6 Most Affordable Jet Boats

Owning a jet boat has a number of significant advantages: they offer super-sporty handling, have extremely shallow draft, and aren’t nearly as likely to get damaged if you do run aground. Their biggest asset, however, is peace of mind. Many people, especially those with young children who are new to boats and boating, just love the idea of eliminating any possibility of danger from a spinning propeller.

So it’s no wonder that when it comes to small runabouts, jet boats are extremely popular. Even so, there are only a couple of major builders who make jet boats today: Scarab Boats, Yamaha Boats, among others. Let’s look at three affordable jet boats from each—plus some additional options.

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scarab 165 ID 2021

1. Scarab 165 ID

Starting at a NAP of $27,452, the Scarab 165 ID is both the least expensive and the smallest jet-powered runabout around. Even so, it can carry up to five people and has enough torque to tow a wakeboard or water toy around the lake or bay. Add the optional wakeboard tower with Bimini top and board racks, if you want to up your watersports game.

The 165 ID is a garage-ready package, with a custom-matched single-axel trailer with submersible LED lighting. And thanks to a package weight that barely gets north of 2,200-pounds, it can be hauled around by even the most modest tow vehicles. Despite the boat’s diminutive nature, however, Scarab still manages to design in a pair of aft-facing seats in the transom just forward of the swim platform. These are the perfect spot to kick back and watch the sunset after a long day of playing on the water—a perk usually found only on larger boats.

Visit Scarab Boats to learn more.


scarab 195 ID 2021

2. Scarab 195 ID

If you want a bigger boat underfoot and the ability to carry up to eight passengers, you’ll want to consider the Scarab 195 ID. This model posts a NAP of $40,382, and comes equipped with a healthy list of standard features including a single-axel trailer with brakes, a Bluetooth stereo system with four speakers, a ski tow eye (again, a tower is optional), courtesy lights, a portable cooler, lighted helm switches, and a Rotax 4-TEC 200 ECT under the hood.

Stepping up to the 195 ID gets you a little bit more of everything. You can bring along a few more friends, fuel capacity jumps from 20 gallons to 31, and the extra 3’1” of length and 11” of beam certainly add a lot of elbow room as well as a healthy dose of comfort when the waves kick up. Our favorite upgrade, however, is the fact that you get a full bow cockpit with forward-facing seats.

Visit Scarab Boats to learn more.


Scarab 215 ID

3. Scarab 215 ID

Upping the ante to $52,675 seems like a small price to pay to get into the 215 ID. With a length of 21 feet and a capacity of 10 people the party just got bigger—and if you opt for the Wake edition the surfing opportunities just did as well. It adds speed control, a ballast system, a hinged tower with board racks and a Bimini top, plus radical graphics.

The 215 ID is powered by not one, but two Rotax 200, 250, or 300 engines. Add in the INR intelligent neutral and reverse and lateral thrust control, and handling this boat is a piece of cake. Plus, it comes with all the standard features of the smaller models and then some.

Visit Scarab Boats to learn more.


Yamaha SX190

4. Yamaha SX190

At 19’5” long, 8’2” wide, and with a passenger capacity of eight the Yamaha SX190 is a substantially sized “starter” boat. Yet Yamaha keeps price quite affordable with a $30,649 base price. Don’t let that low price tag fool you, because the stock boat comes amazingly well-equipped. Goodies include snap-in marine carpet, tilt steering, a removable cooler, courtesy lighting, a Connext touchscreen monitor, a Jensen Bluetooth stereo with four speakers, a tow hook, a Bimini top, and a single axle trailer with a swing-away tongue.

The SX190 is powered by Yamaha’s TR-1 HO engine, a 1.8-liter high-output model which blasts the water through a 155 mm high-pressure jet pump. That gives the boat plenty of pep, while an articulating keel helps boost handling and maneuverability.

Visit Yamaha Boats to learn more.


Yamaha AR195

5. Yamaha AR195

Built on the same hull as the SX190, the AR195 (starting at $38,849) turns Yamaha’s smallest jet boat offering into a watersports machine. It has the features of the SX version but adds on upgrades including a larger 160 mm high-pressure pump, upgraded aluminum handles and pop-up cleats, a windshield mirror, and a folding aluminum wakeboard tower. Performance gets an adrenaline injection with the supercharged 1.8L SVHO super vortex high output engine, which puts out about 20-percent more power than the standard HO model. That not only gives the AR195 more speed, but also more grunt for pulling heavy watersports lovers.

Note that if your main interest lies in getting the watersports tower and your budget will feel the pinch moving from the SX190 to the AR195, there’s also a middle-ground option to be found in the $33,149 AR190. This model doesn’t enjoy the larger powerplant or all the upgrades found on the 195, but with the tower added on certainly does enhance your watersports versatility.

Visit Yamaha Boats to learn more.


yamaha 212XE

6. Yamaha 212XE

Most jet boats are great for general watersports, but when it comes to wake surfing some specialization is in order. Hence, the Yamaha 212XE. Starting at $64,849, this model is powered with twin naturally-aspirated 1.8-liter TR-1s, has a tower with board racks, and integrates a 1,100-pound ballast system so you can make some serious waves. It also gets juiced with a Wet Sounds Bluetooth audio system designed for wake surfing with eight speakers including stern speakers, USB/Aux input, and USB charging ports.

The 212XE also enjoys a tech edge over most boats that fall into the affordable category. The Connext system has a 12.3” touchscreen display that includes mapping, and this is a fly-by-wire controlled boat with push-button start/stop.

Visit Yamaha Boats to learn more.


Other Jet Boats to Explore

What if you need a different sort of jet boat? One designed to run rivers where rocky rapids prevent propellers from being the primary propulsion? In addition to these runabout and watersports jet boats, there are also several builders who make aluminum inboard jet boats.

  • Duckworth Boats builds this sort of specialized fishing machine, though we can’t address the affordability factor because these are crafted on a custom basis.
  • Also check out Northwest Boats, and Weldcraft Marine, which which offer aluminum-hulled options that run with outboards and can be rigged with jet power.

In all of these cases, the boats noted above share one distinct commonality: the absence of a propeller. And whether that appeals to you because of the enhanced safety, lower draft, or spectacular handling, one thing is for sure: get one of these affordable jet boats and you’re about to enjoy endless fun on the water.

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