Coraline 550 CC Commercial Boat Reviews

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Boat Review Date: November 2017
Author: Mike Brown

Overview

The review boat has a standard Coraline 550 hull, which sounds no more than reasonable, but this one was built for commercial use and had to abide by survey rules. That it complied with only comparatively minor additions and modifications heaps praise on its basic structure.


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The review boat has a standard Coraline 550 hull, which sounds no more than reasonable, but this one was built for commercial use and had to abide by survey rules. That it complied with only comparatively minor additions and modifications heaps praise on its basic structure.

 The 550 is in survey for 20 nautical miles to sea. Until recent times this was an unheard of distance for an outboard powered commercial vessel, but with four-stroke outboard reliability approaching that of diesels it makes sense. The crossed fingers rider to this concession is the requirement to carry an auxiliary, in the 550’s case a 10hp Yamaha four-stroke.

Stability is taken seriously. The vessel is certified to carry five crew, so the test is with three standing at one rail and two sitting on the centre line the gunwale must not dip more than a certain amount. A very small certain amount. The centre line people were simulated by a pair of 75 litre drums of sea water, 33 percent of the gunwale people was a roped-in boat reviewer.

Closely associated with stability is flotation – the stuff you need when stability is overwhelmed. Standard Coralines have basic flotation; this one has massive quantities of foam installed to raise it to level flotation.

If a commercial vessel is certified for five crew then it has to have five seats, which is on the high side for a smallish centre console. Coraline has fitted them in well. A single ahead of the console and a triple at the transom both fold, and are completely removable on days when cargo is more important than people. The only permanent seat is the driver’s, which has a reversible back.

Biminis are optional items on leisure boats and you see plenty going topless. A commercial vessel, though, is a workplace and the duty of care requires the provision of shade. This one shares it out well among the five with a large Bimini that furls rapidly into its sock.

There is seldom an excess of stowage space in a centre console and the 550 is not an exception. There is a pair of transom lockers, one largely consumed by the battery, a locker within the driver’s seat, and dual level lockers within the console. The console is wider than average, matched by the seat box, so a good mount of damp-sensitive gear can be stowed.

The console is topped by a large windscreen that can be tilted for towing. This apparently small reduction in frontal area makes a significant decrease in air drag when on the trailer.

The wide console still allows easy passage either side of it due to the 550’s generous beam of 2.45m. Only 250mm longer than the next Coraline down it is 200mm wider. Width builds area a lot quicker than length does.

The 550 has a career in marine mammal research ahead of it, and the centre console layout with its access to 100 percent of rail length gives it plenty of adaptability. The bow platform, carried over from the leisure fishing version, increases useable working space.

The main engine (commercial jargon there) is a 115hp Yamaha. It will not have a particularly easy life hauling five adults plus gear around, but judging from the way it coped with three it should be well up to the job. As usual, hydraulic steering made manoeuvring – something this boat has a lot of in its future – a delight.

One feature you would be unlikely to have seen on a trailer boat is an emergency fuel shut-off valve. This is a compulsory item on a working boat to deny fuel to any fire. It makes more obvious sense if the boat has a separate engine room.

If you are working with marine mammals, sooner or later you are going to have to be in the water with them; the 550 is well set up for this. With the rear seat folded there is plenty of gearing up space, the door leads to a roomy platform, and the ladder is a massive construction. All things considered, this could be too good a boat for work – much better for play.

Lowdown

Price as reviewed    $85,000

Length overall           5.85m

Hull length                5.50m

Beam                          2.45m

Fuel capacity            150L

Motor fitted                115hp Yamaha plus 10hp Yamaha