Yamaha has recently redesigned, and reimagined, its entire 21’ (6.4m) boat line from the keel up. As result, these boats have more in common with the larger flagship models.
What’s the Difference?
As is usually the case with Yamaha, it creates boats that are all inclusive, meaning there are no options, but the features that one boat doesn’t have will be included on another with a new model designator. Such is the case with the 212 Limited Series that consists of two boats, the 212 Limited S with a forward swept watersports tower, and the 212 Limited with a standard bimini. The tower, or Bimini top are the only differences, well other than price, that separate the two.
Other than that all the features are the same and the layout on one is shared with the other. That is why this report covers the 212 Limited Series while the boat we tested and conducted our walkthrough on was the 212 Limited S, the watersports tower equipped model.
Power to Play
The engines powering the 212 Limited boats are the 1.8L Yamaha High Output marine engines. These engines have a displacement of 1812cc and both are turning 3-blade 22.9-degree pitch stainless steel impellers.
A simple squeeze of the latch at the rear seat hatch allows the engine cover to lift effortlessly on twin assist struts secured to heavy-duty brackets. These twin 1812 cc HO engines are purpose built by Yamaha, which carries two significant benefits. First, there’s no third party to deal with if warranty issues come up. Whatever happens owners will be dealing with Yamaha, and Yamaha alone. Secondly, these are not stock motorcycle engines that were pulled off a shelf and then modified for use on the water. They were designed and built for Yamaha’s marine market and as such are up to the rigors that boating puts on its powerplants.
It was hard not to notice that there’s a change in the air and it was apparent as soon as we started driving the 212 Limited S. Yamaha boats used to quite loud when hitting the throttle, and it wasn’t lost on Yamaha. Now it has done something about it. From the keel up there is sound dampening that absorbs vibration and creates a much quieter ride, and we noticed it immediately. More the point, we were able to talk about it… at cruise speed.
Clean Out Ports
It’s no secret that jet boats pull water in from one end of a duct and blast it out the other end. It’s also no secret that sometimes these jet pumps get clogged with debris. It’s not a common occurrence, something that happens if we run through weeds or over a plastic grocery bag that may have found its way into the water. Frankly, it’s never happened to us, but it happens.
On some competing models we’ve seen how the operator actually has to go for a swim and clean out the debris from under the boat. Not cool. With Yamaha the only thing that gets wet is the hand of the one doing the cleaning.
Under the hatch at the transom lounge area there are access ports to reach down to the impellers from. At the bottom of these ports are large plugs that release with a quarter twist. Once the plug is removed we can get to the impellers to pull out any debris that we inadvertently ran over. Replace the plug when done and we’re good to go.
Naturally, no one in their right mind would reach down into a spinning impeller, and whenever the engine is running, the blades are turning. So Yamaha put in a safety feature that kills the engines when the hatch is open. Safe, and foolproof! The engines won’t even turn over when the hatch is open.
At the bow, the 212 Limited Series has a hatch over the anchor locker that opens with a lift and lock (thank you Yamaha) latch. The compartment is large enough for the anchor to share space with the forward reboarding ladder. The anchor is held in place by wedge mounts to secure the stocks of the anchor, but there are no anchor keepers to keep it from bouncing out of position. For that small detail, Yamaha added clever brackets under the hatch that rest atop the anchor to keep it secure when the hatch is closed.
The helm is a classic representation of how Yamaha can combine luxury and technology. A dark toned panel has a vinyl brow over the two tachometers. To the right is the 7” (17.78 cm) Connext touchscreen that provides the major instrumentation at a glance. We can scroll through multiple tabs and completely interface with the unit, all by touch.
Connext also serves as the main entertainment hub for the 212 Limited Models providing an interface with broadcast radio, satellite and Bluetooth players. Exclusive to the 212 Series overall is the joystick controller that provides the same controllability without having to touch the screen. Just behind the joystick are twin buttons for making incremental up/down changes to the cruise assist and no wake speeds. We found it quite comfortable to set the throttles and drive with one hand resting on these buttons to ease the speed up and down.
The premium steering wheel is mounted to a tilt base and controls not only the steering, through the swivel jet exhaust nozzles, but also the articulating keel that gives more precise steering at both low and high speeds. More important is that we now have off-throttle steering.
Previously, the only way to steer a jet boat was by directing the thrust from the exhaust nozzle. If there was no thrust, such as when the throttles were at idle or neutral, there was no steering. This created a rather disconcerting feeling at times. Now, with the articulating keel, even with no thrust, we still have steering.
The Yamaha 212 Limited Series has a LOA of 21’3” (6.48 m), a beam of 8’5” (2.57 m) and with no outdrive she has a depth of 16” (40.6 cm). For the tower equipped 212 Limited S that we tested, with an empty weight of 3,486 lbs. (1,581 kg), full fuel and two people onboard, we estimated our test weight at 4,206 lbs. (1,908 kg).
With the twin 1.8L 1812 HO Yamaha marine engines powering our test boat, we reached a top speed of 51.8 mph at 7500 rpm. Best economic cruise was reached at 5500 rpm and 30.3 mph. It was at that speed where the fuel burn was 10.45 gph that translated into 2.89 mpg and a range of 130 miles, all while holding back a 10% reserve of the boats 50-gallon (189 L) total fuel capacity.
For all her class she’s still an exciting boat to drive. Hitting the throttles had us launching through 30 mph in 6 seconds. She’s equipped with Yamaha’s articulating keel that not only gave quick turning response, it also provided the much appreciated of throttle steering. There’s 1 ¼ turns from lock to lock.
Of course we had glass calm conditions so we can’t comment on how she handles chop, but she did make clean transitions through our chase boat’s wake and stayed dry. What really got our attention was how much quieter this model was over previous Yamaha’s we’ve tested. This was due to quiet cruise that incorporates sound dampening right from the design on up through construction to reduce and absorb sound and vibration. And it clearly works. Now let’s look at the features.
We’ll start with luxury, which begins in the stern. With two levels of comfort, this is likely to be the most popular place on the 212 Limited S and here it’s made even more attractive with the addition of the removable pedestal table to starboard and stereo remote to port. The upper level comes out 20” (51cm) from the transom while the lower deck comes out 16” (40.6cm). Speakers are to the outside of the upper backrests. Drink holders are outboard to the lower section. The non-skid matting makes this a great staging area for putting on boards. Two center mounted grab handles aid in reboarding from the concealed ladder under the lower platform.
We enter the cockpit from a centerline walkthrough that can be covered with a filler cushion for completing the u-shaped seating. There’s storage to both side seats and Yamaha went the extra step in adding hinged cushions. There’s additional storage to the side recesses where the speakers are. Just above are billet aluminum handgrips. Yamaha provides both a house and engine crank batteries and the dual battery switches are under the port side seat. We can move the table from the aft platform to this location, and now it’s worth noting that the luxury carries over to the table with the matching matting and stainless drink holders.
The 212 Limited S model that we tested comes with the standard watersports tower. It not only provides much appreciated protection with the attached bimini, but an elevated tow point as well. The supports are color matched to the hull trim and it’s collapsible for easy storage.
Forward Cockpit Bucket Seats
Ahead of the U-shaped seating are a pair of bucket seats. Both of these forward seats are on pedestals allowing them to slide and swivel. The port side seat swings around 180-degrees to allow it to serve as an observer’s seat when towing. The helm seat swings around roughly 45-degrees so as to not come into inadvertent contact with the throttles when swiveling. Both, however, have flip up bolsters, flip down armrests that are self leveling as the seats also recline. Cargo net storage is secured to the backs. Beverage holders and a grab handle are to the side.
Port Side Entertainment Center
Ahead of the port seat there’s a convenient entertainment center created when the lid to the storage compartment is opened and forms a tray. Drinks and snacks fit inside and the tray becomes a serving area. Above is a recessed storage area and a glove storage compartment is below.
The walkthrough had no less then three conveniently located storage areas in close proximity all but negating the need to traipse around the boat looking for something. There’s open storage under the helm console. To the port console there’s a 38-quart (35.96 L) carry-on cooler and more storage alongside, and of course there’s the sole storage compartment.
The bow brings both luxury and versatility to the table. Naturally, it starts out in the usual configuration of dual lounge seats and at 20” (51cm) wide there’s plenty of comfort that is enhanced with the curved seatbacks. With the 8’5” (2.57 m) beam being carried so far forward, there’s 25” (64cm) between the seats so we can sit facing each other without the concern of knocking knees together. Bolsters run from 6’4” (1.93 m) to 4’6” (1.37 m) apart as we move ahead.
The forward cushions can be removed so we can sit at the front of the bow with our feet on the deck. We’d like to see bolster grab straps to make this a bit more comfortable. Filler cushions can be added to convert the bow into three-across seating. And re-positioning the filler cushions creates a sun pad.
The luxury continues with soft touch marine grade vinyl seating. There are inserts in the bolsters that contain the drink holders and courtesy lights that we used to see only on the company’s flagship 24’ (7.32 m) models. Stainless steel handrails are atop the caprails. Premium speakers are on beveled mounts to face the occupants of the seats.
It was impressive to be on the Yamaha 212 Limited S and see the level of luxury that has not transcended from the larger models to the smaller. By doing this, those who are looking for the convenience of a smaller boat no longer have to compromise. These models are also extremely affordable with the 212 Limited coming in at $49,999 and the tower equipped 212 Limited S at $52,999, putting the value of the arch alone at $3,000.
Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t harp on the safety factor of the jet drive. With no spinning propeller under the boat this is among the safest boats on the water. Couple that with no sharp edges protruding around the swim platform and the Yamaha jet boats become even more attractive indeed.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Yamaha 212 Limited S (2018-) is 51.8 mph (83.4 kph), burning 24.55 gallons per hour (gph) or 92.92 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Yamaha 212 Limited S (2018-) is 25.6 mph (41.2 kph), and the boat gets 2.73 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.16 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 123 miles (197.95 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x Yamaha 1812cc 1.8L HO.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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