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Best Jet Boat Brands Among All Types of Small Craft

When you peruse the listings on Rightboat for the best jet boats for sale you’ll discover that there are plenty to choose from. You’ll also discover that these can be very different types of boats, with a mix of aluminum and fiberglass, outboards and inboards, and everything from hunting boats to bowriders. Why such diversity? Because people buy jet boats for very different reasons.

In some cases a boater may be running rocky rivers and need a jet drive to avoid regularly dinging and damaging his or her prop. In others, minimizing draft is the main concern. Some people enjoy the sporty handling a jet boat can provide. And there are some boaters who want a jet drive simply because they don’t like the idea of a cleaver-like propeller spinning around in close proximity to their loved ones.

These are all perfectly valid reasons for choosing a jet boat. However, one should note that along with their advantages, jets do have some downsides. Some are very loud and high pitch, which certain people find annoying. Others can be difficult to maneuver at slow speeds. Many jet drives aren’t trimmable, so they can’t be used to adjust the boat’s running attitude. There’s a power loss with jets as compared to propellers, usually to the tune of 20 to 30 percent. And there aren’t many jet boats over 30 or so feet out there, so unless you’re looking for a relatively small boat your choices will be limited.

Whether a jet boat will or will not be the best among the many types of small boats for you to choose is a judgment call that only you can make, based on your priorities and how you plan to use your boat. However, in some cases (such as those boaters running through rocky rivers) you won’t really have much of a choice because a jet boat may be the only realistic option. Whether you’re searching for a jet boat due to desire or necessity, in all likelihood one of these top brands will fit the bill.

 

 

Best Fishing Jet Boats

Fishing is the main reason many of us buy a boat, and in certain environments, a jet boat will be your natural choice. In some other cases, you may want to buy a jet boat for combined fishing and family watersports use. Either way you’re in luck, because there are plenty of jet boats out there that are designed with anglers in mind.

 

G3

If you need a fishing boat that can bounce off rocks and stumps as it sneaks into ankle-deep waters without running aground, you’ll be interested in the Gator Tough Tunnel Jon models from G3 Boats. The all-welded aluminum hulls incorporate tunnels to feed water to the jet so it can sit higher than usual, and few boats can run or float in less water than these. Fishing features run the gamut, including livewells, locking rod storage, and multiple options for factory-installed fishfinders and electric trolling motors. Hunters will love using these boats for their sporting adventures, too, since they’re all available in Mossy Oak or Shadow Grass camo pattern finishes, among others. G3 boats for sale

 

G3 Gator Tough Tunnel Jon 18 CCT GLX

G3 Gator Tough Tunnel Jon 18 CCT GLX. G3 Boats photo.

 

StealthCraft

Anglers who enjoy river fishing from drift boats but want to add a serious dose of power when desired will be very interested in the StealthCraft line of Power Drifter Sled boats. These unique honeycomb-cored hulls are reinforced with laminated aluminum in the chines and bow, and are available in center console and flat or modified-V hull bottoms. However, they’re also designed to row like traditional drift boats, so you can fish in the style you enjoy. 

 

Stealthcraft 16 Power Drifter Sled

StealthCraft 16 Power Drifter Sled. StealthCraft photo.

 

Yamaha

Yamaha builds the most diverse lineup of jet-powered center console fishing boats around, with eight models in the lineup ranging from 19’5” to 24’6”. All run on single or twin 1.8 or 1.9L Yamaha four-stroke inboard engines coupled to high-pressure pumps with three-blade stainless-steel impellers. Fishing features common to the lineup include livewells, flush-mounted gunwale rodholders, insulated fishboxes, and integrated tackle stowage. These boats are also rigged for watersports fun, with goodies like marine stereo systems, integrated swim platforms, ski tow-eyes, and changing areas/head compartments inside the console. Yamaha boats for sale

 

Yamaha-190 FSH Sport

Yamaha-190 FSH Sport. Yamaha photo.

 

Best Aluminum Jet Boats

Many of the aluminum jet boat options out there are also fishing boats, and before going any further we want to note that the aluminum brands mentioned in our Best Fishing Jet Boats section could qualify for this one, too. We should also point out that the upcoming boats may also qualify as among the best river jet boats, since running many rivers generally includes the risk of severe impact damage with fiberglass boats. Aluminum tends to bounce off or dent as opposed to shattering, so it’s generally considered superior for these environments.

 

Rogue

Rogue boats are a bit unusual in that they offer some of the best river jet boats out there not just for fishing, but also for all-around boating use and for special purposes as well. They even make a “landing craft” series with a huge cargo deck and a drop-down bow. Unlike most builders, Rogue approaches each vessel as an individual project rather than building them on an assembly line, with 0.250” thick aluminum in impact zones and high-grade 5086 marine alloys in the hull and transom. In fact, these boats are so well built that Rogue offers a lifetime hull warranty.

 

Rogue Fastwater

Rogue Fastwater. Rogue Jet Boatworks photo. 

 

SeaArk

Sea Ark has among the widest range of aluminum offerings, including a line called the MVJT Jon series, which is a tunnel-drive boat designed specifically for jet outboards. Sizes range from the 1652 to the 2472 MVJT (16’ to 24’), and they also have some fishing-specific tunnel models. Like all SeaArk aluminum boats, these are built with extruded ribs, caprails, and keels, are wood-free with heavy gauge aluminum decks, and are NMMA certified. 

 

SeaArk MVJT

SeaArk MVJT. SeaArk Boats photo. 

 

Thunder Jet

Thunder Jet builds a lineup of heavy-gauge aluminum jet boats that run the gamut from inboards to outboards, including everything from river boats to ocean-going offshore fishing machines. And when they say heavy-duty, they mean it—as an example, the 185 Luxor has a 0.190” thick hull bottom and 0.125” sides. The lineup goes from 18’6” all the way up to 32’3” long, including dual console, cuddy cabin, and full cabin models. Each is highly customizable, with options like fishing packages, ski pylons, and multiple hard-top configurations. Thunder Jet boats for sale

 

Thunder Jet Offshore Pilot

Thunder Jet Offshore Pilot. Thunder Jet photo. 

 

Best Jet Boat Tender Brands

Inboard jet boats make great tenders for larger yachts and luxury vessels. They require a lot less space to stow than a tender with a regular outboard hanging off the back, and they can be nosed up onto beaches without worry of running aground and bending a propeller blade. As a result, there are a small number of builders who focus on purpose-built jet boat tenders.

 

AB Inflatables

 The Diesel, XP, and S series inflatable RIBs by AB Inflatables are dedicated tenders designed for easily storing aboard a yacht and carrying the maximum number of passengers back and forth to port. Even their smallest boat can carry four people despite being under 10’. Power comes via Rotax ACE and 4-TEC jet engines or, in the case of their diesel model, a turbocharged Yanmar 4JH110. Tubes are 820 Orca CSM fabric, which is weather, chemical, and abrasion-resistant. AB Inflatables boats for sale

 

AB Inflatables S Series

AB Inflatables S Series. AB Inflatables photo. 

 

Castoldi

Italian builder Castoldi crafts a lineup of 14’ to 28’ RIB jet tenders plus a 34’ Limo. Many of these have very unique styling with tubes integrated into the gunwales and bow to present a sleeker look than other RIBs. Their hulls are designed specifically for jet propulsion and several of their models are even SOLAS-approved rescue boats with an integrated self-righting system. Unlike most jet tender builders Castoldi makes its own waterjet drives (powered by Yanmar diesels), which can be found on many other types of jet boats including commercial, military, and recreational vessels. In 2022, Castoldi launched a U.S. division to expand its presence in the Americas. Castoldi boats for sale

 

Castoldi Jet Tender 21

Castoldi Jet Tender 21. Castoldi photo. 

 

Williams Jet Tenders

Whether you’re outfitting a superyacht or a large luxury cruiser, Williams Jet Tenders makes an inflatable RIB jet boat to match. Their lineup starts with a 9’2” Mini Jet that can hold three people and ranges up to a 23’3” model that seats up to 13. All of these are inboard jets, with both gasoline- and diesel-fueled options. Since they are all specifically designed to be tenders several have unusual features or options like quick deflating bows for easier garage stowing, lifting points for use with a crane, or matching platform carrying kits. Williams has even designed some of these for specific yacht models to make the most of their available onboard tender stowage areas. Williams Jet Tenders boats for sale

 

Williams Jet Tenders EvoJet 70

Williams Jet Tenders EvoJet 70. Williams Jet Tenders photo. 

 

Best Affordable Jet Boats

Affordability is in the eye of the beholder, but there’s no denying that some jet boats are more affordable than others. These top brands offer affordability on one level or another that sets them apart from the crowd.

 

Lowe

Lowe Boats are extremely popular, and this builder has a massive lineup, including several tunnel jet models as well as standard-issue aluminum boats that can be rigged with jet outboards. As a huge builder, Lowe enjoys the advantages of economy of scale, and although many of their models are well-equipped with features for fishing, watersports, and even some luxury touches, their pricing undercuts that of many other builders. Lowe boats for sale

 

Lowe Roughneck 1860 Tunnel Jet

Lowe Roughneck 1860 Tunnel Jet. Lowe Boats photo. 

 

Sea-Doo

Known mostly for personal watercraft, Sea-Doo may seem like a strange choice for a candidate as best affordable jet boats. But PWCs are boats, too, albeit small ones. And with small size comes a relatively small price tag. On top of that, Sea-Doo also offers the Switch models, which are tri-toons with rotomolded polyethylene hulls and Rotax jet drives, controlled via motorcycle-like handlebars at the helm station. These go all the way down to a 13’ model, which is far more affordable than the average jet boat. Check out the many Sea-Doo boats for sale in the Rightboat listings.

 

Sea-Doo Switch

Sea-Doo Switch. Sea-Doo photo.

 

Scarab

Most of Scarab’s lineup of jet boats is relatively expensive, however, this brand makes the grade for best affordable jet boats because they offer the smallest full-featured fiberglass jet boat around, the 165 ID. Naturally smaller boats tend to cost less than larger ones, and no other builder has a similar offering in this size range (15’9” long by 7’1” wide). Yet the 165 ID comes with a healthy list of standard features like a ski tow bar, cruise control, a Bluetooth stereo system, and a Bimini top. Even the trailer is included for the stock boat. Check out the many Scarab boats for sale in the Rightboat listings.

 

Scarab 165 ID

Scarab 165 ID. Scarab photo.

 

Best Used Jet Boats

If you’re looking to purchase a used jet boat rather than a new model, you’ll have no problem finding plenty to consider. That said, the vast majority of the used jet boats on the market were built by one of these two brands.

 

Scarab

Scarab has a wide range of offerings from 15’9” all the way up to a 28-footer, and they’ve been building jet boats and jet boats alone for over a decade. So, as you might expect, there are plenty of Scarab hulls out there on the water. They’re powered with Rotax 4-TEC four-stroke inboard and jet drives, and many modern models have techy features like iNR Intelligent Neutral and Reverse electronic control systems. 

 

Scarab 285 ID

Scarab 285 ID. Scarab photo.

 

Yamaha

Yamaha isn’t just the most popular jet boat on the water, it’s among the most popular bowrider boat brands of any power type. As a result, you’ll run across more used Yamaha jet boats than any other brand. With 30 models in today’s lineup and dozens that have been retired through the years, whatever size or type of used jet boat you may be looking for, there’s a good chance Yamaha will come up during your search.

 

Yamaha 255 XE

Yamaha 255 XE. Yamaha photo.

 

Are you ready to start your search, and find the ideal jet boat for you and your family? We hope so. Because if a jet boat is the right type of boat for you, one of these best jet boat brands—or a boat built by one of the many other manufacturers out there—is a great way to make that family happy.

 

This article was published in January 2024 and updated in March 2024. 

 

Written By: Lenny Rudow

With over three decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to dozens of boating and fishing publications and websites. Rudow lives in Annapolis, Maryland, and is currently Angler in Chief at Rudow’s FishTalk; he is a past president of Boating Writers International (BWI), a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.

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