The mission of the Carolina Skiff 198 DLV is to serve as a tough-as-nails personal utility boat that can seamlessly blend the functions of a fishboat with a family day boat. With a hull draft of only 9” (23cm) she can venture into skinny water where other boats wouldn’t stand a chance. And as a platform for window shopping the nooks and crannies of waterfront real estate, she shines even more. That low draft also enables her to sneak into the far reaches of coastal rivers and tidal creeks -- and be tied up at a dock that has skinny water during moon tides.
Things We Like
Steps to Casting Deck.
Both the bow and stern casting decks have steps to the sides making a transition that much easier.
Flip-Down Aft Jump Seats.
This makes a comfortable place to sit and converts it easily into a workspace for fishing or cast-netting.
The 198 DLV features a livewell at the stern casting deck and another under the forward console seat.
This makes it so much easier to take the catch home while still keeping it all iced down. And for the families it makes much more sense to load the cooler at home and bring everything onboard in one single container.
Things We’d Like to See
So we can anchor from the center of the bow, rather than the cleats off to the sides. (This can be installed in the aftermarket.)
What’s a fishing boat without easy to reach knife and pliers?
An easy add-on to cut bait, and some types of fish need to be gutted as soon as they are boated.
The Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. is Key.
This is the first test we’ve performed with this new Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. engine and it was revealing. This engine is not an up-graded version of the standard 3-cylinder Evinrude E-TEC 90, but rather a de-tuned version of the 4-cylinder Evinrude E-TEC 115. This added displacement -- 33% (105 cu. in. vs 79 cu.in.) -- gives the engine remarkable low-end torque.
That, together with the fact that the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) permit engine makers to have 10% leeway on actual horsepower over or under stated horsepower, means in the case of the Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O., that it actually has something on the order of 99 horsepower. This added displacement and horsepower simply give the engine better performance in hot weather in addition to more low-end torque than standard 90-hp engines.
The Carolina Skiff 198 DLV Test
The Carolina Skiff 198 DLV has a LOA of 19’ (5.79 m), and a beam of 96’’ (244 cm). With an empty weight of 1,660 lbs. (753 kg) full fuel, two people plus the 405 lb. (184 kg) test engine, we had an estimated test weight of 2,665 lbs. (1,209 kg).
With the Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. turning a 3 bladed 14-¾" x 17" Viper propeller, we reached a top speed of 42.1 mph at 5700 rpm. At that speed fuel burn was only 11 gph which translates into a range of 103 miles.
When dialed back to a best cruise speed of 3000 rpm, we were running at a respectable 17.9 mph while burning fuel at a rate of 3.5 gph. That meant that we could keep going for nearly 8 hours and 138 statute miles while still holding back a 10% reserve.
In our opinion
, the single most important aspect of this engine’s performance is her low-end torque. We reached planing speed in only 2.8 seconds...accelerated to 20 mph in 5.3 seconds, and continued through 30 mph in 7.8 seconds. That’s indicative of how Evinrude shifted the major portion of the power from the top end of the rpm range to the low end, around 1000 to 3000 rpms, where a boat full of friends will need power to get up on top of the water, and take skiers there with it. It’s also advantageous on a boat like this with a relatively flat bottom.
When hitting the throttle her bow comes up nearly 12-degrees and that seems to have a lot to do with the fact that for this model year Carolina Skiff moved the fuel tank aft, and therefore the center of gravity is moved aft. But we never lost visibility past the bow thanks to the Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O.’s low torque and quick planing speeds.
She’s a flats boat with only a 9” (23 cm) draft and hull designed for stability and use in protected water so she did give a bit of a slap as we rode through light chop. Her real advantage lies in getting into skinny water where others fear to tread. While she had no trouble taking the chop and wakes we transitioned through, it was clear that she’s more at home in coastal areas and protected waters.
Dual Casting Decks
One of the most significant features of the 198 DLV is her dual casting decks. Both are easily accessed with steps to the sides and both are roomy enough to move about with no fear of losing balance or grip on the non-skid surface. A split bow rail can be added as an option.
The bow deck has two storage compartments laid out in a V configuration. Both have hatches that close against molded channels that direct water away from the compartment and onto the deck where it makes its way out the deck drains and ultimately overboard.
We would like to see a cleat located at the bow for when we anchor to bottom fish. This keeps the boat more inline with the prevailing wind and therefore the waves. Using the side-mounted cleats would have us presenting our bow to the waves at an angle which is neither comfortable or, in some cases, safe.
The aft casting deck
has the same access steps as the bow, and that’s a highly unusual feature. Much like the bow deck, this one is also treated with a non-skid surface. Two access hatches in the deck lead to the remote oil tank to port and the fuel tank to starboard. Just ahead is a curved section housing the 18-gallon (68 L) baitwell.
The deck remains roomy
but a nice touch would be to add a raised lip surrounding the motor well to prevent accidently stepping into this area when reeling in a fish. That’s a time when one’s attention tends to be outside the boat, rather than where to step. For the same reason, flip-up, or pop-up cleats would be a good idea. Pedestal seats for both decks can be added as an option.
Part of what makes this such a useful boat for both fishermen and families are the dual jump seats to either side of the aft deck. It makes a great place to ride out to the fishing grounds, or to the remote beach for a day of swimming and sunning. Both seatbacks are held in position with stainless hinges and a strap-and-snap holds the seats closed when not in use.
Moving to the helm, first we come to the helm seat. This one is a double wide, a feature we always appreciate as it allows for a second set of eyes looking forward. It also has a flip-type seat back to accommodate facing aft. Simply push down on the entire length and it releases the mechanism allowing for the conversion. With the seat facing aft, it’s in just the right spot to allow for putting the feet on the aft livewell to help stabilize the occupants when the rolling starts.
Under the helm seat
is a 70-quart (66 L) carry-on cooler which makes great sense. It’s so much easier carrying the catch off in the container that they went into. From a family standpoint, it’s also easier to load a cooler with food and drinks for the day and just bring the whole thing aboard in one swoop.
is held in position with cargo netting and the seat bases are secured to the deck. Access is easy via the hinged seat base. When elevated, the seat remains up thanks to the thoughtful touch of adding dual gas struts leaving both hands free to focus on the cooler and it’s tasty contents.
As for the helm itself, Carolina Skiff went with a port side mounted control station. A stainless wheel has a steering knob and is mounted to a tilt base. The engine controls are mounted to a 45-degree angle. The particular boat has the optional digital controls offered by this new Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. engine.
Ahead, a carbon fiber panel houses the four white-faced gauges with chrome bezels. Just above are all the toggle switches arranged in a semi-circle with circuit breakers just below. One of these switches is the horn switch and there is no separation of type, color, or anything else that makes this switch stand out from the others. Why we keep seeing manufacturers fail to do so remains a mystery to us. But with that said, the prudent captain will scan to determine the horn location before getting underway. But at least they went with an actual horn and not the foolish electronic buzzers we’ve been seeing as of late.
Accessorize with Options
There’s plenty of room for added electronics. Depending on the size even two could be added but on most units the ability to combine a GPS and fish finder into a single unit would be more attractive here. To the sides of the console are three vertical rod holders to each side.
The caprails top out at 24”
(61 cm) and that may be enough for adults, particularly those dragging a net over the rails. However, for families, it would be prudent to add the optional stainless rail package to increase the safety factor. A three-piece bow cushion set is also available creating a relaxing spot in the sun. For shade, we would definitely add either the 80” (203 cm) or 90” (229 cm) Bimini. If opting for the T-top an electronics box is available and then an aftermarket stereo will help round out the good times.
Ahead of the console is the usual forward-facing seat, and this makes a total of 5 places to sit while underway, not counting the foredeck. Underneath the seat is a second baitwell so the person fishing at the bow doesn’t need to travel all the way back to the stern to re-load the hook.
There’s a good reason why the Carolina Skiff DLV 198s make such excellent workboats. They’re practically bullet proof and can take a load of punishment and still keep on going. We also find that the match between the 198 DLV and the Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. is a good one and likely gives performance that is comparable to the maximum rated 115 at a much lower cost.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Carolina Skiff DLV 198 (2014-) is 42.1 mph (67.8 kph), burning 11.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 41.64 liters per hour (lph).
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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