Compare plate aluminum fishing boats and their features.

Sometimes it's hard to tell what's real and what's a gimmick. We break down the common myths about Aluminum Plate Fishing Boats. 

When you buy a boat, you are buying its performance of design and safety. 

Three types of Aluminium Boats

Plate Boats: Made from 5083 structural marine grade aluminium, designed and built as a traditional fully framed vessel. These vessels typically are used in commercial applications and meet the strict requirements of the NSCV. 
The Seatamer PTF series are true plate boats.

Production Boats: Mass produced boats for the recreational market, typically using plate aluminium for the planning sheet and side sheets in conjunction with extruded profiles for the keel and chine joints. These boats are typically not fully framed or fully welded. The structural design and warranty is for recreational use. 

Press Boats: Mass produced for the once a month boater, these are affordable family boats use softer aluminium so the boats stepped hull and side sheets can be pressed by a punch. Typical example is a tinny or runabout.   


Australian design standards apply to ALL boats regardless of who builds them. AS1799.1 - 2009 Small Power craft, AS4132.2 -1993 Design & Construction, AS3004.2 - 2009 Electrical Installations for vessels. 

When vessels claim to meet a design standard there are still key differences to be aware of:
  • is the vessel fully framed?
  • has level buoyancy been achieved with foam or air?
  • are the fuel tanks separate from the hull?
  • which joints are fully welded on both sides?  

Why would I want a fishing boat that is based on a commercial design?
Simply, only if you want the safest vessel available, that will out-fish you.

If you fish more than 12 times a year invest in yourself and your safety. 


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 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.

The planning sheet is supported by stringers that should be one single piece that run the length of the boat spaced at 250mm from the centre. 

Vessels get their strength from frames and stringers. Pro Tournament boats are fully framed using a  pressed G frame top for additional strength.   


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, run it aground, drill holes in it or even leave the bungs out. It still won't sink.

Vessels with AIR Floatation. Won't sink unless you do any of the things above. 

The Australian Design standard AS1799.1:2009 says "Wherever practicable, integral void air compartments should be avoided as a means of providing buoyancy".

It's only important if something goes wrong. When it does its too late

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

one pinhole means flotation is compromised


Using ballast in a boat is not new, it has 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. 

A flooding ballast on a 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 vessels performance. Please don't remove the boats frames that attach to the keel and 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 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. 

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


Seatamer: Toronto, NSW 

Surtees: New Zealand

Stabicraft: New Zealand

Yellowfin: Queensland

Formosa: Queensland


Seatamer: Family owned, Australia

Surtees: Family owned, New Zealand

Stabicraft: Family owned, New Zealand

Yellowfin: Corporate, United States of America

Formosa: Family owned, Australia


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


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 CommerciaLIntegrated fuel tanks - Welded into the vessel's structure. Can not be removed or replaced. Can not be upgraded for commercial use. 

Pictured RIGHT 2 x 200L fuel tanks in a 7.4M Mono running twin 200HP Mercury. The fuel tanks are in a cofferdam 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. 


There are terms used to describe vessels and the vessel's 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 deadrise determines how the hull will perform while planning, moving though chop swell and at rest. The problem measuring the deadrise at the transom, is most modern vessels have a transitioning deadrise that changes every 300mm as you move aft forward to the 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


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 overuse. It's 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.

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. 


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.   

We share our experience to freely. Send us an enquiry to see how we can help your project. 


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