Scarab 195 Open

Reinventing the tailgate.

by Alan Wendt
Here come the transformers: Boats that extend entertainment space in clever ways and leave your friends in awe.


  • LOA: 18'10"
  • Beam: 8'
  • Draft: 12"
  • Weight: 2,730 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 31 gals.
  • Water Capacity:
  • Power:
  • Price: $31,250

Scarab’s 195 Open has a transom tailgate that transforms the stern wall by folding backward, creating an extension of the swim platform. Unlatch the hinges and two gas shocks (think SUV trunk hatch) gently ease the entire wall down.

With coving and raftups so popular on weekends, having a drop-down tailgate just makes sense. From giggling kids jumping into your waiting arms, to a platform for easily accessing the water and having a place to rest beverages and nibbles, the tailgate brings you much closer to the water.

We typically equate the verb “tailgating” with sporting events, which, by the way, Green Bay fans coined in 1919 when they backed Studebaker and modified Ford Model T pickup trucks around the field, folded down tailgates for seating and quite possibly dined on a few Johnsonville brats. Scarab is now reinventing this verb.

Designed for moments

Designed by millennials for millennials, the 195 Open — all 18 feet, 10 inches — is a sweet package of features powered by Rotax Jet Power. This is a proven closed cooling engine (for long engine life), which includes a weed and rope guard to make each boating day hassle free. Bundled with Scarab’s Intelligent Neutral and Reverse (iNR) system, drivers can adjust neutral speed on the fly, quickly shift into reverse and effectively control maneuverability at slow speeds. Without the need to trim, new boaters will find this boat easy to drive. And with the side graphics made of rubber mats that double as fenders, docking couldn’t be easier. There’s plenty of power for towing tubers and skiers, as well. The 195 Open was designed for people who value moments and weekend adventures more than objects themselves. With a 31-gallon fuel tank and an optional enclosed porta-potti in the center console changing room, you can leave the dock at sunup and not return until after that big orange ball of light kisses the lake.

Worship the solar deity from an aft sunpad fit for two or transform the bow into the chill zone with optional bow fill-in cushions; the boat offers two distinctive social zones. Relax next to the captain in the pair of aft flip-up bolster seats, or fold them flat when boarding. A built-in cooler under the forward bow seat drains overboard and keeps drinks handy. There is also room for a removable cooler.

One option defining the 195’s profile, and frankly offering much needed shade, is the Bimini for the optional T-top. A tow point on the T-top makes this a true watersports boat and a wakeboarder’s dream. Hinged to fold forward for storage in the garage, Scarab also offers optional wakeboard storage racks and an optional Wake Blast Ballast.

As helms go, the 195 Open is a center console design, with ample room for adding electronic accessories beyond basic gauges. A compass, depth sounder, fish finder and perhaps a combo multi-function display for GPS plotter would all be welcome Father’s Day gifts — just saying.

Fish edition

The reason I mention the fish finder is that Scarab offers this model as the 195 Open Fish, a do-it-all watercraft with the angler in mind. When you drop the tailgate, there’s room for a comfortable casting seat, and at the bow, there’s a seat in place of a sunpad. With a true walkaround center console design, anglers won’t have to worry about tangled lines and awkward rod pass-offs while trying to land that monster Catfish Hunter made famous in the movie “Grumpy Old Men.”

Scarab even has a standard baitwell and rod holders on-board. Navigate to find your favorite fishing hole, use the bottom finder to sneak up on hiding places and deploy the fish finder to confirm your sleuthing.

Stand out from the crowd

Designers have tied the various hull color and graphics packages together for a snappy, go-fast attitude. Our test boat was trimmed in vivid green, but the crimson red seduced me. For those less daring, cognac offers a more sophisticated look. Basic white, highlighted by Scarab geometric graphic patterns, adds just enough pizzazz to make this boat stand out — but not scream out, like some of today’s high-end towboats.

Both 195 Open models are economically priced, and this summer your dealer will be offering the base boat with zero down starting around $318 dollars a month. Because interest rates have been ticking upward lately and dealer prep charges vary, use the figure as a guide only — I just wanted to illustrate how affordable boats are once again, especially a jet boat that has no spinning propeller and requires little maintenance. Notice I say little; every boat and every engine need attention.

Bottom line: There are a variety of option packages available from your dealer for turning a 19-foot boat into a transformable utility vessel offering endless customization, all built around a tailgate.  



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