Jet drive boats made their first appearance on the market in 1994. Since their introduction, many refinements have been made including improvements in fuel efficiency, passenger room and handling. One of the pioneering builders of jet boats – Sea-Doo -- exited the market a couple of years ago, leaving only Yamaha in this growing niche. Glastron has picked up the Rotax engine from BRP, which continues to make Sea-Doo PWCs with this engine. It is an Austrian design that has proved itself over the last couple of decades not only in jet boats and PWCs, but also in diverse applications such as drones. The engine’s reliability, together with Glastron’s expertise in the design and execution of sportboats augers well for this new combination.
Glastron custom trailer
GTS gel and graphics
GTS cockpit interior
Transom lounge seats
Glastron custom gauges
Swim platform mat
Fiberglass cockpit floor
Swim platform lounge seats
Glastron GTS 187 (2014-) Specifications
19′ 6'' 5.94 m
2,400 lbs. 1,090 kg
7′ 5'' 2.26 m
24 gal. 91 L
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
Glastron GTS 187 (2014-)Engine options
Currently no test numbers
1 x 150-hp Rotax 4-TEC ECT 1 x 200-hp Rotax 4-TEC ECT 1 x 250-hp Rotax 4-TEC ECT
The all-new 2014 GTS 187 marks the brand’s first voyage into jet powered pleasure boating. She brings strengths and features Glastron is known for with her, including smart styling, the Glastron’s touted (“Super Stable Vee”) SSV hull, and we assume reasonable pricing – MSRP data has yet to be announced.
The Engine is Key. Her Rotax 4-TEC jet power plant promises quick acceleration to get water skiers and wakeboarders up in a hurry and confidence in shallow water operation. Moreover, by offering models in three different horsepower ranges from 150 to 250-hp buyers can match the power to their specific application.
Most important, of course, is the fact that a jet boat eliminates an exposed propeller, eliminating a potential safety hazard. This appeals to many families, especially those with young children. However, even with jet power, the engines should be turned off whenever people are in the water swimming around the boat.
Because the Rotax engine takes up so little space and has a low profile, the Glastron GTS 187 has what we call “three tier seating.” The ladies above are sitting on the rumble seat which is an ideal place to put on skis or wakeboards. The integral swim platform becomes the second seat, and the extended swim platform is the third seat and launching pad for watersports.
The Glastron Back Story
Brand History. The Glastron began in Texas in 1956. Its models became known for their sleek styling and innovative hull designs such as the “Aqualift” tri hull and the more contemporary SSV hull, still in use today. Over the years, they achieved something akin to a near cult appeal with boating enthusiasts as far away as Europe. At one time it was the largest builder of sportboats in the world, producing over 50,000 sportboat units per year – something that today the entire industry cannot approach.
The GT Line and Legend. It is perhaps worth noting that being “cool” is part of Glastron’s boating legacy. In the long and successful franchise of James Bond feature films, one of their known hallmarks was to showcase “cool,” high tech gadgets in their action sequences. The 1973 James Bond film, “Live and Let Die”, featured one of the most exciting boat chases ever depicted in a movie, and all boats used were Glastrons. For his part, Agent 007 was driving a Glastron GT.
Glastron’s first entrée in the jet boat class is new for 2014 and designed for sport and fun on the water. Note that the re-boarding ladder is on the centerline, something that is prohibited with sterndrive boats.
In the 1990s, the Glastron brand was acquired by Genmar Holdings and manufacturing was moved to Minnesota. As the boating industry continued to suffer through downturns, Glastron boat fans eventually reported disappointment with the products during the decline and dissolution of Genmar which went bankrupt at the start of the Great Recession.
Platinum Equity to the Rescue. Along with a few other well-known Genmar brands, Glastron was acquired by Platinum Equity, a well-financed turn-around venture capital company with a proven track record. “REC Boat Holdings” became the name of the company’s umbrella division. It was headquartered in Cadillac, MI at the Four Winns facility, which it also bought. Glastron production was moved there.
Since the brand’s acquisition the parent company has invested in upgrading existing products and designing new ones.
The 187 has classic Glastron bowrider styling with a walkthrough windshield.
Glastron’s GTS 187 joins a line of boats associated with performance for years. This model definitely fits the brand’s new styling, emphasizing sleek boats with a lower profile.
•Choice of three horsepower ranges in a jet drive
•Direct drive, no transmission, no lower unit
•Three-tier seating aft
A side view emphasizes the GTS 187’s sleek styling and low profile. The tower is optional.
•Standard trailer with disc brakes
•2-tone hull and deck
•Bucket seats for the helm and companion
•Emergency engine shut off
•Sony stereo, AM/FM/CD, 2 speakers, MP3 port
A bird’s eye overhead view of the GTS 187 highlights the cockpit space and bow seating area.
Rotax Engines. The Rotax engine is a 3-cylinder, 12-valve, 4-stroke engine with a displacement of 1494 cc. The 150 and 200 versions are liquid-cooled, with a dry sump. All are EFI. The 250-hp version has a supercharger and an extended inner cooler. One of the largest advantages of these engines is their lightweight.
The GTS 187’s engine and power train is direct-drive (i.e. no transmission and no 90-degree turns), compact, and relatively simple with far fewer parts, both moving and otherwise. With fewer parts generally maintenance concerns are reduced. However, the jet propulsion system requires a higher level of maintenance if operated in salt water. Freshwater flushes are recommended after each use.
Green Running. These power units meet stringent CARB 3-star ratings for low engine emissions. The BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products) Rotax engines are cited as among the cleanest, quietest engines in the industry. BRP has a 30-year track record in producing jet-powered watercraft and engines.
Cushioned bow seating is compact. The lady has her hand on the centerline bow cleat and the anchor stows in a compartment under one of the seats. We’d like to see a back rest for the aft-facing seat.
Built for fun on the water with friends and family, her maximum passenger rating is 8 people or 1,200 lbs., whichever comes first. With three people in the bow, three on the bench seat aft and two in the bucket seats the boat has the room, but like most boats in class, the weight issue will be the controlling one on capacity, in most cases.
The 187’s overall length is 19’6” (5.95 m) and her beam is 7’5” (2.26 m). Boaters will likely enjoy her open bow seating, stylish cockpit instrument design, stern rear-faced seating and generous stern swim platform afforded by her jet package positioned entirely under the water line. Extended swim platforms are historically a signature design feature on traditional Glastron I/O models.
The padded full-across aft bench seat has under-seat storage and a carpeted step under the center cushion for easy movement to and from the stern swim platform. The snap-in carpet is optional.
Aboard this Boat. The GTS 187 has a split, walkthrough windshield design with a gentle curvature. Side windshield wings are offered as an option. In the cockpit, dual console adjustable bucket seats forward are backed by a full-width bench seat aft with storage underneath. There is glove box storage in the port console and more storage under the reasonably roomy, padded bow seating for 3. She also has an in-floor cockpit ski locker.
The cockpit is sport styled with fog-resistant custom Glastron GTS instrumentation. The accessory “switches” are unique pull knobs. The fiberglass deck has a built-in footrest with drains; a depth sounder is optional equipment.
Hull Design. The GTS 187’s deadrise is 20° at the transom and Glastron fans have always endorsed the SSV, deep-V hull that is part of the 187 package. This Glastron hull has been around for many years, testifying to integrity of the design when it comes to runabout handling.
Compact bow seating forward is backed by a reasonably spacious cockpit and generous stern seating, leading to a very roomy, extended stern swim platform.
Operation. Her draft is rated at 14” (36 cm) which makes her ideal to get into skinny water. However, at low speeds a jet intake is at risk of inhaling grass and debris off the bottom in shallow water of less than 2 feet. Our experience with jets is that grass is a more likely problem than debris. If grass should clog the water jet, the engine must be turned off, someone must go overboard (but it is shallow so no problem) and clean out the intake. On the plus side is the safety factor and there are no worries about tearing up a prop on the rocks.
The jet-powered GTS 187 has a standard 3-step ladder on the extended swim platform. Swimming and boarding safety is improved because there is no propeller.
Standard Trailer. The GTS 187 comes with a custom factory-matched trailer. Her storage length on the trailer is 20’9” (9.33 m). With a published dry weight of approximately 2,300 lbs. (1,040 kgs.) and reported trailer weight of 861 lbs. (390 kgs.), the 187 falls well within the towing range of many mid-size trucks and SUVs, making her economical to pull and petite in terms of required storage space. The standard single-axle trailer has disc brakes and a swing-away tongue. An optional galvanized trailer and spare tire/wheel are offered.
Options. Options for the 187 include variations on the tow sports package, a Bimini top, depth sounder at the helm, stainless steel finishing touches such as cup holders and audio speaker covers—part of the “XL” package, and a premium sound system.
The GTS 187’s jet propulsion system operates efficiently in shallow water without concern for damage to prop or lower unit.
Observations on the Glastron GTS 187
Savvy boaters may have come to the conclusion that this industry often introduces new models, and then makes refinements to early designs through a process of trial and error. (Sort of like how Microsoft beta-tests its new software on consumers.) Early editions sometimes include an emphasis on the “error” part of the process. However, we have some reason to think that the new Glastron jet boat will be different. First,the engine is well-proven. Second, top management at Glastron has had lots of experience with power packages of all sorts. Some seasoned jet boat veterans have had a hand in the 187’s creation.
Indeed, one early entrant into the jet boat field has already dropped out, due, we are told, because the builder was uncomfortable with the engine.
The Glastron GTS 187 is so new, dealers were unable to offer any information on pricing or much else as of this writing. The builder claims the GTS 187 is aimed at an attractive MSRP, however, no specific pricing is currently available. We are told that Glastron has two more new jet boats in the works and we look forward to their introduction.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Glastron GTS 187 (2014-) Standard and Optional Equipment
= Standard = Optional
Glastron GTS 187 (2014-) Warranty
Glastron GTS 187 (2014-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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