Looking back: Coast Craft 560 Pontoon/Jet

By: Paul Smith, 2007

Looking back: Coast Craft 560 Pontoon/Jet Looking back: Coast Craft 560 Pontoon/Jet
Looking back: Coast Craft 560 Pontoon/Jet Looking back: Coast Craft 560 Pontoon/Jet
Looking back: Coast Craft 560 Pontoon/Jet Looking back: Coast Craft 560 Pontoon/Jet
Looking back: Coast Craft 560 Pontoon/Jet Looking back: Coast Craft 560 Pontoon/Jet
Looking back: Coast Craft 560 Pontoon/Jet Looking back: Coast Craft 560 Pontoon/Jet
Looking back: Coast Craft 560 Pontoon/Jet Looking back: Coast Craft 560 Pontoon/Jet
Looking back: Coast Craft 560 Pontoon/Jet Looking back: Coast Craft 560 Pontoon/Jet

Rapid power, damn quick top end, and excellent handling characteristics are key in this solid original. We look back at a review of the Coast Craft 560 that we first published in 2007.

New Zealand Pontoon style boats have been well proven for nearly 30 years. Most use outboards, but over the last decade the Coast Craft 560 has proved that jets are an excellent alternative. Ralph Adams began building river jet boats in Christchurch, and the saltwater Coast Craft 560 was designed from the outset to blend the benefits of a positive buoyancy hull with waterjet propulsion, although the hull performs equally well with a prop.

Construction and design

Like all of Adams’ boats, construction of the 560 is in marine grade alloy. The hull is 5mm although a heavy- duty 6mm or 8mm can be specified. The pontoons are 3mm, in four sealed sections per side. The transom is 4mm, as are the four, full-length longitudinal bearers. The top deck/superstructure is 3mm, with the cockpit sole in 3mm treadplate. A tough plastic rubbing strip is attached to the gunwales.

The hull incorporates a long delta keel section to facilitate the waterjet intake, supplemented by a single planing strake either side. The bow sections have reasonably fine entry, while the main chine is heavily turned down, tapering out to 100mm in width at the transom. A second chine is formed into the pontoons. Deadrise is variable but measures 20 degrees at the transom. The hull length is 5.6m, but the extended boarding platform aft and anchor fairlead on the bow provide for an overall length of 6m. Overall beam is wide at 2.25m.


A cuddy cabin provides a full-length berth with plenty of headroom while sitting and the cockpit dimensions (2.9m x 1.65m) allow plenty of space for fishing.

The bow and foredeck area is accessed via the large Maxwell hatch forward. Grab rails are well positioned in the cabin and the 150 mm wide external walk-around has non-slip pads. An alloy fairlead has a rail either side and is supplemented with a bollard. A forward hatch gives good access to the anchor locker.

The cockpit and cabin feel spacious due to the absence of solid bulkheads – the starboard helm is located on a hanging binnacle. The cabin is fully lined. The battery is mounted in a plastic box beneath the starboard berth and a shelf is located along either side. A removable panel on the back of the binnacle gives access to the wiring and fuses, and a small light internally assists at night.

The Morse push/pull cable helm controls the boat. Close to the wheel are the tachometer, and engine monitoring and a fishfinder. Mercury switching actuates bilge pumps, navigation lights and accessories. An engine hour clock, ignition, trim tabs and a 12V socket are located to port. A VHF is mounted beneath the binnacle.

A large flat parcel tray and grab rail sit below the curved Perspex windscreen and two king/queen units, with storage, provide seating for four. An underfloor locker between extends to the bulkhead and the underfloor fuel tank holds around 140-litres. An oil tank is aft of the fuel tank, ahead of the engine, with an access port in the sole. Full-length, plastic-lined side (2.3m x 250mm depth) means good space for rods, gaffs, paddles and boat hooks. The flat coamings are wide enough to sit on while fishing, have non-slip pads as well as two stainless steel rod holders and a solid alloy bollard aft either side.

The engine box is compact (670mm x 550mm) maximising cockpit space, and the top is upholstered for seating but is more likely to be used as a bait station and filleting table for the dedicated fisho. The cockpit drains into a sump with dual bilge pumps.

A transom door accesses the boarding platform. A stainless steel towing eye for skiers and water toys is mounted above the fuel filler and engine compartment air vent.

Coastcraft _560_5

Engine and Propulsion

This Coast Craft 560 utilised a Mercury 240HP EFI Sportjet propulsion system. The Sportjet offered a favourable power to weight ratio, with compact dimensions and ease of installation, and it delivered a top speed in excess of 85kph. The 7.25" diameter waterjet provides good acceleration off the mark and the Coast Craft hull stays fully primed during the harshest turns. A slight niggle is the split-duct reverse bucket; it is just adequate – in comparison with the Hamilton Jet 212, IMO.

Performance and Handling

We trialled the Coast Craft 560 for a day, in the lively coastal waters off Kaikoura. There was a good 1-2m swell running, so we were able to evaluate the performance and handling in conditions owners often encounter.

Alloy pontoon boats tend to be noisy when heading into a sea, but the Coast Craft 560 was exceptionally quiet. The bow sections pierce the tops of the swells rather than being lifted , and the chines and pontoons deflect water down, keeping the windscreen spotless. Handling in a following sea was nicely predictable, without any tendency to broach. We pushed the boat hard – both into and before the swells – and it delivered a dry and safe ride.

A comfortable cruise of 4000rpm delivered around 22 kts, with plenty of power in reserve to 5800rpm at WOT. A bit of jandal from 4000rpm gave a satisfying surge of speed, allowing us to climb up the back of a following sea with no cavitation. We happily pushed the Coast Craft 560 until the 8m photo boat was hard pressed to keep up.

The verdict

In South Bay, we put it through a series of high speed opposite lock turns in an effort to expose handling vices but boat hung on with tenacious grip. It’s reassuring to know the handling capabilities of the boat surpass the limits that most operators are likely to encounter. Pontoon hulls fitted with waterjets sometimes tend to skip out of a hard turn as they heel on to the flat causing a spin out, but the Coast Craft 560 was entirely predictable and turned without murmur – as hard as the helmsman dared. This is a seriously impressive boat to drive.

I really like this Coast Craft 560 combo; however, it would just as well suit an outboard, petrol or small diesel stern drive. The boat is well built and to my mind is ruggedly handsome.

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