by Dom Wiseman

In a sea (pun intended) of imported centre console boats in Australia, it’s nice to see a local manufacturer put out something new and decidedly Australian in the busy scene and the Cruise Craft F360M is just that.

Cruise Craft have a long history and are a part of Australian boating folklore. They began way back in 1946 when Roy Nichols established a boat building company.  The Cruise Craft brand was launched in 1960 and in 1967 they released their first fibreglass model. Since then they have won dozens of awards for their boats and the family name remains at the helm of this busy Australian manufacturer.

F360M is a 6.35 metre fishing platform in a useful centre console design. For any angler this allows full 360 degree access around the boat. Hence the name, obviously. My first impression upon looking inside the boat at the 2018 Melbourne Boat Show was I thought the boat lacked depth. Looking more like a bay boat than offshore battle wagon.

Taking a step back and looking at the hull from the outside, I realised quickly that it is every bit offshore capable and will delight any owner. And there is no doubt that Cruise Craft have enormous respect and experience in producing quality offshore hulls. The thing that threw me initially was the internal floor. In response to the way people use these boats when fishing, often moving about quickly and regularly, Cruise Craft have lifted the floor height to deliver more flat space and a smaller step up to the often used front casting platform. It show just how much thought goes into making a completely new model and ensuring it delivers in every way the customer needs it to.

Elsewhere inside, the console is a large upright design which maximises space around it while also delivers the height required to hide behind should you need to. The floor is of course a self draining fibreglass design with an impressive 210 litre fuel tank beneath. One of the issues you can have with a centre console is storage and the F360M is loaded with 700 litres of space, and that should accommodate all your equipment for a days fishing.

The boat on display at the Melbourne Boat Show was fitted with an array of equipment and came in at over $100,000 as displayed. The package starts at around the $79,000 mark and comes with all the features you need to hit the water immediately. The boat, motor and trailer package weighs in at just a shade under 2 tonnes making a medium sized tow vehicle necessary.