Queensland Powerboats
  |  First Published: July 2006

Queensland Powerboats has taken a big jump into the world of Formosa Boats with a range that will suit anglers who want to mess around in the estuaries right through to those who want to do some serious offshore work.

Formosa Marine Pty Ltd has been in the boat manufacturing business for almost a decade so they have their act well and truly in gear. Based at Capalaba, east of Brisbane, the company currently offers a range of water craft that includes centre consoles to 5.5m, as well as runabouts and bow riders to around the same length. The overall line up also includes cabin, side console and tiller steer craft in painted or unpainted finish.


What does impress about the Formosa line, and this is very obvious throughout the range, is the very strong build that comes as the result of full transom welds throughout plus the strongly reinforced rib joints, three way floor support structure, and the ample number of side ribs throughout the length of the hull.

Also noticeable is that the welds along the wide side decks are full length, not just a tack or two here and there. And the massive gusset braces below the decks are also worthy of comment. The result is more than just structural strength. These are tin boats that do not hum or drum or give vibes in the bum when pushing into chop (a fact of life with many similar craft of this size) thanks to the underfloor and side rigidity of the very strongly built hull.

Recently I caught up with Jim Gristani, one of Queensland Powerboats’ directors, on the water and put five Formosas through the wringer. I jumped into three centre console outfits and two cabin boats to check out their usefulness as boats for anglers.

Centre Consoles

The three centre console Formosa Boats I checked out were the 480CC, 520CC and 550CC.

Like all centre consoles, the Formosa offered a terrific amount of fishing room with two or three anglers able to fish virtually anywhere. On the right day, and with the necessary safety gear, all of the Formosas could venture offshore comfortably and safely. There are also a couple of grab rails on the stern for boarding and in-water pick ups, as well as providing a bit more safety when you’re fishing out the back in a bit of sea.

While the console was devoid of instruments there was room on the console’s upper flat section to fit a sounder/GPS unit if required. I also noticed a useful shelf within the console. Forward controls were located on the starboard side of the console, as expected.

The 480 was fitted with its maximum rating 75hp Honda, while the 520 was a little undergunned with a 90hp Honda. The large 550 travelled beautifully with its 135hp Honda, but the big centre console is rated to take a 140hp, although upping 5hp really wouldn’t make that much difference to the way the boat handles and rides.

I say the 520 was a little undergunned because the 90hp didn’t allow the boat to ride dry. In my opinion a heavier and larger 115hp, coupled with the more forward position of the helm, would just bring the nose of the boat up a bit and allow the spray deflectors to work their magic and push water away from the boat. This would make a big difference to the boat.

The three centre consoles have 4mm bottom sheets and 3mm side sheets that are held together by the excellent welding and attention to detail Formosa pride themselves on, while the fully carpeted floor is a touch of luxury and comfort. There is plenty of storage with side pockets, padded eskies (90L in the 580CC and 70L in the 480CC and 520CC) and underfloor storage located in convenient areas.

The forward casting deck will allow tuna chasers to do their thing while the skipper manoeuvres the boat into the right position, and the ample rear deck will be a great work area for those wanting to troll or anchor up and baitfish out the back.

Each of the centre consoles comes with a drive-on Dunbier trailer built for the boat and electronics can be included in the package.

For their price, the centre console range provides a great option for anglers looking for a boat that can handle the blue water, but be just as comfortable inside the estuaries and bays.

Cabin Boats

The Supercab series of Formosa Boats is essentially the same hull as the centre consoles, but the big difference is the cabin makes these boats more family friendly. The supercab does add weight to the rig, but the comfort it provides often outweighs the extra weight disadvantage for families looking at getting into a fishing rig.

Like the centre console rigs, the Supercab series is finished in a way that impresses from the start. Every little detail is taken care of from the full welds to attention to detail with the paint job. What I really liked about these boats was that the cabins provided plenty of cover from sun, wind and rain, but the back deck still had plenty of space for fishing. When you’re looking at a boat that will allow the family to take cover and still give you room to fish, that’s what you get with the Formosa Supercabs.

The ride was great in both the Supercabs as we headed out into the Gold Coast Seaway. The extra weight up front tipped the nose down a little when compared to the centre consoles, but the bimini cover, clears and cabin meant that even when a bit of water came over the front, the passengers and driver remained dry.

The helm area is well designed and simple. On the driver’s side there is enough room to mount all your electronic needs in a neat and orderly fashion around the steering wheel and throttle, while on the passenger side you can mount other accessories like a second sounder or GPS, radio or music system. These can be easily mounted around the glove box, which provides secure storage for valuables without limiting space greatly.

The hatch to the foredeck is large enough for almost everyone to get through to set and retrieve the anchor and it’s made from high impact, semi-clear plastic so natural light does penetrate into the cabin, which is usually a very dark place in cabin boats. Fold away seats on the rear deck provide extra seating or can be neatly stored away when serious fishing is going on, and a rear ladder gives excellent access into and out of the boat from the transom.

Each of the Supercabs comes with a tailor made Dunbier trailer and, like the centre consoles, an electronic package can be included. The Supercab series is a great starter package for those wanting a boat that can be a family cruiser one minute and anchored up and a serious fishing vessel the next.

Check them out

The Formosa range can be viewed and tested at Queensland Powerboats located at 3920 Pacific Highway in Loganholme. If you’re interested in testing one of the boats, give Queensland Powerboats a call on (07) 3801 1733 and find out when their next on water test day is – you’ll be glad you did.


Centre Consoles


Overall Length: 4.8m

Maximum hp: 75

Fuel: 70L

Passengers: 5

Price (from): $23,450


Overall Length: 5.2m

Maximum hp : 115

Fuel: 70/115L

Passengers: 6

Price (from): $7,500


Overall Length: 5.5m

Maximum hp: 140

Fuel: 115/150L

Passengers: 7

Price (from): $30,650


Cabin Boats


Overall Length: 5.2m

Maximum hp: 90

Fuel: 115L

Passengers: 6

Price (from): $30,650


Overall Length: 5.5m

Maximum hp: 140

Fuel: 115/150L

Passengers: 7

Price (from): $35,650

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