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12 Best Family Boats from London Boat Show 2016

What will be your new family hobby for 2016? How about indulging in healthy, outdoor fun out on the water! We’re here to inspire you to buy the perfect boat so you can do just that. Having spent time chatting to exhibitors across London Boat Show 2016, we’ve selected some standout vessels that were particularly popular with fans and the leisure marine press.


So here are 12 RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats), sports boats and motor cruisers that offer quality, comfort, and action. Then it’s over to you to choose the vehicle of your dreams and start planning fun-filled days in the sun. Remember owning a boat opens up endless opportunities for you and your family – cruising, beach-hopping, fishing, exploring rivers and estuaries, watersports, or simply sunbathing and sipping a drink somewhere beautiful.


Admiral Pro-Fish 660

For fishing fans the Pro-Fish 660 from Admiral is a gutsy gem. It’s ideal for inshore and offshore cruising and fishing, and the designers have gone all out to make this boat user-friendly and practical. Whether you’re an amateur or professional fisherman this can meet your needs. So what’s on offer? We’re impressed by the reinforced, extremely seaworthy hull which makes the boat stable, agile and easy to steer. You can expect a smooth and comfortable ride no matter what the weather is throwing at you.

This is helped by the fact that there’s a reassuringly spacious area to take cover under when the weather turns bad. The front window can be fully opened which gives an opportunity to sit on the bow and give you full and easy access to the anchor and bow locker.

There’s plenty of storage – large lockers - on the Pro-Fish 660 for stashing away the catch and your equipment. The boat is fitted with a 60hp Mariner outboard, and with this engine package it retails at £18,959.00 inc. VAT.

Available from: Barrus

Price: £18,959.00 inc. VAT.


Brig Eagle 480

The BRIG Eagle 480 is a luxury compact performance RIB with a sleek, lower profile giving a really sporty air. It is 4m 80cm in length and costs £20,995 including VAT. We think you’ll agree this one exudes class and style. It is speedy but also boasts stability on the water thanks to its deep V hull. Ideal for watersports fans, or families who like to explore the coastline, this delivers a safe and comfortable ride. There is plenty of room aboard for five people seated, and there’s capacity for up to eight. It was exhibited at London Boat Show 2016 by Wolf Rock Boat Company (http://www.thewolfrock.co.uk/) – and the experts here say the Eagle range is hugely popular in the UK, providing adventurous families with “one of the driest performance boats on the market”.

Available from: Wolf Rock Boat Company 

Price: £20,995 including VAT


Quicksilver Activ 755

Affordable family fun is guaranteed on this smart new Quicksilver model. It’s a lovely addition to their 7-metre boat line up, and generated plenty of interest at London Boat Show this year with visitors impressed at the value for money on offer.  The new Quicksilver Activ 755 Open (and 755 Sundeck) has been designed to offer performance, comfort and versatility. You can carry eight people, and there’s room for two overnight in the snug cabin. Features include interior and exterior dining, multiple seating and lounging configurations, ergonomically designed pilot posts and an outboard power pack of up to 300hp. Owners can opt for a cockpit galley, complete with single gas burner, sink, tap and refrigerator for those essential picnics or cocktails and canapés at sundown.

Ben Allen, General Manager, Marine Leisure Division, Barrus Ltd says the new range has been developed to meet the needs of consumers, looking for fun and relaxation on the water. “The Activ 755 range offers a wealth of great features combined with the distinctive Quicksilver styling.” We agree that pricing is excellent for a new boat of this quality and style, with the Quicksilver Activ 755 Open retailing through Barrus at £22,046.99 inc. VAT and the Sundeck model at £24,595.20 inc. VAT.

Available from:  Barrus

Price: £22,046.99 inc. VAT and the Sundeck model at £24,595.20 inc. VAT.


Selva 5.7 Elegance

New in 2012, the 5.7 Elegance perfectly embodies creative design in action. For a relatively small model – just 5.7m – the 5.7 Elegance is highly functional with features you normally only see on larger boats. For instance you can opt for a double sundeck at fore and aft, and the pilot seat can be converted for sitting or half upright driving. There’s also a compartment under the console with portholes and accessible from the front door. The Selva 5.7 Open Elegance has plenty of power thanks to the Selva Marlin 100 (100 hp 4-stroke) engine which makes up the boat package. Priced from £24,300, the Selva 5.7 Elegance is perfect for fishing trips and more.

Selva Marine is an Italian manufacturer of boats and engines, making headway in the UK thanks to a network of agents set up by Specialist Small Craft (www.specialistsmallcraft.com). The company has been established for over 50 years offers a broad range of 4-stroke engines as well as a number of ranges of inflatable, RIB and GRP boats from 2m to over 8m.

Available from: http://www.selvamarine.co.uk/

Price: from £24,300


Bayliner 642 Cuddy

World leading manufacturer in entry level quality powerboats since 1957. Bayliner produces a range of bow riders and cuddies from 16 ft to 26ft.

The all-new 642 Cuddy is a stylish and versatile model designed with open-water cruising, lounging, swimming and entertaining in mind.

The forward cuddy cabin, high-capacity anchor locker, and optional amenities like a fold-away tap with sink, transom shower and a removable Porta Potty make the 642 a comfortable choice for overnight stays. 

Claire Bates, sales manager at Bates Wharf Marine Sales is full of praise for the 642 Cuddy: "This boat should win an award! The 642 is a fantastic, well thought out cuddy cabin, complete with a sink, shower, toilet and full canvas package and the ability to ski and pull toys. She has a little bit of everything for everyone." 

Available from: www.bateswharf.co.uk

Price: Around £36,000


Monterey 224FSC

Here’s something speedy and sleek that will turn heads whether cutting through the water, or docked marina side. It’s a beautiful looking 6.9m sportsboat, which was first shown to the UK market at the London Boat Show this January, being billed as the ‘ultimate getaway machine’.

This power-packed 224FSC boasts attractive lines and a host of amenities. The optional recessed cleats and a sleek wraparound windshield give the boat it’s fabulously fast look. The 224FSC is perfectly equipped for a weekend of fun in the sun, with a ‘sun island’ designed for all day lounging and a swim platform. Down below you’ll find a spacious cabin for two. A large round day hatch provides light and ventilation, and the cabin door has built in steps to the forward deck which comes standard with a stainless steel wraparound rail.

Reviews in the boating press have praised the precise handling and fuel efficiency of this beauty.

Available from: Gibbs Boats Sales

Price: From £47,082 including VAT


Rodman 890 Ventura

This lovely compact powerboat – 8.9m in length - gives security and protection out on the water, as well as nifty performance. The new Rodman 890 Ventura made its UK debut at London Boat Show and is the first outboard model for the leisure market from the highly regarded Spanish shipyard of Rodman Polyships. There are many attractive features here, to ensure safe fun onboard, for instance deep walk around side decks, a side access door, 360° visibility from the helm, and a very spacious forward sunbathing area.

Below decks, Rodman has fitted a bow-end owners cabin and an amidships guest cabin that share a single heads compartment. We love the spacious 5m2 cockpit and feel this is a really safe and practical model to crew, even in rougher conditions.

If you’re buying one of there you have the option to specify whether you’re using the boat for fishing, family cruising or a mixture of both. There’s also the choice between single or twin outboard engines depending on how much power you’ll need. With all this versatility on offer, it’s clear the Rodman 890 Ventura can provide comfortable boating to suit your individual needs. Single engine gives 300 HP, while double engine options are 2x150 HP, or 2x200 HP.

Available from: RBS MarineRodman

Price: £82,000 including VAT


Ribeye Prime Eight21

Launched in 2015, the Prime Eight21 is billed by Ribeye as ‘the ultimate leisure RIB’. This is the top end of the RIB market, meaning that by investing a little more you can enjoy a luxurious deck layout and additional touches which add comfort and luxury to the power RIB experience.

Owners will appreciate the beautiful upholstery of this 8.4m RIB, side access steps which make it easy to board, classy looking console with glove box and USB port, generous storage spaces that are easy to open, and option for a toilet. There’s room onboard for 11 people, and seating has been designed with safety in mind for those times on lumpy seas. The Ribeye Prime Eight21 has 400hp engine capacity and can reach up to and over 50 knots. This boat will appeal to families and speed freaks alike.

The Prime range is manufactured at Ribeye’s HQ in Dartmouth, Devon.

Available from: Ribeye 

Price: From £90k


Cormate 24 Sportmate

We think you’ll adore the Cormate 24 Sportmate Supermarine from Norwegian builders Cormate. Distributed in the UK through Fine Design Marine, Cormate sportsboats benefit from a racing legacy and beautiful Nordic styling. The Sportmate 24 made its UK debut at London Boat Show and caught our eye. It is an advanced Center Console boat, with a mini cabin/toilet room, a user-friendly lay out and four integrated fenders for easy one-movement fendering when mooring. The pros of owning this 7.9m vessel are plentiful - Sportmate has a sheltered sunbathing area in the bow and an elegant ‘activity platform’ aft. The rear seat backrest can be easily adjusted in various positions to be used as a seat or a sun lounger, removable mahogany picnic table offers dining for six, and there’s a sink, fridge, stove, marine BBQ, and integrated kettle/water boiler, wine chiller to make catering for guest a doddle.

The sophisticated hull construction means the Sportmate has very low fuel consumption for its size. In Supermarine edition, this boat comes with teak deck, race controls and teak fenderboards. This model is fitted with Mercruiser 4.5L petrol engine (250 hp) which easily give 48 knots.

Available from: Fine Design Marine

Price: Supermarine edition from £60,980 and the standard edition from £48,062 both with mercury 4.3 L MPi (40 knots)


Sheerline 1090 HT

Sheerline Motor Cruisers, the Norfolk-based yachtmaker, unveiled its brand new motor cruiser model – the Sheerline 1090HT – at London Boat Show 2016. This one is all about enjoying life in the sun! With an uncharacteristically sporty exterior, and contemporary interiors, Sheerline is aiming to attract adventurous young families with this chic yet practical Hard Top boat. We like the fact that it’s comfortable for both river and coastal cruising, so really versatile. The interiors are great too, with a nifty option to covert the master cabin into a scissor twin berth.

Noteworthy features include the electric sunroof, direct glazed windows, two-burner hob and Avonite work surfaces in the galley, and a cockpit fridge – ideal for family entertaining in the evenings.

Power comes from a single 300hp Volvo Penta D4, which means this 37ft semi-displacement hull can cope inland or along the coast and can comfortably reach 20 knots. The first production models should be ready for delivery in November 2016.

Available from: Sheerline Motor Cruisers 

Prices: From £224,000 inc VAT


English Harbour 29 Offshore

Described as “a delight to drive” by Motorboat & Yachting magazine, and crowned a winner at the 2016 Motor Boat Awards in the ‘Wheelhouse and Cockpit Cruisers’ category - this beautiful boat impresses on so many levels we felt compelled to include it in our list. This would bring joy to any water-loving family blessed with the necessary funds - the price tag at the time of writing is around £161,800.00 (inc UK VAT).

The 29 Offshore has been designed to offer more speed and agility than similar sized English Harbour models. Volvo sterndrives (single 140hp, 170hp or 200hp) give the boat its power while the semi displacement hull guarantees good sea handling performance - cruising speed of between 10 and 20 knots. Features we love include the generous bathing platform; light, airy and spacious cabin; and cockpit laid out for maximum sociability. There are four berths in two cabins – the interiors are tastefully fitted as you’d expect of English Harbour Yachts, so this will be comfortable for weekend or long distance cruising.

According to broker Devon Boat Sales: “The English Harbour Yacht 29 is a fantastic boat - great for cruising around local rivers and estuaries. She is very sociable with a large cockpit and great internal accommodation especially given her size.”

Available from: English Harbour Yachts

Price: £161,800.00 (inc VAT)


Chris Craft Launch 36

Our final pick is pricey but stunning. The Chris Craft Launch 36 day boat made its UK debut at London Boat Show 2016, and captured the hearts of many for its versatile layout and knock-out good looks. This mega bowrider is 11.36 m long and is an impressively spacious boat built for having fun on the water. Invite your extended family and friends along and enjoy watersports and water toys while socialising on this comfortable boat.

The new model from US brand Chris Craft is designed with a full walk around deck to reach the forward seating and a full-sized bow sun bed. There’s an aft cockpit, a full open air galley, and large U-shaped seat, with a handy retractable table that easily converts to a second, large aft sunbed. Below deck, there are berths for five people for overnight stays, a full sized head and a separate shower.

Twin Volvo Penta D6 400 sterndrive diesels provide the power, allowing owners to easily get her up around 39 knots.

Available from: Bates Wharf 

Price: £478,850 (excluding VAT)


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Article: Alison Clements


Boats and Outboards Team
Published on 2016-01-18