Plate Aluminium fishing boats are now a popular option for keen fisho's. Kit form boats are available for people to make at home (whole other story). Here we compare the some of the main manufactures of Aluminium plate boats and the core design features. 

The same hull used in this commercial vessel is the base for the Seatamer PTF series.

The same hull used in this commercial vessel is the base for the

Seatamer PTF series.

Proven Commercial Hull

Its just a fishing boat, we are not professionals we don't use it every weekend. What is the difference between commercial and recreational anyway? 

The key differences are in the design rules: aka the vessel is fully framed, has level foam flotation, separate fuel tanks, is fully welded on both sides of key joints i.e the keel etc. Commercial vessels are peoples places of work and so need to be built to a higher standard. The boats work harder. 

Can recreational boats be commercial boats. The simple answer is NO. With some modification and the use of exemptions some boats can be used for limited activates like line fishing or lake based fishing charters. 

Why would I want a fishing boat that is based on a commercial design? Simply, you will die before it will.
If you fish more than 12 times a year invest in your self and your safety. 

What is the difference in construction?

Aluminium plate boats can be separated into two groups those that are fully framed and those that are not. So what's a fully framed boat and what difference does it make?  

A fully framed boat has a frames that run across the boat from starboard to port connecting the two side sheets to the deck and to the keel. Typically spaced 600-700mm apart from transom to bow. A frame can be solid or have the centre cut out to reduce weight. it can be one piece or welded. It should connect the planning sheets to the side sheets and the floor to the keel. Frames are supported by stringers that in one piece, run the length of the boat spaced at 250mm from the centre. 

Why is a full frame important? This is where the boat gets its strength from. Fancy geometric computer modelled shapes and chambers only provide strength when they remain in their shape. 

Disclaimer - In no way is this to suggest that any boat dose or dose not meet any particular standard. 

Seatamer PTF

Seatamer PTF

The full-frame design and G Girder makes the vessel suitable for any application. 

Yellowfin Hull

Yellowfin Hull

base frames + extrusion
full length stringers




If you want to buy Australian, support Australian Manufacturing and Australian Jobs here is the information to help you do that. 

Where are they made?

Seatamer - Toronto, NSW
Surtees - New Zealand
Stabicraft - New Zealand
Yellowfin - Queensland
Formosa - Queensland

Where does the money go?

Seatamer - Family owned - Australia
Surtees - Family owned - New Zealand
Stabicraft - Family owned - New Zealand
Yellowfin - Corporate - USA
Formosa - Family owned - Australia

100% customisation

What's the difference between options and customisation? 

Options allow you to add features to existing predetermined locations. 

Customisation allows you to put what you want where you want and remove anything you don't want

When you spend $100K or more on a boat you should be able to have exactly what you want. Only boats that are custom built for you can achieve this. 

Layout - Extra fuel etc

Framed and Foamed boats provide the ability to customise the size shape and layout below the deck. If its extra fuel, fresh water or just more storage the ability to truly customise a boat to suit you means you get everything you need and nothing you don't.   

Have your console just how you want it. Customisation during construction means the boat is built for you.  

Built just for you

Built just for you

Customization means everything you want and nothing you don't. This layout plan means everything is where you want it. 

Foam Flotation

Foam Flotation

No matter how many holes in this hull is will not sink

Its only important if something goes wrong. When it dose its too late

Air Flotation

Air Flotation

one pinhole means flotation is compromised

Foam flotation or air chamber floatation?

Boats should have flotation. So that if something goes wrong the vessel will not sink and even if it is upside down you can still hang on to it. Makes Sense Right. 

Vessels with FOAM Flotation. You can shoot it with a shot gun, attack it with an axe, run it aground. Drill holes in it with a hole saw or leave the bungs out. Crack any weld(s). It still wont sink and you could likely drive it back on the trailer.

Vessels with AIR Floatation. Wont sink unless you do any of the things above. 


A warranty is only as good as its exclusions. What is covered in most Aluminium boat warranties? The aluminium sheet or extrusion will not fail. The weld will not crack under "normal use".

What's not covered  - electrolysis, any commercial use and in some cases any over use. Its all in the fine print.

What's the difference between commercial and recreational warranties? Commercial warranties have no limits on use.  You can use the vessel every day for the first 1095 days, for fishing, or any commercial application and its covered. It will also be time for the 3rd engine. 

Electrolysis - caused by saltwater and electrical currents, it breaks down the aluminium. The most common place for electrolysis is along the centre line. Flooding ballasts allow salt water to the inside of the hull. They must be meticulously maintained to prevent degradation of the hull.

built 2004

built 2004

This Seatamer commercial hull has been in the water and operational for the last 6205 days (17 years) and is as structurally sound as the day it was delivered. So says the independent AMSA report. 

2x220L Fuel

2x220L Fuel

Fuel Tanks

Fuel tanks are one of the most critical and problematic parts of any boat. When they are working all is good. When they don't you are not going anywhere. 

Independent Fuel tanks - Removeable for cleaning, repair or replacement. Upgradeable to Commercial

Integrated fuel tanks - Welded into the vessels structure. Can not be removed or replaced. Can not be upgraded for commercial use. 

Pictured Left. 2 x 200L fuel tanks in a 7.4M Mono running twin 200HP Mercury. The fuel tanks are in a coffer dam and accessible through a floor plate on the back deck.  They can be cleaned and serviced over the next 15 - 20 years. Pulling the fuel tanks out and cleaning them as you replace engines is best practice. 

Flooding Ballast

Using ballast in a boat is not new, its been done for centuries. Most large vessels have ballast tanks that allow vessels to control where they sit in the water. Cargo ships use ballast to help balance themselves. 

Flooding ballast on small vessel is a solution to masking design compromises. 

Vessels that are too light for their size, too narrow for their length or to steep in their deadrise may incorporate a flooding ballast to overcome these trade-offs in design. There is no doubt any boats stability will improve at rest if they have ballast. 

however, if the vessel needs ballast or ballast would improve the vessel please don't remove the boats frames that were attached to the keel that give the vessel its strength.  Make the ballast tank removable so the inside of the hull is not exposed to salt water and it can be replaced. 

Formosa say

Formosa web site "Questions to ask: If other manufacturers offer a water trap to keep water in the ballast tank for certain sea conditions, then ask why you need this feature to get home? We’d like to know because our boats get home every time. We don’t see a need for this feature other than for Marketing reasons."

This reinforces the point that in small boats ballast is used to overcome design compromises. Boats under 12M should not need ballast at rest or underway if they have a balanced design. Ballast in plate alloy fishing boats is a marketing gimmick. 



RHS extrusion is welded to the planning sheet creating an water retention point

Formosa says

Formosa says

Its all a marketing gimmick One chamber or four it has the same effect. The real difference based on volume. 



No centre keel
Limited control over ballast

Definitions and Purpose

There are terms used to describe vessels and the vessels performance. Here are few key explanations.


The chine is the small hull section on the outer edge of the hull, joining the side sheet and the planning sheet. The chine has two main functions. At the aft its size and angle determine how hard and sharp the vessel can turn. The more aggressive the angle the harder the vessel will turn. Too much angle can cause other issues. A single digit negative angel (-2 degrees) works best for the chine. At the front to the vessel the chine keeps the noise of the vessel out of the water when the bow plunges into the water after going over a wave. To small the bow goes to deep. To big and thud thud thud.. 

the best chine tapers in size from aft to bow, has a single digit negative angle and holds the bow out of the water without dunking or slapping.  


The angle of the v hull. Typically measured at the transom. The size of the dead rise determines how the hull will perform while planning, moving though chop swell and at rest. The problem that measuring the deadrise at the transom is most modern vessels have a transitioning deadrise that changes every 300mm as you move aft for bow. The bigger the deadrise the less stable at rest. A large deadrise will perform well in a messy sea but poorly on the plan in flat conditions. Vessels with large deadrise can often have a ballast to off set the lower stability at rest. 

16 - 17 degrees is balanced deadrise for most plate mono hulls. 1+ - degree can make a big difference


The information provided is accurate to the best of the information provided by each of the manufactures via their websites. If any information is inaccurate we will correct it. The purpose of this information is to provide an accurate comparison of the vessels and their construction.   

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