Coraline 525 Explorer Runabout Boat Review

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Boat Review Date: November 2014
Author: Mike Brown


Runabouts have the potential to be the most boring of boats because, over the years, they have probably been the most built of boats. Of course, most built has a suggestion of most popular and, certainly, their market remains secure.

The Coraline 525 runabout can claim to be among the pack leaders in this genre. At 5.2 metres hull length it is close to the average length of trailer boats, and its 2.25 metre beam combines with that to give a lot of wide open space – which is what most people want. It has a raised fore deck giving extra protection and also extra dash space for electronics. And, unlike pressed aluminium boats, it has a self draining deck.

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Self draining means of course that it has to be higher than the water level so the rail hits anglers’ legs lower down. The cure for this is to sit down. One great advantage of the sealed self draining deck that is seldom thought of is the lack of crevices for debris to lodge in. Drop a five cent piece into a damp space where it lies against aluminium and your hull will start to dissolve. Lead sinkers are good at that too.

Australian boats generally and WA-built boats in particular pay a lot of attention to anchoring systems, where imports often have nothing more than a fore deck cleat. The Coraline replaces that cleat with a massive cross bollard and rounds out the system with a bowsprit, roller and roomy anchor well. A recess mid dash and an opening windscreen section give easy access for anchoring or tending forward berthing lines while remaining in the cockpit.

Which could make you wonder what purpose the bow rails serve. Appearance is one: the boat would look half dressed without them. But they show their practical side when you launch at a site without finger jetties: you have something to get hold of. An abundance of rails of one sort or another is a Coraline feature, and throughout the boat you are never far from something to grip.

One reason for the wide open spaces is there are just two seats on board. Two is the commonest fishing number so many will prefer this set up, although Coraline can add a folding-removable rear lounge.

The seats are good ones; the driver’s well positioned for the controls. They swivel on top of cave lockers that also have lidded boxes for valued items. Other stowage includes a pair of transom lockers, although batteries take a share of this, side pockets and the big one, under the fore deck. It is hard to imagine anybody could bring enough stuff on board to fill this. Net and bungee cord could make neat compartments here for life jackets and the like.

Our 525 had a115hp Yamaha four-stroke on the back. These boats perform competently with as little as 60hp, so it was no surprise at all that the performance was sparkling. We were inshore with a fresh easterly blowing, so the ocean was infested with small but short and steep seas. There are plenty of boats around that can shake fillings out of teeth in these conditions but the 525, at all speeds up to full throttle, just absorbed it; the ride was excellent.

And quiet too. The 525 is built of 4mm plate throughout with a substantial sub structure that had no resonance. Coraline gives this tough hull a five year warranty.

The Coraline has all the expected goodies: carpet, transom door, boarding platform, ladder, Bimini and navigation lights. It also has a reasonably friendly price: AUD $42,553 if you opt for 70hp instead of 115.


Price from                  AUD $42,553

Length overall           5.5m

Hull length                5.2m

Beam                          2.25m

Fuel capacity            110L

Motor fitted                115hp Yamaha four-stroke