Marada 18SKE Boat Review.


Supreme Mariner
Aug 10, 2006
This is a C&P from the June 2001 "Water Ski" magazine.
Hope it is both interesting and useful to you.

When it comes time to buy a boat, a lot of water-sports enthusiasts are caught in the middle. On the one hand, there are the tournament-ready specialty boats, and on the other there are a lot of recreational runabouts.

Go for the inboard and you'll have to make friends with the big V-8 engine that lives in the middle of your boat, and you will generally have to settle for a lower top-end and a marginal rough-water ride. But if you settle for the runabout, you may not get the skiing features you really want.

For a lot of serious but not quite fanatic skiers, the answer might well be a dual-purpose craft like Marada's 198 SKE. This boat started out as a 19-foot general-purpose runabout, and, in fact, Marada offers two other models built on this same hull: the Sport II and MX-2 Anniversary Gold.

Soon after it was introduced, the company learned that a lot of owners were particularly pleased with the boat's skiing capabilities. In response, Marada redesigned the interior for water-sports use and added the dedicated features expert skiers demand.

Marada is a family-owned company that believes a well-made product is the best sales tool. Using skilled local labor, the builder hand-fabricates the product line from premium materials such as Ashland resins, Armorflex gel-coats and Owens Corning Fiberglas. The hull is stiffened by a multi-grid longitudinal/transverse stringer grid hand-fabricated of XL-10. On the interior, G&T vinyls are triple-French-stitched over high-density, mildew-resistant foam.

In place of the bench-and-bucket seat layouts found on most small runabouts, the SKE offers wraparound cockpit seating that will accommodate a rear-facing observer when skiing, and also host up to five passengers when cruising or entertaining. To facilitate boarding access, the cockpit also includes a rear jump seat, which can be raised to complete the sun deck, lowered for use as a step or seat, or removed altogether.

Because storage is always an issue when there are skiers along, the SKE offers not only an oversize in-floor ski locker, but also a storage locker behind the passenger seat that

extends to the bow and will accommodate kneeboards or wakeboards. Additional storage can be found in the rear engine compartment, in the insulated glove box, under the bow seats and in the built-in gear lockers located on the swim platform.

Skiers will appreciate the tow pylon, three-step boarding ladder and conveniently placed transom grab rail, while drivers will find their

towing duties made easier by the standard AirGuide competition speedometer, CIPA mirror and throttle arm pad.

The 198 has minimal bow rise when accelerating, thanks to the hull's wide rear running surfaces. The boat also holds speed well in the 15-21 mph wakeboard range, and provides wakes that beginners and experts alike will enjoy. Within rated capacity, this boat was also able to provide the oversize ?jumbo? wake that big-air boarders crave.

Best slalom wakes were in the 30-mph range, at either 75- or 60-foot line lengths. Although not rated for barefooting this year, the 198 has earned high praise in years

past for the well-defined wake crests and flat interior table the boat provides.