Mako Craft 560 Cruiser Cab Review

Issue: March 2006

Devouring The Opposition. Family cruising or full on fishing… Mako’s got it sorted.

The Mako Craft 560 Cruiser Cab is the second boat the Modern Boating team has tested from the newest aluminium boat builder on the block.

And we’re happy to report it builds on the good impressions left by the 530 Trophy Centre Console the team originally tested. As its name suggests, the Mako 560 Cruiser Cab is a 5.6m cuddy cabin that will appeal to people looking for a boat with looks to suit social family boating, coupled with the practicality of a knockabout fishing boat.

Full marks go to Mako Craft for the test boat’s bold paint job. As you can see in these photos, it looks great and anybody would be proud to park it in their driveway.

Inside the hull, there’s a system of longitudinal stringers with cross bulkheads below deck and conventional ribs above. The bottom plate of the 560 Mako Craft hull is built from 4mm aluminium, while the topsides are 3mm. This keeps the centre of gravity low. Designer Alf Stessl’s strategy was to ensure the hull remained strong yet flexible when it needed to be.

Alf Stessl’s designs have always been innovative and this hull is no exception. 

A pair of 100mm ‘rails’ (Mako Craft call them ‘Revo Rails’) are welded to the aft section of the 560 Cruiser Cab’s hull and these contribute considerably to the boat’s ride and fuel efficiency.

On the water the hull leaves little doubt this is an aluminium boat. It definitely sounds like a tinnie, because the cuddy cabin captures the running noises and acts a bit like a megaphone.

But don’t get me wrong ? it’s no better or worse than any other cuddy cabin tinnie on the Australian market and its overasll finish leaves many behind.

A 90hp Honda four-stroke powered the test 560 Cruiser Cab. This is a heavy powerplant that the hull supports without fuss. The Honda ran as Hondas do, quietly and smoothly.

Although you can shave quite a few bucks off the purchase price by staying with a traditional two-stroke engine, this motor was such a good match for the test boat I suggest it’s worth serious consideration.

In-gear idle was 1.6 knots at a whisper quiet 600rpm, an ideal freshwater trolling speed. Minimum planing speed, thanks to the Revo Rails and Soft Rider transom, was a lowly 6.3 knots. This set-up considerably improved the boat’s rough water ride.

Cruising speeds (with a 16in pitch Vengeance stainless steel prop fitted) between 15 and 20 knots came at 3500 to 4500rpm. At 4000rpm, the Cruiser Cab pulled 17.3 knots. Top speed was a respectable 30.1 knots at 5800rpm.

Although the Mako’s hull is rated up to a maximum of 140hp outboard, I’d suggest you’d only need the extra power if you plan on using this boat for watersports like skiing or wakeboarding.

A question of great interest to everyone looking at cabin boats around this size is the ratio of bunk length to cockpit size. Obviously one or the other has to be compromised, as there’s simply not enough room in a 5.6m boat for full-length bunks and a maxi cockpit.

The 560 Cruiser Cab does a better job than most of striking this awkward balance. The bunks are six feet long and still leave a cockpit spacious enough to satisfy the keenest of fishos.

Tall folk might feel that 6ft bunks are a little on the short side. But Mako Craft has given this model a 2.4m beam, which makes the bunk (with the infill cushions in place) wider than it is long, alleviating any shortcomings in length.

Enough storage is another perennial issue in small boats and this one has it covered. Space underneath the bunks has been fully utilised and both passenger and helm seats sit on the top of large storage lockers. There’s also large storage pockets down each side of the cockpit.

Side pockets in boats are a particular paranoia of mine ? I hate cracking shins on them! Nevertheless, these ones have been engineered to work in with the top deck, so your shin just touches as your upper leg meets the top deck. I give this Mako Craft 150 out of 100 here. Why can’t all boat builders do it this way?

The lockers beneath the bucket seats do take up space in the cockpit. But having an upholstered seat on top serves as a handy perch to watch the troll lines from.

Aft, Mako Craft’s rendition of an extended transom (they call it ‘Soft Rider’) provides a full height covering board across the transom. A neat folding seat extends across the inside of the aft bulkhead. This drops down and folds away when not required.

Behind the lounge there’s a shelf to support the battery. There’s plenty of room here for twin batteries and/or an oil bottle if the boat was powered by a two-stroke outboard.

The interior finish is stark, with bare paint inside the cuddy cabin and vinyl on all the seats. But Mako Craft has tried to maintain the 560 Cruiser Cab’s liveability without compromising its practical nature. The paint job and catchy graphics immediately grab attention. Stylish cabin windows, a raked Targa bar and the aesthetically pleasing slope down to the Soft Rider’s motor mount make this a good looking boat. On the practical side of this, dedicated fishos will be happy they can stow six rigged rods across the Targa bar. This bar easily folds back to lower the boat’s overall height for towing or getting the boat through garage doors.

This boat did everything you’d expect a well-built aluminium boat to do, which includes many good and some not-so-good aspects. But if you’re looking for an aluminium cuddy cabin, Mako Craft boats will fit the bill. As aluminium cuddy cabs go, this one does an excellent job of keeping everybody happy!

According to the team at Mako Craft, the classic Aussie half cabin has been reborn with the 560 Cruiser Cab. It has a large, spacious cabin, full-length cabin berths, big cockpit and a safe, high-sided hull. Among the leading features are its long lasting aluminium construction, extra wide beam for greater interior space and its surprisingly sleek styling.

Check also the smooth plate alloy topsides, curved, yet weather shielding windscreen and the abundance of interior seating. 

And with the soft riding, but easily powered Mako Craft hull, owners can be assured of good performance with smaller, more economical outboards.

A 90hp Honda four-stroke outboard powered the test Mako Craft 560 Cruiser Cab.

With two adults on board and fitted with a Mercury Vengeance stainless steel 16in prop, the 560 returned the following speed-to-rpm figures.

1.8 – 600
6.3 – 3000
17.3 – 4000
24.5 – 5000
30.1 – 5800

LENGTH: 5.6m
BEAM: 2.4m
MAX HP: 140hp
FUEL: 120lt
PRICE: $32,000


+ Great paint job; Spacious cuddy cabin 
– Running noise