Do you remember Miami Vice? If so, it’s possible you also remember those rapier Scarab powerboats that used to cleave the horizon in two as Crockett and Tubbs found implausible excuses to pursue arch criminals by boat. Well happily, there’s a new Scarab fleet (albeit of a different size and purpose) and it put in an appearance at the recent Southampton Boat Show.

Flagship Scarab

The flagship Scarab 215 HO Impulse looks every inch the bad boy of the fleet.


With just three boats in the line-up (the 175, 195 and Scarab 215), each of which is available in one of three configurations (Base, High Output and HO Impulse), the new range is every bit as simplistic as the idea behind it. These brightly coloured, sharply resolved playthings are all about fast, accessible watersports thrills on jet-powered platforms for sensible money – and if the spectacle of their appearance doesn’t prove that, then take a look at their marketing material...


Scarab jet boats - interior

The beamy internals are clever as well as generous.

“A line up this aggressive usually involves the police!” screams the company strap line. And on the website, UK distributor 158 Performance describes the fleet as “hot” and “promiscuous”. In short, Scarab seems to be championing the bright, brash, almost confrontational good-time vibe of the watersports scene – and this flagship model dials that right up to ten with twin 250hp Rotax engines for 60-knot performance, plus blood-red graphics, textured pearlescent upholstery and a beefed up sound system.


However, there are also some thoughtful design touches in evidence here. For instance, the aft space features a three-part bench, which adjusts to generate a full sunpad, or a combination of forward and aft-facing seats with armrests; some cut-away sections in the corners of C-shaped seating section also enable large groups of people to gather without a squash; and further forward, the bow in-fill works as a forward-facing backrest as well as a windbreak.


Even so, don’t let the Scarab’s attention to detail deflect you from the glaring truth. Because this is not a family bow rider. This is a monument to the casual, offhand arrogance and plasticised, neon, semi-toxic disdain of wild, unguarded youth – just what a jet boat should be (if in doubt check out this previous feature: The joy of jet powered craft).  It’s garish, it’s high-powered and at less than £43,000, it’s remarkably cheap. Old men, look away now. Youngsters, step this way...



Written by: Alex Smith
Alex Smith is a journalist, copywriter and magazine editor with a long history in boating and a happy addiction to the water. He’s worked on boats, lived on boats, bought boats, sold boats and – when he’s not actually on board a boat – he can generally be found in his Folkestone office, tapping away at the computer and gazing out to sea.