Boat Test: 2014 Lowe FS165

Boat Tested2014 Lowe FS165
Price As Tested$21,280 CAD
Category Fish and Ski
Manufacturer Lowe
Length16ft 6in / 5.03 m
Beam6ft 10in / 2.08 m
Drive TypeOutboard
Engine MakeMercury
Fuel Capacity26
By Mike MilneIn today's specialized world, it's hard to find a boat that will do even two things well. Fish-and-ski boats, however, have to combine what watersports lovers want and anglers need. The Lowe FS165 makes all the right compromises at a price that's affordable for boating families.

It all starts with a 16-foot, 6-inch welded aluminum hull with moderate-V bottom and reverse chines, providing stability as well as good handling in corners. A full-length keel extrusion adds the kind of tracking needed for both trolling and towing. High topsides mean the FS165 is capable of handling relatively big waters and make it safer for children.

The Mercury 90 FourStroke outboard works well for fishing, easily providing 4- to 7-mph trolling speeds and a top speed of 41.1 mph. The boat is effortlessly on plane at 3000 rpm and runs nicely at wakeboarding and water-skiing speeds between 3000 and 4500 rpm.
Acceleration from 0 to 20 mph in 3.9 seconds indicates good pulling power.

The vinyl floors and marine carpeting on bulkheads, lockers and casting decks are both fishing and family friendly. Convertible seating works equally well for anglers and watersports enthusiasts. Swivelling fold-down seats at the helm and companion positions are moveable and extra bases are located on bow and stern casting platforms. Aft, the casting platform folds back to expose two folding jump seats for extra still-fishers or wakeboarders and skiers. In the bow, cushions can be added to the casting platform to create a comfortable seating area.
The real compromises come with addition (or subtraction) of very specialized equipment. The watersports crew gets a sturdy, easily installed stainless steel towing tripod and a swimplatform and boarding ladder. The anglers get an aerated 12-gallon aft livewell and a
seven-foot portside rod locker (compared with two livewells and rod lockers in the pure fishing version of the boat). There's a two-speaker Fusion stereo system with MP3 and iPod plugins that everyone will enjoy. All kinds of boaters appreciate storage space -- there's plenty in three bow lockers and a couple of stern compartments.

With its tall windscreen, optional convertible top and matching trailer, the test boat covers the waterfront for angling and watersports.
TEST BOAT ENGINEMercury 90 FourStroke, 1.7 L (104 ci), 90-hp, fourstroke, in-line 4-cylinder outboard with electronic fuel injection, pushing an aluminum 13X17-inch prop
ACCELERATION (mph/sec)0-20 / 3.9 ; 0-30 / 6.2
TOP SPEED (rpm/mph)6000 / 41.1
3000 / 17.9 ; 3500 / 22.6 ; 4000 / 26.1 ; 4500 / 30.2
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