THOUGH I had seen plenty of Aquamaster boats over the years at ramps and boat shows, I had not had the pleasure of testing one out, so when Rod from Australian Marine Centre asked the question, I jumped at the opportunity.
Not only did a boat test allow me to get out of the office, but we decided to launch from Cleveland and duck over to glorious Horseshoe Bay on Peel Island, which is an absolutely beautiful place. As luck would have it, we were met by a 10-knot northwester at the ramp as we launched the Aquamaster 420 Runabout fitted with a 40hp Suzuki four-stroke.
Like other Aquamasters I’ve seen, first impressions were good as the fully welded top deck and gunwales look clean and straight, which was easily identifiable with a coat of white paint contrasting the blue side sheets. As we launched and kicked the Suzuki into gear, I was reminded how quiet these engines are, with the 4.2m Aquamaster jumping easily onto the plane with two people on board and sitting at the helm.
It is important to remember this is only a 4.2m boat and we were heading out through the often-average part of Moreton Bay between Cleveland Point and Peel Island. While this boat is probably better suited to the southern bay, it was going to be a good test. Initial thoughts as we met the beam-on chop were the 3mm bottom and topsides really give this boat a solid feeling, which was reinforced by the number of ribs used during construction of the hull. Yes, we did get a little spray from the odd bigger wave, but the windscreen protected us and left us dry.
In terms of seating, the 420 Aquamaster has two seats at the helm and two at the rear, which rounds out the seating capacity of four. As for storage, which is always important in a smaller boat, two good-sized side pockets are complemented by an area forward of the helm that would be ideal for life jackets, and room under the rear seats for tackle bags, soft-style Eskies and the like. The glovebox would be a top spot for your phone and wallet, and is fitted with two drink holders.
With all the essentials safely stowed, what feels like a lot of floor space can be used for crab pots, a tube for towing the kids or an Esky. This feeling of space was probably aided by the decent beam, which stretched 1.95m, and the depth of a whopping 1m. These measurements combined with a full carpeted floor gave you a large, stable platform to walk around or fish from.
It is also worth noting that a full transom has become standard for Aquamaster boats, which adds to the feeling of safety and is ideal when young children are on board. While we didn’t back up on any fish, this full transom was tested as I stood at the back of the boat while a good-sized wash from another boat I was photographing pushed up against the back of the Aquamaster.
Another feature I liked was the centrally opening windscreen, which allowed easy access to the anchor well. In terms of performance, the 40hp Suzuki had plenty of get up and go, with the boat almost instantaneously jumping on the plane with two people at the front.
With one person at the front and one at the back, it did take a fraction longer, but was still exceptionally quick getting onto the plane and to that sweet cruising speed, which for this rig was in the 4500-5000rpm range. To put this in perspective, at 4500rpm we were travelling along at about 33km/h and achieving an outstanding 4.9km per litre fuel consumption figure.
At about 5000rpm we hit 38km/h and returned 4.7km per litre. These are top numbers and I’d suggest conditions would dictate your range more than fuel consumption.
As we headed for the ramp and the wind increased, I found the Aquamaster liked a bit of speed to slice and punch through the waves. Overall, the Aquamaster 420 Runabout was a neat and tidy boat that performed well. And given a basic model starts from $22,500 ($22,990 as tested), for an affordable price you have a well-built boat that will give you and your family plenty of enjoyable days on the water.
You also have the knowledge your boat has been built in Australia by a company delivering quality boats for over 30 years. For more information on this or other Aquamaster boats, give the team at Australian Marine Centre a call on 07 3808 7333, check out amcboats.com.au or visit aquamaster.com.au
You can also check out the video review below, which shows just how well this boat performs and handles.