Boat Review by: Ryan Tarrant
The new 2020 Yamaha 195S Sport Boat has been added to the 19’ line up as their premium sport boat. The 19’ line-up is designed so that it can be towed behind a mid-sized SUV and stored inside a standard sized garage. Let’s check it out.
For 2019 the hull and deck of the 195 series were lengthened and widened and it’s noticeable. When walking up to the 195S it was easy to tell that access into the boat, and the interior space has been maximized. This is very important not only for passengers and entry, but also for your deckhands to safely step onto the dock when landing.
Stepping into the boat not only confirmed the quality of the hardware used, but also the cleanliness of installation. The upholstery is a premium grade, very comfortable, and has excellent fit & finish. Walking around the boat feels like you’re on a much larger boat than a 19-footer. The premium Marine Mat flooring offered a thankful softness under my feet and it is removable for ease of washing both the floor and the mats themselves. The included aluminum watersports tower offers maximum height accommodating my taller friends, and it FOLDS DOWN to maximize space in your garage.
In the cockpit you’ll find a comfortable and strong Captains bucket seat that swivels, adjusts to suit many Captains, and has a bolster function, complementing the tilt steering wheel. The dash is cleanly furnished with Yamaha’s 7-inch touchscreen Connext which includes mapping, engine information, sound system, and switching controls. There is also an AUX/12v power outlet. Beside the touchscreen is an included mobile device holder which swivels to both a landscape and portrait position. Here you’ll also find the rocker switches which control the no wake mode and cruise assist.
Overhead is the water sports tower. It offers ample room to walk under, speakers, and it folds to maximize space when the 195S isn’t in use. The tower is an excellent addition for all watersports stopping the rope from dragging in the water and maximizing cabin space and safety.
The 195S’ First Mate also receives the same swivel bucket seat as the Captain. There is a large recessed storage area beside the Mate which includes a convenient beverage holder.
The walkthrough to the bow is very wide allowing easy access to the storage compartments, room to walk through while carrying something, or excited kids running past you. The bow seating accommodates 3 adults, offers plenty of storage, and a dedicated anchor locker. The grab handles and beverage holders are well placed. The backrests in the bow are well contoured and very comfortable.
The aft seating is spacious and offers great leg room. If desired, the captain’s chair can swivel around to enjoy a meal or play cards with the aft seat passengers when the included table is installed. Yamaha have even included a battery switch which is easily accessible under the rear seat.
Walking through to the swim platform is easy. The transom is set-up as a “stern lounge” and even includes comfortable backrest cushions for hanging out. The swim platform is padded, there are integrated beverage holders, and a remote stereo control. For 2020 the Yamaha 195S receives a new retractable stern ladder as well. This is a great place to hang out while anchored in your favourite bay.
At the transom you’ll also find the jet-pump clean out port which easily allows removal of any weeds or debris. A safety switch is mounted on the access door which will immediately shut down the motor if anyone made the error of opening it while running. This is a smart feature for those small lake and Back Bay adventurers.
Testing this size/type/newer jet boat is completely new to me. Prepping to leave the dock I found the pop-up cleats a bit too small to include both a bumper and rope sizes that I’m used to using for a boat of this size so be aware when buying your ropes etc. The cleats are installed in very accessible locations for tying up and bumper protection.
Leaving the dock was confidence inspiring. Being used to outboards and sterndrives I was curious if the jet drive would be less maneuverable but this was not the case. It was easy to both leave the dock, idle, and return to the dock. The v-shaped reverse bucket worked well when reversing and the articulating keel made easy work of tight maneuvers.
The Yamaha 1.8-liter Supercharged Vortex High Output engine easily planed out the 195S with 2 of us and our gear and it feels like it would have an excellent hole-shot for watersports. The hull allowed planning to be very flat with minimal bow rise which allows the driver to see well. We tested in a combination of very calm and very rough water. It took some time for me to learn how to use the throttle to turn the boat while on plane to reduce the turning radius. While capturing video in rough water I loved the Cruise Assist feature which allowed me to have both hands on the wheel and concentrate on driving correct lines. As soon as I touched the throttle the Cruise Assist deactivated and allowed full control. Yamaha has also added a No Wake Mode which allows the driver to idle in no wake zones.
Whether you’re a first-time boater or a seasoned small lake veteran the 2020 Yamaha 195S Sport Boat offers premium amenities, well designed spacious and very comfortable seating options, a water sports tower, and a fun transom for all of the family to enjoy. The interior space is so well designed that you truly feel that the boat is larger than it is, yet the storage space is still excellent. And it’s designed to fold the tower and fit in your garage.