Boat Review by: Matt Spencer
When Scarab Boats first threw their hat into the jet boat ring some might have said they have their work cut out for them. Never ones to back down from a challenge the boat builder out of Cadillac, MI has quickly rose in the competitive jet boat ranks with intuitive features, eye catching designs and the performance and reliability that comes with every Rotax jet engine. Having the chance to finally test one at the Miami International Boat Show I was eager to figuratively sink my teeth into the Scarab 255 Impulse Wake Edition
In ancient Egypt lore the Scarab beetle was known to be associated with the sun God Ra, who was believed to roll the sun up and throughout the day, the same way that a dung beetle tirelessly rolls balls of dung used to feed its eggs when they hatch. It’s a symbol of renewal, rebirth and regeneration. Everyday is a new day and it makes sense to spend those days on a Scarab Jet Boat.
With a length overall of an even 25 feet the 255 is indeed a large boat but if I’m being honest I was surprised to read it was indeed that long after I had first set foot on the boat. I think this is a good thing because it shows that Scarab makes great use of the space they have. It’s a functional and versatile layout as we will soon find out.
Stepping from the dock onto the swim platform of the 255 it felt exactly like that - a platform. Normally the styling of boats has everything swooping aft but where the boat flows into the swim platform actually is styled with a negative angle giving you the most possible amount of usable space. I like this because wakeboard bindings are located in the center of the board so you will be able to get closer to them while you’re sitting down to lace up. There are speakers back there, a stereo remote along with a spot to mount a table. They wouldn’t give you all of those creature comforts without a spot to relax. The backrests of the cockpit lounge shift forward to give you a proper transom lounge to kick back.
Walking through the transom walkway into the cockpit you’re greeted by an aft bench seat and two rear facing seats opposite of it. It’s a pod style seating arrangement but if you lift up the cushion of the rear facing seats a filler cushion hinges out and connects the two seating arrangements giving you a U shaped lounge. I can’t tell you how much I love this because whenever you have filler cushions the battle is always ‘what do I do with them when they’re not in use?’ Well now you know, easily fold them out and easily put them away.
When I lifted the filler cushion I noticed the soft ballast bags tucked away in the storage. This is a wake boat after all so ballast is an absolute must and I like the use of soft bags over hard tanks as it allows you to upgrade as well as ease of winterization as they can just be removed and stored in the garage.
Sticking with the wakeboard theme, part of the Wake Edition obviously gets you a Wakeboard Tower that’s on gas assist struts for when you need to fold it down, you get wakeboard racks and a black bimini top.
The 255 Impulse Wake Edition has twin Captain’s bucket seats that almost seem to hug you as you sit into them, but they also have a flip up bolster. The Scarab beetle logo has been tastefully placed on each of the chairs in a faux chrome material that is eye catching and really boosts the branding.
Forward in the port console you’re going to find a very large head compartment that’s perfect for a porta potti. It’s large enough for a grown adult not to feel claustrophobic inside and it even has a sink. It’s these kind of big boat features that remind you the 255 is a full 25 foot sport boat that offers no compromises, it thinks of everything.
Walking up to the bow you will find a removable cooler in the center floor storage that you may think would take away from the in floor ski locker, but not at all. This is located more to mid ship so it’s a smart use of space that would otherwise go unused
While the 255 Impulse has a blunt nose its design is still as such that the beam tapers towards the bow but that doesn’t mean you’re going to miss out on any space. There are two large lounges if you have two selfish people but if they don’t mind sharing you could easily fit a gaggle up there. There is a built in cooler under the center seat and naturally plenty of storage under the other two. And as you might expect there is an optional bow filler cushion available to turn it into a full sunbed.
Powering the 255 Impulse Wake Edition was a pair of 250 hp Rotax jet engines complete with the all new, Miami Boat Show Innovation Award winning iST - Intelligent Shift and Throttle. Since Rotax is still owned by BRP, they adapted their iBR system from their Sea-Doos for a practical boat application. Not to be mistaken that this is a brake, because it’s not, it’s actually a refinement of the neutral throttle position which has always been a weakness of jetboats. They used the same bucket system from the Sea-Doos and changed the mechanical shift and throttle cable to an electronic drive-by-wire system. So when you shift from neutral into forward an electrical signal is sent to a mechanical actuator resulting in a smoother operating experience. Not only that but neutral has indeed been refined as it doesn’t wander or drift at all. It will sit perfectly still like a well trained dog, ready for its command.
Whenever I am at the helm that command is always go, go, go! Once we were in a safe operating area free of the traffic coming in and out of the Miami Boat Show I wanted to see how the 500-hp handled this 25-foot sportboat. Well when the throttles are put down, if you’re holding onto something then you’ll immediately grip it a little tighter as the hairs on the back of your neck stand up while the 255 Impulse gets on plane in just over 2 seconds. It hits 20 mph in about the same amount of time and in a blink you’re at 30 mph in just under 4 seconds.
I was blown away how little bow rise there was when the 255 Impulse accelerates. That is due in part to the lighter weight of the jet engines but also their thrust direction. Since a traditional IO is below the boat when trimmed all the way down it is going to have a thrust direction from the stern that is lower than the the boat itself, causing the bow to rise. But the Jets are located in the hull and their thrust direction in line with the hull, reducing the amount of bow rise. But enough with the boring, technical stuff.
I started the article by saying the 255 feels smaller than it is and that’s especially true when you’re putting it through its paces. It’s a light and nimble boat for its 25-foot frame. Turns are precise and on point and it settles back down off of plane at a reasonable rate. Cruising speeds comfortably range from 32 mph at 6000 rpm to 43 mph at 7000 rpm. Hold on tight if you want to test the top speed as we registered 54 mph at a wide open throttle of 8200 rpm.
Its performance like that that has allowed Scarab to quickly build a name for itself in the jet boat market. And as we have seen on the inside they back it up with functional features, refined detail and just all around awesomeness.
|Dry weight:||3,660 lbs||1,660 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||56 US gals||212 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Pair of Rotax Jet Engines|
|Engine HP:||MAX 500 HP|