Problems With Scarab Boats? 5 Most-Common Issues

Scarab Boats came from a long pedigree of racing boats and were made famous in the mid-’80s when actor Don Johnson drove a Scarab Boat in Miami Vice’s mega-hit TV show.

Team Scarab, which was started in 1975, originally built hardcore race boats and then partnered with Wellcraft, who built Scarab Boats under license. Scarab Boats were hugely successful during the 80s and 90s, especially after their very popular TV exposure.

The company was sold many times and is now owned by the Beneteau Group who uses the Scarab name to build and promote a line of small jet boats.

Older Scarab fans will all agree that the company is not what it was, but Scarab Boats still has a significant following in today’s entry-level jet boat market.

The 5 Most-Common Problems With Scarab Boats

The older Scarab Boats, built by Team Scarab and Wellcraft, were known for their speed, striking good looks, and being well built.

However, the brand went into decline, and after the Beneteau Group bought the brand Scarab Boats was relaunched as a line of jet boats in 2014.

This article will look at the common problems of these small jet boats manufactured under the Beneteau Group lineup of brands.

1.  Engine Goes Into “Limp Mode.”

There are some complaints on the various boating forums about Scarab Boats going into limp mode for no apparent reason.

Limp mode is caused by a problem with the engine, which causes your engine to ease power and allow you to ‘limp’ slowly home or back to the launch site.

In jet engines, the limp mode may be caused by the engine sucking up some dirt like seaweed, bits of wood, or small stones that can get stuck in the jet. Usually, these objects can be easily cleared, and the engine can be reset.

Other causes can include engine overheating or a sensed low oil pressure condition. Sometimes the switches or sensors that control the limp mode fail and activate limp mode even though there is no real problem.

If you are experiencing this problem without finding the cause, your nearest Scarab Boat dealer should be able to help you diagnose the problem.

2. Trailer Lights Filling With Water

Getting water inside the lights when either launching or picking up your boat out of the water can be a problem, no matter if you are using normal bulbs or LED lights for your Scarab Boat trailer.

However, this problem is not specific to Scarab Boat trailers.

Unfortunately, trailer lights are not water-tight and never will be. The problem can be solved by trying to seal the covers with some silicone sealant and drilling a hole at the very bottom of the unit so that if water gets in, it can easily and quickly drain out again.

3. Screws Falling Out

There are many complaints on the different boating forums about screws not being properly secured and falling out.

Whether the screws are securing a through-hull fitting or even the bimini top, the complaints are the same.

“The post screws on the bimini top backed themselves out under hard winds with the bimini top open. I guess from the rattling the wind was causing, but honestly, they really aren’t secured in there that well.”


“Screws through the hull are secured with silicone not molded into the fiberglass, so if you need to take off the impeller grate guards, the nuts will fall off the interior of the hull.”


There are many more complaints about loose screws throughout Scarab Boats across the internet.

If you are a practical boat owner, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem to check your boat regularly and tighten any loose screws, but this is a concern to new boat owners.

4. Water Inside The Lockers

Water sitting inside storage lockers on any Scarab Boat models seems to be a common problem and maybe down to a design flaw. Scarab Boat owners complain of water sitting in their anchor locker and the ski or storage locker, which never drains away and must be manually sponged out.

The problem is that the drain holes sit roughly 1 inch (or 2.5cm) above the bottom of the lockers, so the last of the water cannot drain out unless the boat is tilted at an angle steep enough for the water to drain out.

The good news is that the water doesn’t seem to be coming inside the boat from any leaks. Rather, water has come in from either a wave crashing over the bow or water from hosing down or cleaning the boat.

5. Overall Bad Finishing

Most, if not all, boats are put together in a factory by people, and people can make mistakes.

That’s why most boat manufacturers will have a quality control checklist of things to look out for before a boat leaves the factory. During the research for this article, I found no reference about factory quality control at Scarab Boats, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

However, there are many boating forums about overall bad finishing and the poor quality of newly purchased Scarab Boats.

These complaints include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Fiberglass shavings from drilling the through-hull fittings left inside the boat
  • Cable ties found in the engine compartment
  • Loose screws and bolts
  • Hatches, covers, and openings not aligning properly
  • Windshields are loose as they are not installed properly
  • Bimini collapsing (due to loose screws)
  • Compartments are not self-draining
  • Upholstery stitching coming loose
  • Electronics failing

Any brand can produce a bad boat or a lemon, but Scarab Boats seem to have some issues with their quality control, no matter how small, or the problem can be easily fixed.

General Pros And Cons For Scarab Boats

Scarab Boats are a very popular entry-level jet boat despite the problems listed above. Let’s take a look at some of their pro and cons:

The Pros

After Sea-Doo dropped out of the small jet boat market to concentrate on their jet ski range, Scarab saw a gap in the market. They designed an affordable range of small jet boats that were eye-catching and easy to drive.

In addition, Scarab Boats are the only small jet boat that offers their exclusive INR (Intelligent Neutral & Reverse) system, which improves handling and maneuverability, especially when docking your boat.

The legendary Rotax 4-TEC Engine is one of the fastest and most proven jet propulsion engines on the market. With Rotax® Jet Power, safety is first as you do not need to worry about a propeller when swimming, fishing, wakeboarding, or skiing near or around your boat.

And if all that isn’t enough, then Scarab offers one of the best warranties on the market. They offer a 3-year warranty on components, a 5-year osmosis warranty, and a lifetime structural hull and deck warranty transferable to a second owner.

The Cons

  • The engine goes into limp mode for no apparent reason
  • Trailer lights filling with water
  • Screws falling out
  • Water inside the lockers
  • Overall bad finishing

What Do the Reviews Say?

“The Scarab 165 G may be a small boat but it is packed full of enjoyment and fun and it’s easy to transport to and from whatever body of water pleases your fancy that particular day.”


“In the day’s end, we felt as if Scarab has hit the mark. It’s quick, comfortable, and ought to satisfy many folks. If watersports are the item or you need a little more luxury baked in, you can update to the 215 HO. Either way, you are in for a ton of fun.”


What’s the Resale Value On Scarab Boats?

Scarab Boats make a range of 6 small jet boats from the 165 ID up to the 285 ID.

This market sector seemed to hold its value relatively well, despite the common problems listed above.

Let’s take a look at the resale value of one of their more popular models, the Scarab 255 ID:

Model Year Price
Scarab 255 ID 2022 $116,494
Scarab 255 ID 2020 $94,999

At first glance, these prices represent a decrease in value of around 18.5% for two years of boating.

However, if we dig a little deeper and check the retail price for the 2020 Scarab 255 ID, the Nada Guide gives the average retail price of the 2020 basic boat at that time as $81,550.

Even if we add any upgrades to the now secondhand 2020 model, Scarab Boats seem to hold their value pretty well!

Final Thoughts

While the newer Scarab Boats have nothing in common with the original boats, they still have followers who love their Scarab Boat.

So if you are in the market for a fast, fun, and easy boat to maneuver, check out Scarab Boats, as they may even surprise you.


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