    3 year limited
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