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Scout 355 LXFLuxurious, versatile, and fast

By Andy Adams

Quite simply, the styles of boats have changed. Where in past years a buyer might have been looking for a 35-foot cruiser, now people are pressed for time and the live-aboard has fallen out of fashion with some boaters, replaced by fast, accommodating and sporty day boats – many of which are outboard powered.
 
The Scout 355 LXF is the type of boat that buyers are gravitating towards.
 
Owners today are looking for a boat that delivers a fabulous experience without the design and accommodation compromises that you get with a conventional inboard cruiser. Our test boat, the Scout 355 LXF, is a remarkable new model from Steve Potts and family in Summerville, SC. The company celebrates their 30th Anniversary next year and their designs seem to be right where the market is going today.
 
I would categorize the Scout 355 LXF as a true sport utility vessel and it has the elegant finish and top-line hardware that immediately tells you this is something special. It’s a lot like a centre console fish boat and it certainly can fish, but the console area is fairly large, well sheltered, with a T-top for protection from rain and sun and with a permanent glass windshield and side panels. Underneath the centre console is a cabin with a head and there are exceptional seating or entertaining areas at both the stern and bow.
 
Bow FoldedConstruction is epoxy-infusion and the test boat featured a stunning black gel coat and Imron stripes. The hull design, and especially the “Carolina” bow flare, is very much from the world of blue water sport fishing, while the two-stepped running surface and the triple Mercury Verado engines are what you’d expect from an offshore ocean racer. With a top speed in the mid-60s you get exhilarating performance!
 
So, you can use the head, do an overnight in the cabin, fish just about anywhere, anchor out, beach it, swim and dive, party like crazy or blast past most other boats, all with one boat; very versatile and yet easy to run and very seaworthy.
 

The HelmAt the helm
So, let’s start in the office. There is a three-person-wide helm seat that’s quite exceptional. The driver stands or sits in the centre, flanked by companion seats on either side. There are wing protections available to accommodate cold-weather boaters, although our test boat was not so equipped. But, the three helm seats are heated - you wouldn’t want to be uncomfortable heading out for an early morning fishing trip!
 
With the captain in the centre getting the best view through the windshield, the compass is dead ahead and the salty Edson steering wheel with Brodie knob is well placed and tilts for comfort. The flooring here is a thick SeaDeck cushion, which is very comfortable, especially in bare feet. There is a footrest and the helm seats adjust and have armrests and flip-up bolsters plus handholds for passengers.
 
The layout is classic saltwater style: Big, clean, and uncluttered with two large Garman GPS Map 7612 screens that carry all sorts of navigation and engine information as well as the switching for all the boat’s accessories. There is a redundant set of analog type switches on the overhead console beside the VHF radio.

SeatingThe Mercury Vessel View screen is in the centre and the Mercury control box with Active Trim is to the right of the wheel. The joystick for docking is beside the wheel. The Lenco trim tabs with lighted indicators are just ahead of the control box. A glovebox with lid protects your small items and similar to your car, Scout gives you a standard integrated fish-eye camera in the bow that displays on the Garmin screens. You can get that big bow right to the dock without a scratch.
 
Our test boat was loaded with options and had the very elegant Heritage interior trim. Regardless of what equipment is ordered on your Scout 355 LXF, the boat is wired by the factory to accommodate every available accessory and the wiring is all neatly laid out with each wire individually identified for ease of service later.
 
The T-top hardtop is on a stylish and sturdy powder-coated frame with great handholds. The hardtop includes an electric sunshade for the cockpit area and when you extend that out, you discover that there is a full glass sunroof over the helm.
 

3 Seat BenchCockpit
The cockpit area includes forward and aft facing bench seats to accommodate four to six passengers. For fishing, the forward-facing seat folds away into the stern by the 60-gallon transom live well and the cockpit has cavernous underfloor storage. The aft-facing seat has a cooler underneath. Optionally, you can fit a SeaKeeper 3DC gyro stabilizer there. The test boat didn’t have that option but we hear they work very well.
 
StorageScout has fitted the 355 LXF with a proper two-part transom door. This is handy for boarding from the dock or for access to the swim platform where there is an Armstrong boarding ladder. The platform is not big but you don’t normally swim from here.
 
Instead, there is a port-side dive door with a second removable Armstrong dive ladder. All around the interior are padded inwales for comfort and safety. Scout calls them 360-degree bolster cushions. The stainless-steel hardware is massive and elegant and the powder-coated coaming rails are recessed for safety and a clean design. There is rod storage in the side as well as a starboard side locker for your brushes, gaff, lines, and more.
 

The CabinCabin
The cabin is very accommodating for a 35’ centre console and there are opening portholes both sides, available air conditioning, a movable table, sitting headroom, and a marine MSD and vessel sink on a vanity along with a seating area that converts to a berth. This is ideal as a change room, a place to get kids out of the sun, or to overnight on a trip. Of course, it has a TV!
Cabin 2 

 

 

 

 

 

The BowBow area
A lot of design effort went into the bow accommodations with a sound system remote, speakers, drink holders, and a cocktail table with an optional electric lift that converts the area into a big sun lounge. There is an anchor locker, Lewmar windlass, and the anchor passes through the bow for easy retrieval and a clean look.
 
The most impressive bow features are the two beautiful sun lounge seats with armrests that are facing forward above the cabin.
 
For our review day, we picked the boat up at an attractive waterfront enclave in Mitchells Bay on Lake St. Clair. We were met by Rob Rule, owner of Maple City Marine in Chatham, Ontario. Rob told us that when he takes the Scout out with his family, his daughter and daughter-in-law are the first to grab these lounge seats for the ride.
 

Bench and MotorsPerformance
Operating the Scout 355 LXF is surprisingly easy. Three keys hidden in the cabin activate the triple Mercury Verado 300 supercharged engines. Buttons at the helm start and stop them. Fire them up, find a comfortable driving position, and use the Mercury joystick to move smoothly away from the dock.
 
Three engines may seem intimidating, but the triple Mercurys are controlled by two levers and you can select single lever control for simplicity and convenience. The engines automatically synchronize and it’s a breeze to drive the boat, especially with the Active Trim – press the button and the system trims the engines for you. The Edson wheel controls the electric hydraulic steering system, which can also individually steer the three engines in joystick docking mode. Mercury’s new joystick control is easy to use and includes a light that circles to visually indicate which way the boat is going based on how you directed it with the joystick.
 
Lake St.Clair is big; it’s a great fishing area and has many places to go to anchor out, visit Detroit, take the river to Lake Erie, and more. The Scout 355 LXF can cover it all in comfort. Ease the throttles forward and the triple Mercurys are quiet, smooth and effortless, accelerating to planning speeds with little bow rise. Shove the throttles open and the test boat raced up to 62 mph tracking straight and true. We could haul the wheel over for a fast turn and the Scout was sure-footed and responsive. The weather was overcast and raining lightly. The lake was flat calm. The Scout was designed for offshore conditions and weather and would probably run faster in a chop. Cruising speed was about 40 mph at 4,000. The factory performance data (shown in the chart below) was taken with triple 350s and the result is a little more speed; 65.8 mph top at 6,400 RPM, acceleration to 30 mph in just 8.1 seconds, and a cruising fuel burn of 1.3 mpg.
 
On top of the strong performance, everything you see and everything you touch on the Scout is beautifully crafted, fits perfectly, and is clearly built to last. It’s one very impressive big rig!
 

ENGINES:
Triple Mercury Verado 350, inline 6 cylinder, supercharged 2.6 litres, 350 hp. Revolution 4 stainless steel props 20 P
 
RPM MPH
1000 6.6
2000 10.6
3000 24.1
3500 33.5
4000 39.4
4500 44.6
5000 50.6
5500 55.7
6000 61.4
MAX 6,400 65.8
 

SPECIFICATIONS
LENGTH OVERALL: 34’ 11" / 10.64 m
BEAM: 10’ 9" / 3.28 m
DRY WEIGHT W/O ENGINES EPOXY INFUSED HULL (APPROX): 9,800 lbs. / 4,445 kg
DEADRISE: 22 degrees
FUEL CAPACITY: 310 gal / 1,173 L
FRESH WATER CAPACITY: 23 gal / 87 L
HOLDING TANK CAPACITY: 11 gal / 42 L
PORT/STBD REAR FISH BOXES: 47 gal / 178 L each
TRANSOM BAITWELL: 55 gal / 208 L
PRICE: PLEASE SEE DEALER
 
Test boat provided by: Maple City Marine: https://www.maplecitymarine.com
Scout Boats: https://www.scoutboats.com