On the lookout for a versatile boat that won’t empty your wallet? Here are five of the most sought-after runabout models on boatsales.

As the spring/summer boating season approaches, it’s the perfect time to invest in a new family/fishing runabout. While having a bigger budget gives you more options, you don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune to enjoy the best of the marine lifestyle.

  1. Quintrex 430 Fishabout

The Quintrex 430 Fishabout is the most popular runabout on boatsales and one of the best entry-level boats available. This fantastic front-windscreen, forward-control alloy runabout is perfect for newcomers, retirees, and those looking to downsize. It offers decent wind/weather protection, a spacious interior layout, and a safe, comfortable vee bottom hull. The 2023 Quintrex Fishabout is also a stylish craft, with smooth, ‘plate-look’ topsides replacing the traditional clinker-panelled topsides of previous models. Below the waterline, the latest Fishabout is equipped with the variable deadrise Quintrex Blade hull, which provides a smooth, stable, and dry ride.

  1. Stacer 429 Sea Master

The Stacer 429 Sea Master is another excellent choice for first-time boat buyers. This forward-windscreen runabout replaced a similar model called the Sea Way. The name Sea Master was inspired by one of the most successful Stacer runabout models from the 1970s and ’80s, the 474 Sea Master. There are seven Sea Master runabouts in the current Stacer boat range, including the entry-level 429 model and the 449, 481, 499, 519, 539, and 589 series boats. Additionally, there is a deluxe SE Special Edition version of each model, outfitted with extra kit that would cost more if bought separately.

  1. Quintrex 481 Fishabout

The Quintrex 481 Fishabout is the third most popular and most-searched runabout on boatsales. It falls roughly in the middle of the Fishabout front-windscreen runabout range and could be considered the Goldilocks model. It is large enough to fish a dozen or so miles offshore, yet still small and light enough to be enjoyed on narrow backwaters, rivers, and estuaries. Although it may be a bit big to fit into a garage (without a folding trailer drawbar), it is light and compact enough to be easily towed behind a family-sized SUV and stored on the side of the driveway.

  1. Stabicraft 1550 Fisher

The Stabicraft 1550 Fisher is somewhat of an outlier in this group of mostly pressed alloy monohulls. It is an excellent craft and quite unique in the marketplace, making it a terrific fishing and adventure boat – an SUV of the sea, if you will. Like all New Zealand-made Stabicraft boats, the 1550 Fisher has a moderate/deep-vee centre alloy hull surrounded by chambered pontoon flotation tubes, making the hull exceptionally stable and unsinkable. Early Stabicraft boats had a somewhat awkward appearance, but the latest models are reasonably pleasing to the eye. Generally, Stabicraft boats perform excellently on the water – safe, soft riding, and stable.

  1. Haines Hunter V19R

The Haines Hunter V19R is an Aussie classic that will always be in demand. First introduced in the late 1960s, the V19R was modelled after the US-made Bertram 19 runabout but re-imagined for Australian boating and fishing. Despite its classic boat status, the Haines Hunter V19R is relatively simple. The deep-vee hull is known for its soft ride and excellent handling, but the interior layout in original models was quite plain.

In conclusion, these are the top five runabout models on boatsales, each with its own unique features and advantages. Whether you are a newcomer, a retiree, or looking to downsize, there is a runabout model that will suit your needs and budget.