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Author Topic:   The Problematic Nature of the Boston Whaler RAGE
Noreaster posted 08-07-2006 05:49 PM ET (US)   Profile for Noreaster   Send Email to Noreaster  
I have a good friend looking very seriously at jet boats. I looked at a couple of Seadoo's and found them to be oversized jet skis. I have done some research and found that the OMC powered RAGE could be problematic. Is this true? I honestly have very little knowledge with this propulsion, so I came to the holy grail of Boston Whaler. Any and all information will be greatly apreciated.


BOB KEMMLER JR posted 08-07-2006 05:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for BOB KEMMLER JR    
If he absolutely must have a Jet boat,get the 175 Merc sportjet 15 Rage,built in 1997/98 or the 1998 18 Rage with the 302 or 351 ford/american turbine jetdrive.there's a REALLY clean 18 rage on ebay now in mich.
Noreaster posted 08-07-2006 06:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Noreaster  Send Email to Noreaster     
Thanks Bob

I have noticed that BW made a rage powered by Yamaha then OMC and Mercury.
Have there been problems with the OMC powered Rage?


BOB KEMMLER JR posted 08-07-2006 06:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for BOB KEMMLER JR    
There are a few on here who have had decent luck with them.However most of the people on here haven't been so lucky,myself included.The Yamaha Rages seem to be pretty reliable,but were pretty sluggish.They truly were over glorified jet ski's.Back to the OMC rages,they tended to be prone to over heating and then powerhead failure.The merc sportjet rages seem to be the best of the crop,but thier prices reflect that as they go for much higher than a OMC or Yamaha Rage.Just curious,whats the reason why he is set on a jet boat?The only thing i see the jets have going for them is the ability to do 360's
Noreaster posted 08-07-2006 06:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Noreaster  Send Email to Noreaster     
He is looking for a boat without a prop as he plans to use it for towing tubes etc; and feels more comfortable with the jet drive.
BOB KEMMLER JR posted 08-07-2006 07:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for BOB KEMMLER JR    
Gotcha.Here's a nice one at a decent price if it's still for sale.This one will have no problem pulling a tube full of kids.
Noreaster posted 08-07-2006 07:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Noreaster  Send Email to Noreaster     
Thanks Bob

He is in the 5-7K range. I guess that is why he has seen mostly OMC power.

BOB KEMMLER JR posted 08-07-2006 07:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for BOB KEMMLER JR    
I think in that price range i'd find me a 15 classic with a 70 hp,then put a jet lower unit on it.Even with the jet hp loss it should still have plenty of suds to pull a tube or skier.
TRAFFICLAWYER posted 08-07-2006 08:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
"Friends" don't let "friends buy 'JET' boats!
Martino posted 08-07-2006 10:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Martino  Send Email to Martino     
I have an original Rage, with the Yamaha system. Fantastic boat. More fun than anything else I have ever run. Simple, easy to maintain. Parts are plentiful and cheap. People I bought it from used it as a dive boat in the Florida Keys. It's seen rough use its whole life, and is still dependable.
PeteB88 posted 08-08-2006 12:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Whatever, jet boats are for running white water. Weeds eat them.
Boatplans posted 08-08-2006 01:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Boatplans  Send Email to Boatplans     
The point of this post comparing jet boats and a propeller driven boats in my experience. Perhaps the readers will remember some of the beautiful hot rod jet boats from the 60s and 70s, particularly the ones with big block 454 ci Chevy engines, chrome exhaust stacks, beautiful paint and Berkeley Jet Drive. This type of boat may not appeal to Boston Whaler owners, but one has to admit they are wonderful machines.

The reason these boats are not so popular these days is because their owners have discovered that almost any bass boat is faster, not only in acceleration but also in top speed. Big block jet boats are superior in making noise. They are spectacular, with the plume of water going out the back and the bellowing exhaust echoing off the mountains of Tennessee and Alabama ... on California and Arizona lakes too ... but they are not particularly fast by today's standards.

Even white water is better run with a propeller. Plenty of boaters will debate that one. However, the premier white water the United States is in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado. Motors are discouraged in Grand Canyon. Nevertheless, they are essential for commercial passengers with only a week of vacation. An oar powered Grand Canyon expedition requires almost a month away from the office making it impractical for most but the idle rich, the committed white water enthusiast, or the unemployed. The Honda 40 horse outboard with a propeller is by far the most common motor in Grand Canyon.

Jet boats do have a place where they are much desired. This is when swimmers are in the water around boats with relatively novice boat operators. There is no debate, jet drive ought to be REQUIRED around swimmers unless the operator has been specifically trained about how to operate a propeller driven boat around swimmers.

BOB KEMMLER JR posted 08-08-2006 01:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for BOB KEMMLER JR    
Can't long hair,clothes and limbs get sucked into a jet pump?is it possible for someone to be held under by the suction of a jet pump and thus drowning them?Not trying to debate here,just wondering if thats a real threat or not?
Iceberg posted 08-08-2006 03:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Iceberg  Send Email to Iceberg     
I love my little '93 Yamaha powered Rage. It is a great family friendly boat that is safe around the kids (& very cheap to maintain). It does need some more suds so I'm upgrading the powerplant this winter. You can install a new big bore long block for less the price of a 10 hp 4 stroke outboard. Additionally, the Yamaha drivetrain is near bulletproof (not like a OMC or Merc SportJet). Many a Columbia RiverJet jocky has spoken I'll of the Merc SportJet.
I have never heard of anyone geeting hurt by a jet pump, however we have lots of prop injuries every year on the Columbia River and our local lakes. My Rage is the third JetBoat that I have owned. I had a 14' SeaDoo Challenger that we loved and a 18' Steensen Aluminum sled (200 Merc w/ a jet pump). My wife and kids love jet boats and thier great performance. My kids really love running full out and throwing the jet into reverse and stopping like no prop powered boat could. Out on the lakes & the rivers and it is also a great piece of mind to know that your not going to run your kid through a prop.
pglein posted 08-08-2006 03:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     
If your friend wants a boat to use for watersports, I think he will find that any jet powered boat will be at a sever disadvantage for that activity.

They accelerate slower, they kick up more spray in the wake, and they have inferior maneauverability at low speed.

Your friend would be better served to get a prop powered boat and simply leave it in neutral or shut the engine off when there is a swimmer in the water, as you should do with ANY boat, jet or prop powered. If he's truly concerned about it, an inboard powered boat provides the most protection for swimmers of any style.

Jet boats are good at two things: 360's and running in VERY shallow water. Anything else, and you're better of with a prop.

pglein posted 08-08-2006 04:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     
And I did run over a person once in my Whaler. He was sitting on the bow and fell overboard while pulling a kneeboarder (I'd told him not to sit there many times). While he did get some cuts on his arm from the propeller, his most severe injury was a bump on the head from the hull of the boat. You'd get that no matter what kind of engine you had. The cuts on his arm were not bad, as the propeller just knocked his limbs out of the way, rather than slicing through them. He was lucky, to be sure, but the propeller is not the limb mangling menace that many people seem to think it is. I'd be much more scared of an impeller, with it's strong suction, than a propeller.
Iceberg posted 08-08-2006 05:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Iceberg  Send Email to Iceberg     
I've had many outboard and inboard powered prop boats in my life but have never had more fun than in a Jetboat. The 135 hp jet in my Seadoo never had a problem pulling up my kids on ski(s) or pulling a water toy. Now my little 50 hp Rage has no problems with pulling a tube, but will never pull up a average size girl or boy with my full figured male in the boat as variable ballast. I would really love to get one of the V8 powered 18' Rage jet boats that were made several years ago.
Jets are a different bread than prop boats and do require some boat handling adjustments. However, they are great fun for the family and that is what boating is all about.
pglein posted 08-08-2006 06:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     
A 15' Sport with a 50hp outboard would have no problem pulling up a full-grown waterskiier. That's the biggest performance difference between propeller and impeller powered boats. Propellers are just plain more efficient at puting force to the water. MUCH more efficient.
jimh posted 08-08-2006 10:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Modern naval engineering has shown that jet-power can be more efficient than propeller power as the speed increases. There is no loss to drag from pulling the propeller and its shaft or skeg through the water. Also, the inlet of water to the jet becomes very effective as speed increases, pre-loading the jet pump impeller with water already moving rapidly. However, this does not mean that a Boston Whaler RAGE will possess these qualities.
BADAZGN posted 08-09-2006 03:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for BADAZGN  Send Email to BADAZGN     
I just got my Rage 18 just two and a half weeks ago! I love it. I have learned how drive it vs. an I/O Each time I take it out I love it more and more. I grew up around classic whaler in Rhode Island. Now as an adult on lake s in Va. I needed more of a bow rider sport boat for the family. This boat handles it all, sport and it is a Whaler (a very rare one at that)
As far a s suction at idle there is almost none. There is a big grate blocking the intake on this boat, that I can't even slide a finger into. But I do agree and should shut off the boat when loading and unloading from the water.
However I do not have to worry about damaging props any more on teh lake!!! Running in 2 ft of water in an 18ft boat is great.

A Plus an option on the 18's was the trimable jet. I can get up on plane very quickly plus trim the boat out at top speed. My boat is a little rough because it was a salt water boat but it will get all straightened out!

Sorry about the long post, but it is all up to what you like and what your needs are. Thanks

Boatplans posted 08-10-2006 12:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for Boatplans  Send Email to Boatplans     
The readers might be interested to know; the 300 hp Mercury outboards running more than 100 mph have virtually zero boat in the water. The propulsion machinery draws about 4 inches at that speed. This is because the propeller is running in surface piercing mode.

I am not making an argument to replace jet boats in up river white water racing or any place people like them. High performance jet boats have their place. Unlike other old men, I like jet skis and have used them. Nevertheless, most jet boats are less efficient.

In rocky rivers, the ability to read water it the key to avoiding damage to equipment. The physics of the propulsion is secondary to the skill of the pilot, at least in my experience. It is also my opinion that the motor boat pilots in Grand Canyon are the best in the world. They run propellers for the simple reason there are no gas stations on the Colorado River between Lee's Ferry and Pearce’s Ferry in Lake Mead, about 280 miles. (There is no gas station at either Lee’ Ferry or Pearce’s Ferry. Both places are rather remote in themselves.) It is too far for inefficient jet drives to make it without running out of gas. Normally, a 40 horsepower outboard powered commercial boat has about 60 gallons of gasoline aboard at Lee's Ferry to start the trip.

I would also caution the unsuspecting reader about the danger of standard inboard powered runabouts, such as competition ski boats. I believe most participants in this site understand inboard ski boats are more dangerous to swimmers than outboards. Statistics don't tell all the truth here because competition ski boats are around swimmers more than other types of boats. However, it is common sense to conclude the large sharp blades of these 14 inch wheels with no skeg or gear case ahead of them dictate extreme caution around swimmers. It is my good deed of the day to caution everyone about the danger of inboard ski boats to swimmers, especially for those with teenagers who might participate in the sport.

Noreaster posted 08-12-2006 08:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Noreaster  Send Email to Noreaster     
Thanks for all the thoughtful information. My friend is on the Whaler hunt now.
Just one more time on the OMC powered Rage. I have read pros and cons about this motor, and would like a bit more feedback whether these are dependable or not?

Thank You

Martino posted 08-12-2006 09:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Martino  Send Email to Martino     
While I am sure the powerhead is stock, I have heard that the drive components may be hard to come by, especially in the future. That's another reason why the Yamaha version is the only one I would own.
Noreaster posted 08-12-2006 09:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Noreaster  Send Email to Noreaster     
Thank you Martino
JimIslander posted 03-09-2008 10:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for JimIslander  Send Email to JimIslander     
I've owned my OMC-powered 15' Rage for about 5 years now. Great little boat. No problems with the engine. Did have to replace the shift/throttle cable.
Mambo Minnow posted 03-09-2008 12:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mambo Minnow  Send Email to Mambo Minnow     
The new Fast Rescue Boats outfitted on my new Naval vessel are waterjet drive propulsion, in a departure from the traditional outboard or inboard powered RHIB.

The reason: the boat's primary intended purpose is to rescue someone in a man overboard scenatio and the designer's thinking is a propless small boat is inherently safer.

HuronBob posted 03-09-2008 01:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for HuronBob  Send Email to HuronBob     
hey, guys...this thread is nearly two years old... I'm guessing he's either bought the boat or decided not to by


towboater posted 03-09-2008 02:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for towboater  Send Email to towboater     
Holy grail?
Tho Ive never been aboard a Rage, I agree with your summary Noreast. "I looked at a couple of Seadoo's and found them to be oversized jet skis."
I own a 1200 CC Honda 3 seater jet ski that will cruise 60 and set you back when you crack it wot.
Lots of fun...lots of limitations.

Biscuits need lots of hole shot power & a lookout (more weight). My kids prefer being towed by prop boats over jet boat constantly spraying into their eyes like a fire hose. Jet boats usually dont have much of a wave crest to provide jumps but they are better for power slides.

In a nutshell, consider, jet skis and Rage limitations are similar to owning a single trail bike and inviting your family to go camping with you in the hills. Im serious.
Independant joy rides, great.
Family outing (4 or more), towing bisquits, NO.


sts475 posted 09-21-2008 05:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for sts475  Send Email to sts475     

To the guy who says that white water is better run with a prop
must not have very much experience running it with one.
I can tell you from personal experience that if you're in serious white water and hit a rock with your prop and clean off some blades, you could be in serious trouble! Plus, if
you're jamming up a river and come around a corner and it shallows out to 4 or 5 inches, you are not going to make it.
Use common sense here. Unless you have years of shallow water river navigating experience, get a jet and don't even think about a prop. It's easier to clean out a jet intake than it is to replace a prop or lower unit out on the water. As far as things or people getting sucked into the jet, again, use common sense and shut the engine off when people are getting in. As far as sucking a rope in, pay attention and keep track of where it is. Most of the places that have white water, especially here on the west coast, the water temp is such that if you can't get out within 2 minutes, your chances of survival are slim. If you're are knocked out and not revived within 2 minutes, the chances are better that you will not make it at all. Be safe and be smart on the water. The best thing about a whaler is that they don't sink so it is one of the safest boats out there.

Good Luck!


sapple posted 09-21-2008 06:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for sapple  Send Email to sapple     
I have limited experience with jet boats both of which left me with negative impressions. A co-worker of mine has a Seedoo jet boat. She complains that on one occasion it sucked a stick into the intake which eventually cost her about $600.00 in repairs. She is now afraid to take it anywhere where there is floating debris, which is just about everywhere.

On another occasion as I was backing my boat at a ramp a guy was trying to start his BW 15 Rage. By the time I launched my boat, parked my trailer, returned to my boat, started and left he was still at the dock trying to start his boat.

On the other hand I think the BW Rage is a very nice looking boat and nicely layed out.

pj posted 10-22-2008 12:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for pj  Send Email to pj     
I know very little about BWs except that I like their looks and reputation. I'm looking at at 15' with a Yamaha jetdrive that is a 1992. Is that a Rage? Is it a 50 or 58 HP? Does anyone know anything about this particular model? Is this a good boat or problematic?
Thanks for whatever info or advice you might have.
TRAFFICLAWYER posted 10-22-2008 02:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
If it's FREE take it, otherwise keep looking.
Katsaras posted 10-26-2008 04:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Katsaras  Send Email to Katsaras     
regarding the Boston Whaler rage, I am noticing through out the inner net, that the negative comments are all by one or two of the same people that have had negative experiences with used boats not new ones. Most people who have "Rages" run them seriously hard under seriously hard conditions. tubing, skiing and white water runs are very hard on any equipment and don't sell them until after they have worn them out. Also, consider that location is also a factor. The Florida Keys, for example, is one of the harshest environments to be found anywhere in the world. Consider that the water in the Keys during summer runs upward of 80+ degrees & exceptionally high Salinity makes for a very corrosive atmosphere, fresh tap water is at a premium, therefore, running fresh water is discouraged and expensive. Most boats in the keys just sit in the water year around and are usually used on a daily basis. A friend of mine, Capt. Nick has actually replaced 5 OMC power heads and 3 impeller assemblies and a few gears and bearings in less than 6 years. Except for the first power head, which was already worn out when he bought the boat, a 1994 15foot Rage,each power head that he wore out, had more than 1000 hours of continuous, very rough, full throttle, usage. His 5 kids and now (many???) Grand kids and their friends have loved this boat, Capt. Nick, says it is safe and reliable, the area where the boat is used is only wet on the surface with coral heads that are 2" submerged at medium tide. This particular boat is now at the point where it is no longer serviceable because of the many patches and repairs due to collisions with underwater obstacles most likely has already been discarded since I was in the keys a year ago. Everyone I talk to at dockside that has a running Rage, in south Florida and the keys love their boat and report no problems with exceptional safe reliability. I know that I certainly love mine too. I recommend is that you install an hour meter, observe the proper maintenance adjust your throttle and shift cables occasionally, change your alarm sensors occasionally and replace thermostats timely. Use anti corrosion grease and sprays liberally and often.
my boat is also a 1994 rage with 115hp Omc. I use it as a Yahct tender but my kids use it for everything else. Mine has 700+ hours on it and still runs strong.
Capt George, Miami
imkrn posted 03-18-2009 05:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for imkrn  Send Email to imkrn     
I realize this is an old post but as a longtime jet fan as well as a whaler fan, I thought I would Chime in.

First for the idiot with multiple anti jet posts who is also the only one I've ever heard of actually running over someone (and cutting them up) with a boat. Jet boats or for those with some brains and common sense, obviously you have neither. Wow no prop to chop your friend up when you knock him off your boat. Duh, no advantage to that!!!

I have owned numerous boats and whalers. Like many I fell in love with the 13ft. Whaler watching flipper as a kid. I owned that same thirteen footer and of course overpowered it with a 55. Boy, that was lots of fun.

Whaler Rages pop up from time to time, so I was doing some checking, which led me here.

Without ever having driven in one I would think the 18ft. Rage with a Ford and an American turbine drive,(improved Berkeley clone) would have to be an unbelievable combination . I have owned a Berkeley jet with a big block Ford in a Glastron CV 23 for eighteen years. Simple, economical, incredibly manuverable and reasonably trouble free. I just wish The Glastron was built like a Whaler.

The only real drawback to owning a jet is clogging the intake with weeds. Anyone who has hit a rock hard with an outboard or an out drive can certainly appreciate a jet and having nothing below the bottom of the boat.

My wife doe not freak when I come near a skiier with the jet, (priceless)

A few must haves that I found very helpful.
A rev limiter
A Rake (I made one) to clear the intake grate without getting in the water.
A Place Divertor -- Power Trim

I have no experience with two stroke jets aside from friends jet skis. I have had great results with lower revving, bigger displacement 4 stroke jets. If your content to go real fast, 40-45, instead of very, very fast, 55 + they are economical as well. (3500-4000 rpm)

I was lucky and got away with $1,100 for an aftermarket lower unit on my 175 merk on my deck boat. I haven't spent that in 18 years of owning a jet drive.

And of course a fifteen footer is going to act like a small boat. It is a small boat. You get a lot of boat in fifteen foot Whaler. Get in a fifteen foot that is not a Whaler and you might prefer the jet ski.

Gibson posted 05-27-2009 06:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Gibson  Send Email to Gibson     
I have owned a 115 OMC Rage and a 175 Mercury Rage, and have just purchased a used 1997 175. (I have also owned and operated an experimental boat with a Scott twin-stage jet, a surface-drive single prop, and a Hinckley Picnic Boat with a single stage Hamilton.) Needless to say, I do like jets.

The OMC engine is junk; extremely hard to start, smokey in the extreme, no mid-range power, soft nylon gear teeth driving critical elements that hardly last a season, and an infernal clean-out procedure that can make a patient man scream even when standing in waist high water when you try to resecure the outlet nozzle to the pump body. In deeper waters, you are in deeper trouble.

The 175 I had was a sweetie and although it often clogged with Maine coast seaweed, I would reach over the transom with a gardener's hand rake to claw the intake grill clear. I regretfully parted with it when I took on two larger boats and have only just this week corrected that mistake by acquiring another 175 Rage. I can think of no safer boat to lend to non-nautical houseguests, and if it gets poorer gas 'mileage' than an outboard, I'll make up the difference with the props and lower unit clutches I never need purchase. Jets are less efficient than standard props below about thirty knots, are less efficient than counter-rotating props up though forty knots, are less efficient than surfce drives at speeds below fifty knots, are equal to surface drives from 50 to 65 knots, and beat everything except Wing-in-Ground Effect above 65 knots.

On bigger boats where one cannot reach the intake grill with a hand rake, only a true reverse gearbox ( a la Hinckley) really works. I had a hydraulically operated 'stomp-grate' which worked well when underway with speed on but was useless if weeds drifted under the boat at start-up.

In sum, grill clogging was the only downside to these jets, and can be solved with a gardener's hand rake.

dclancy posted 07-19-2009 11:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for dclancy  Send Email to dclancy     
Where can I find a shift/throttle cable for my Rage 18 JET?
boatdryver posted 07-20-2009 02:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for boatdryver  Send Email to boatdryver     
There's been a lot of chit chat about the jetboats derived from jetski platforms and there may be a tendency to apply all the problems of those craft with 2 cycle power to all jet drive vessels.

Here's a photo of the real thing- my own 22 ft welded aluminum whitewater boat with inboard 5.7 litre GMC Vortec fuel injection and a modern Hamilton jet pump from New Zealand.

This has been the most trouble free boat I've ever owned. I get 4.9 gallons per hour at 25 mph which is 3400 rpm.

I agree with others that in lakes with weeds close to the surface jet intakes will get plugged. Its easy to avoid sucking up gravel with just a little experience.

It's true that you won't chop off any arms or legs with a jet boat but if you run over someone at speed you're still going to cause a severe injury.


bkovak posted 07-29-2009 05:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for bkovak  Send Email to bkovak     
While trying not to stray too far off topic, I will offer some advice on the propeller issue and preventing injuries from them. I recently purchased a prop guard for one of my outboards as I do a lot of boating on the Delaware River, which is very rocky. The prop guard was installed on my outboard to protect the prop from the rocks. However, it is equally effective in preventing injuries to swimmers and marine life as it completely surrounds the prop!

In addition, I noticed an improvement in performance and handling. There are several different versions on the market. While I have no ties to the manufacturer, it is a worthwhile product to consider, is under $200 for most motors and easy to install. Here's a link ... Brian

bkovak posted 07-29-2009 05:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for bkovak  Send Email to bkovak     
Forgot to add the hyperlink code -
popcorn posted 10-28-2010 10:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for popcorn  Send Email to popcorn     
This little Merc 175 Sportjet I've had for two years out runs out fish all the V8's up here in northern ca. I hear till they make a 250 horse that will drop right if i lose this 175. Might have to plug the intake with a pair of old wader,to get this motor to slow down long enough to change it out. GO RAGE.

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