Review: Enforcer 370

By: Norman Holtzhausen, Photography by: Norman Holtzhausen


The dinghy is the backbone of the NZ weekend fisher fleet and the Enforcer 370 is a safe, economical and modern take on the classic Kiwi trailerboat.

Many aluminium dinghies are pretty basic, with a simple welded or even rivetted hull and seats. What immediately sets the Enforcer 370 apart is the flat welded floor, a 4mm thick checkerplate non-slip surface with sealed under-floor buoyancy. This creates a comfortable and stable deck to stand on, ensuring that moving around the boat is considerably easier and safer.

The importance of the inbuilt buoyancy cannot be over-emphasised since, by its very nature, this size of boat is considerably more vulnerable to being swamped by rogue waves or being tipped over by incorrect use. However this is not only far less likely with the Enforcer’s flat deck, it is also not a life-threatening catastrophe since the sealed buoyancy means the boat will continue to float.

 

Enforcer dinghy

Enforcer 370

The comfort does not stop there, though, and the Enforcer also has wide gunwales that are comfortable to sit on and a foredeck that creates a small sheltered cuddy for stowing the anchor or keeping gear dry.The gunwales contain a couple of rodholders either side and a couple of grabhandles are convenient for occupants on either thwart to hold onto. A welded bowroller and a nylon cleat enable the anchor to be properly and safely deployed over
the bow.

This size boat can either be human-powered (using oars) or propelled by a modest outboard, and provision is made for both options. Rowlock mounts are fitted to the gunwales, appropriately placed for an oarsman seated on the forward thwart. The reinforced transom supports an outboard up to 25hp, although the boat we reviewed had a modest Tohatsu 18hp two-stroke outboard motor. Fuel is provided by a tote tank that can either sit against the transom or be stowed farther forward under the first thwart.

 

Launching and handling

Enforcer 370 dinghy

Since setting a net for flounder is a very popular activity for this type of boat, Mark Cunningham, sales manager of manufacturer Galloway International, decided this was the perfect way to trial the boat and hopefully come home with a feed
as well.

So we set out on a crisp winter morning, aiming for a tidal flat where there were reputed to be flounder. A suitable net, a pair of oars and Mark’s secret weapon were all that was needed.

One of the joys of a small boat like this is how easy it is to launch. It can even be done in places with no boat ramp by unhitching the trailer and wheeling it by hand down the beach into the water. We did it the easy way, down the boat ramp, and were soon scuttling across the harbor to our destination.

Enforcer 370 deck

Although this is not the sort of boat to take on big seas, it had no problem with handling the Auckland harbour chop, and indeed felt like it could handle considerably rougher conditions without too many concerns.

The Tohatsu proved more than adequate for the hull, and even with two adults, a full tank of fuel and the accoutrements for flounder netting it had no problem. We did not bother testing the top speed because a boat this size is not about performance, but it was adequate and felt comfortable even at wide open throttle. Throwing the boat into some sharp turns was also completely safe and comfortable.

 

Fishing for flounder

Fishing for flounder in an Enforcer 370

Once we had taken the required photos we headed into the shallows with the 370 Enforcer. Flounder can be quite skittish so it was time to cut the motor and warm-up on the oars.

After setting the anchor on one end of the set, Cunningham fed out the net while colleague Mike Wilson worked the oars. Rowing is easy, with the setup just right. The net was laid out in a straight line parallel to the shore, and took just a few minutes. The two of them had no stability issues with both standing in the boat and moving around, something that is out of the question with most dinghies of this size.

Once the net was in place it was time to scare the fish into it, and Cunningham’s secret weapon came into play. A rubber plunger, more commonly used for unclogging a dunny, was attached to a broom handle. Standing in the boat, this was whumped down on the surface, creating a resonant bang through the water column which we hoped would scare the flounder into swimming towards the net.

After a couple of slow passes, first close to the shore then somewhat closer to the net, it was time to pull in. Again there were no issues with stability pulling the net over the side, a common and sometimes dangerous activity in the wrong boat or rough conditions. Sadly, although there were a couple of fish in the net, none were the target species.

 

The Trade-a-Boat verdict

Enforcer 370 layout

A short run across the harbour again soon had us back and pulling the boat onto its trailer. This is a NZ-built fully-galvanised model with submersible LED lights and a jockey wheel, so nothing has been compromised here either.

The selling price of the boat includes three years WOF and a 12-month rego on the trailer, while the boat comes with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Overall this is a smart, little boat at a very attractive pricepoint. The two-stroke motor is a good choice when offsetting the difference in fuel consumption compared to the purchase price of a four-stroke. However a 20hp Tohatsu four-stroke is also offered as an option. The sealed floor gives a level of comfort and safety not often seen in a boat this size, and the stability and comfort is class-leading. 

 

Enforcer 370 specs

Enforcer 370 price: $9,995

Price as tested

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Aluminium (3mm hull, 4mm checkerplate floor)

TYPE Aluminium dinghy

LENGTH 3.7m

WEIGHT 96kg (hull)

DEADRISE 12 degrees

TRAILER Galvanised, single-axle

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 3

REC. HP RANGE 15 to 25

FUEL Tote tank(s)

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Tohatsu

TYPE Two-stroke outboard motor

RATED HP 18

 

Enforcer Boats

Attn: Mark Cunningham

36 Cryers Road, East Tamaki, Auckland

Phone 0800 370 007

Web enforcerboats.co.nz

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #255, July / August 2015. Why not subscribe today?

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