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.
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.
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.
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.
Mesh storage bags are positioned strategically to hold sunglasses, sunscreen, flip-flops and other gear, and these bags snap out for the occasional washdown.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The optional fold-up sunshade is an unusual touch that will be welcome on many hot afternoons.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
||3 year limited|
(It's quick and FREE!)