Boat owners consistently report that docking is the most stressful part of their day, and outboard manufacturers managed to thoroughly de-stress that experience with the addition of joystick controls like the Helm Master EX. Too bad you can’t get a Helm Master EX joystick on a jet boat… right?

yamaha helm master ex on a jet boat
Yamaha Helm Master EX joystick controls on a jet boat? Finally, they're here.

At the 2024 Miami international Boat Show we jumped aboard a Yamaha 255 FSH Sport H, the world’s first jet boat controlled via Helm Master EX, then took the stick-equipped helm. And we were blown away by how well the system worked. Just like an outboard boat, when you push the stick sideways you can crab the boat right up to the dock. Twist it and the 255 FSH Sport H spins in its own length. Nudge it forward or aft to make minute position adjustments. Slow speed dockside maneuvering can only be described as precise. And, well, easy.

What wasn’t so easy was incorporating the joystick into a jet boat. In previous models one main shifting and steering cable controlled both jet nozzles and deflectors. In order to operate them independently and gain the level of desired control, the cables were replaced with individual actuators for each system. That made it possible for the Helm Master EX joystick and control integration, which we’ll hopefully see on more models in the future but for the 2024 model year is only on the 255 FSH Sport H.

We were thanking our lucky stars Yamaha Boats chose to put this system on a center console fishing boat as opposed to one of their runabouts, and the 255 FSH Sport H is their top-of-line offering. Powered by a pair of 1812cc supercharged SVHO Yamahas blasting water through 160mm high-pressure pumps with three-bladed stainless-steel impellers, this boat has gobs of punch and can take you to a top speed in the mid-50s. Upgrades and additional features are packed in from stem to stern, because Yamaha Boats offers different trim level models as opposed to a base boat and lots of optional features. Since this model sits at the top of the heap, the upholstery is automatically upgraded, the helm gets a phone holder with wireless charging, the snap-in Marine Mat foam flooring is included, and there’s a 12” Simrad MFD at the helm with a through-hull transducer already installed.

yamaha 255 fsh sport h
The 255 FSH Sport H is Yamaha's top-of-line fishing jet boat.

Yamaha Boats has been building fishing models for quite some time now, and has the angling equipping down pat. The 255 FSH Sport H has racks for six rods on the sides of the console, six flush-mount holders, an insulated fishbox, a 30-gallon livewell in the stern, a stowage compartment in the deck sized for a five-gallon bucket, five rocket launchers on the T-top, and forward modules integrated with the bow compartment seatbacks that incorporate a second aquarium-style livewell on one side and a tackle stowage station in the other.

Like their sport boats the stern incorporates a two-level swim platform that includes aft-facing seating. More importantly, it has easy-to-access pump cleanout ports. Still, families who enjoy fishing one day and watersports the next will appreciate the arrangement. The bow similarly splits the difference between family fun and fishing with a removable cocktail table that also serves as a filler platform to turn the bow into a casting platform.

For those who favor prop-free boating there aren’t many center console fishing boat options, and for those who want joystick-easy docking there’s just one. This one. If you want complete control, it’s time to take the helm of the 255 FSH Sport H.

Yamaha 255 FSH Sport H Specifications

  • LOA – 24’6”
  • Beam – 8’6”
  • Displacement – 4835 lbs.
  • Draft (hull) – 1’10”
  • Transom Deadrise – 20 degrees
  • Fuel Capacity – 111 gal.
  • Max. Power – NA
  • Area Dealers – Beacon Light Marina, Middle River, MD, (410) 335-6200.