Boat Reviews

Kozi Cat 17

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Having already successfully produced over 300 boats that are clearly visible at launch sites around the country, it comes as no surprise that another winner has emerged from the Kozi Cat stable. Solidly backed by Natal Caravans & Marine in Pinetown, this new 17ft forward console is bound to capture the imagination of traditional skiboaters looking for a safe, dry ride.

Forward Console

As soon as I set eyes on this boat I started to relax as she has a solid appearance, thanks to her modular lines and all the modern trappings one comes to expect from manufacturers today. Bill Harrison got me up at the crack of dawn (4.40am to be precise) and before I knew it I was blinking in the sunlight at the Natal Rod and Reel Club, where Brian Courtis was also waiting for me. I must say that despite my groaning there is nothing better than seeing the sun rise over a pink horizon and a beautiful sea and I soon perked up to the job at hand.

Also invited was skiboat tester, Heinrich Kleyn, and the safety officer for the Natal Midlands, Clifford Saville. I welcomed this as two other points of view could prove interesting.

Deck Layout

Launching was made to look easy with the 15-inch wheeled trailer and fitted docking boards, and once in the water she simply floated off and was ready to go. I had a bird’s eye view from the photography boat as the Kozi Cat darted off across the harbour, through the newly-widened mouth and out to sea. As I watched her running alongside me I was impressed with her smooth ride.

It was now time to transfer from the photography boat into the Kozi Cat – always an interesting exercise when you find yourself straddled between two boats with a 1.5m swell threatening to rise right up between your legs – as you fiercely protect your camera and try not to fall in and totally humiliate yourself!

Safely inside I could take a closer look at her many features and I was immediately struck by the feeling of safety and comfort afforded by this boat. High gunnels around the pilot and co-pilots area keeps water at bay and looking forward over the protective windscreen and rail (with folding centre door for great wind and splash protection) she appears to have a shortened foredeck, housing a standard anchor locker and shortened twin bow rails. While these are mainly cosmetic, they are useful for holding onto when clamouring over the deck to get to the anchor. While some may disagree, I don’t think that the foredeck is an ideal place from which to fish as the deck slopes somewhat which could be uncomfortable, but I must add there is so much room inside the boat there is no need to look elsewhere. She can comfortably accommodate four anglers.

Separating the two front consoles are two sets of tackle drawers and under each console is more storage space than one would normally find on a boat of this size. Above the port console is a locker for small valuables such as a cell phone, dark glasses, etc.

Two raised, upholstered coffin-hatches in the centre of the deck provide comfortable seating for up to four people – underneath one are six, 25-litre cans, while the other is useful for general storage. On either side of these hatches are two elongated fish hatches that sit flush with the floor which seem bigger than usual and capable of holding a sizable load of fish, including Couta, Dorado or bottom fish. Looking towards the rear on the port side, I noticed a spaciously large live-bait well, and next to it, in the centre, is a small ice box for those necessary refreshments. On the starboard side is another comfortably upholstered seat on top of the motorwell. When you need to step down between the two motorwells, either to wash your hands or have a swim, you’ll find a solid wooden platform step, and underneath that, sitting flush with the transom, is a fibreglass step.

Two stainless steel roll bars straddle the transom wells, which are good for holding onto, fitted with four rod holders. A strong canopy rail (obviously accommodating a canopy) across the centre of the boat can be fitted with six rocket launcher rod holders as well.

The entire floor has a non-skid finish which is easy to clean. A major feature which is not seen on many boats is that right around the gunnels on the interior of the boat are storage compartments which are extremely useful for all sorts of odds and ends. Two stainless steel bars fitted towards the rear on the exterior of the boat are perfect for holding the boat in position in the surf, if need be.


Natal Caravans & Marine’s choice of power was two 60HP powertrim Yamaha outboards. These three-cylinder models produce 849cc capacity power and were fitted with 15-inch pitch propellers. These 2-Stroke models were a good match for this 17-footer and are competitively priced to make the entire package affordable. These motors have an awesome track record both for recreational and commercial use. An interesting exercise was to raise one motor and to observe her power, and the boat planed comfortably enough with four people on board. On opening to full throttle, she planed in 3.5 seconds and we achieved optimum rpm of 5 500. The dual controls fitted with powertrim buttons are mounted on a slightly raised section, next to the steering wheel, which makes for comfortable operation. The hydraulic steering made manoeuvering and cornering effortless. Both Clifford and Heinrich were of the opinion that the Kozi 17 is a remarkably safe-handling boat and even in very tight turns there are no unwelcome surprises. No wonder so many of these outfits have been sold down the years. Only once, in a really tight turn was there a nip of cavitation when turning to port, but then the average skiboater would not be throwing his boat around like this. There were two rev counters fitted which left the dash looking somewhat bare, but then there is still plenty of room to fit a radio, fishfinder and GPS of your choice.


This 2.3m wide Kozi Cat certainly lived up to her reputation of being a safe and stable option for any investor, and being out on the water with her was really an enjoyable experience. Natal Caravans & Marine are to be complimented on their excellent installation and attention-to-detail and their well-drilled team certainly know how to put a boat together in the most professional manner. Customers will not be disappointed.

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