When it became clear that South Carolina builder Scout Boats was unveiling their 53-foot center console with six 400-hp Mercury outboards at the Miami International Boat Show, people started perspiring, fidgeting uncontrollably and generally losing their minds. Okay, that might’ve just been me. But with the engine sextet cantilevered on a corner dock, it was hard to miss the latest high-performance offering that has helped give rise to the concession, across the industry, that outboard engines are dominating the current zeitgeist.
Nor was it a gimmick, either. A royal family member had bought hulls number one and two, outfitting both with the same engine configuration. A reflection of the times was also a reflection of itself. In that way, it was like a mirror, allowing people to see what they wanted to see: high-performance super console or impractical gas guzzler. And yet, if you had focused solely on the engines, like many people did, in person and on social media, you would’ve missed the point entirely. Forward of the transom was a handsome, solidly constructed center console, designed for configurations of four, five or—yes—six outboards from Mercury, Yamaha or Seven Marine.
“I don’t like to get passed on the water,” quipped Scout President Steve Potts, who founded the family-run company with his wife, Dianne, over 30 years ago. What was once a company of humble origins constructing jon boats has since evolved to become a major player in the high-end center console segment. “This is what you do if you really don’t want to get passed.”
Two years ago, Potts challenged his son, Stevie, vice president of development, to “create the best recreational vessel on the water.” What came out of that pursuit is the 530 LXF, rated to handle 2,700 horses, with a projected top speed of over 65 knots. Scout added a $13 million expansion to their yard outside of Charleston to accommodate the popular new model’s twin-stepped, carbon-epoxy hull design, with plans to build one 530 a month once production is in full swing.
As for amenities—where to begin? The cockpit features a clean, ergonomic tackle storage/cooking center abaft of the console. Back here, you can rig baits or grill your catch on the onyx-marble-topped cooking area, all easily within reach of two movable “floating” bar stools that can be lifted out and stowed while underway. Hydraulic side gunwales transform the already massive beam to 17 feet, 6 inches of deck space for entertaining, swimming or diving. Ready to get your fish on? With the touch of a button, you can electronically raise or lower the hardtop-mounted rocket launchers for ease of access or to deploy the SureShade.
Below deck, you’ll find over 6 feet, 5 inches of head room, a large galley/lounge area (with a wine chiller), a spacious head, separate shower and a well-appointed master stateroom. And while the 530 LXF is heavy on luxury, this boat can also fish, with two massive livewells, plenty of rod storage and outriggers.
“I would ask for a moment of silence for our competitors,” said Potts. It was a bold statement, but not without merit. Due to the overwhelming amount of interest Scout has already received in the 530, they are anticipating being sold out for at least the first year. But the silence only lasted so long. Another buildup of show-goers had congregated around the engines. —Simon Murray
Displ.: 26,500 lbs. (w/o engines)
Fuel: 875 gal.
Water: 100 gal.
Power: 5/425-hp Yamaha XTO outboards
Base Price: $2 million
Cruise Speed: 34 knots
Top Speed: 65 knots
Standard Horsepower: 2,125