ABBS 5.30 Runabout with 115 E-Tec
  |  First Published: March 2009

The ABBS 5.30 Runabout was impressive, boasting an easy layout, a sweet ride, plus a plate hull construction featuring dual aluminium skins of 3mm outer and 2mm inner.

This neat 5.3m power craft, is big brother to the 4.55 Centre Console with 50hp E-Tec, which I reviewed several months ago. The 5.30m Runabout with 115hp Evinrude E-Tec on the transom has all of the desirable hull features from the smaller craft; but with more space in the interior and a higher level of performance.

As with the 4.55 rig the runabout was one of Smart Power Boat Hire's fleet. Bob Ielati at Smart Power Boat Hire provided the 5.3m test craft. The rig was tested on the Pine River on a very ordinary day that was more suited to hot soup and jumpers than boating and photos.

Up front of the 5.30m there's a neat bow rail, wide anchor locker with easy access through a wide windscreen door, plus a couple of non-skid steps on the deck. Most people would be able to reach the anchor quite easily just by reaching forward in the dash recess, without needing to move on to the deck.

There is a neat above-floor rack up front too, which is well protected by the fore deck into which smaller items could be tucked. The floors are also fully carpeted.

Easy interior layout

Moving aft there is a lockable glove box for the front passenger along with a grab handle plus plenty of leg room to stretch out. Both the skipper and first mates seats are mounted on a large padding equipped storage box to enable another passenger to sit close enough for a chat.

The dash layout is simple but easily monitored – an important consideration in a hire craft. Enjoying time at the helm was an easy, laid back, sort of business with an Eagle Fish Elite 500 sounder/GPS to port and E-Tec gauges to starboard.

There is also a compass and marine radio fitted on to the dash. With the 115 E-Tec's very convenient I-command system linked to the tacho gauge, any engine function, fuel consumption and or similar detail is available at the touch of a finger.

At 3,000rpm (28.2km/h) the engine consumed a meagre 3.5L of unleaded fuel per hour. I don't know about you but I call that serious economy.

The wheel linked to non-feed back steering is in a quite comfortable position due to neat positioning of the swivel seats. The squabs aft of these seats lifted to allow access to the big storage boxes below.

I liked the style of the craft's windscreen and bimini arrangement as a central roll up section of clears allowed very easy anchor access. The bimini on its strong folding frame did an excellent job of providing shelter for Bob and I when the rain became too heavy for comfort.

Smart Power Boat Hire have equipped this particular craft as an all round cruising and fishing rig. The craft fulfilled the duel role admirably, with a full width aft bench seat that could be dropped down against the transom padding to provide maximum fishing room.

The boat has three different storage spaces. As well as the seat boxes, storage is also provided with a pair of very large side pockets and a cavernous underfloor area between the forward seats. The rig could easily provide enough storage to cater for a small family as well as fishing gear.

The stern area on the craft is quite straightforward. There is a full height transom, side grab rails and swim platforms on either side of the 115 E-Tec. Also with ample flat non-skid surfaces aft, swimmers should not have much trouble coming aboard after a dip.


The E-Tec 115hp outboard makes the 5.30 ABBS runabout a lively performer. During the test run, she planed at 18.1km/h at 2,800rpm, cruised at 28.2km/h at 3,000rpm with a meagre 3.5L per hour of fuel consumption. At 4,000rpm the GPS unit measured 39.7km/h, 5,000rpm gave a speed of 60.8km/h, and 5,200rpm a lively 63.3km/h. The 115 E-Tec had a lot of grunt yet was surprisingly quiet; a forward movement of the throttle brought instant response yet the craft was quite docile at all times. It would suit a family buyer or dedicated angler, equally in my view.

The ABBS twin skin hull is no lightweight at about 1290kg but that weight contributed to a very smooth and enjoyable ride. Even belting hard across chop from other craft caused little disturbance to the 5.30's excellent ride.

Buyers – or hirers – can expect a quite dry ride as well thanks to the large spray chine that commences right at the bow and runs the full water line length of the craft.

Stability at rest was also good with a 10º deadrise, underwater strakes, plus the grip afforded by the spray chine, all allowed the 2.45m wide hull to sit well in the water and steady at rest.

Freeboard, 650mm, is also quite good for the size of the craft. The floor is carried well down into the hull making the boat a sufficient depth to afford peace of mind for people with young children aboard. This craft is rated for five people.


The ABBS custom built 5.30 runabout is a very versatile craft. It is well suited for both family use or for dedicated anglers. Offshore work in this boat would be fine, provided the weather was right. There was ample equipment on board and the overall finish of the craft was very good. The craft, at the standard it was reviewed, can be assured of a long and useful life. Ride and handling are strong points, as are performance and economy with the 115 E-Tec astern.

Robert Ielati is the Brisbane sales distributor for these craft and for a hire or test run Rob can be contacted on 0409 265 675 or on email at --e-mail address hidden-- .

Gold Coat buyers might like to contact Mr Tony Bramich of Brumbsmarine – ABBS manufacturers on (07) 5564 9082.

The price of the rig as tested was $34,000, which is very reasonable on today's market.



Power ratings:75-115hp
Power fitted:115hp E-Tec.
Towing:Family sedan or wagon.

Reads: 4320

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