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Safety is a paramount feature of the mould-breaking brand of fishing and family tinnies from renowned Finnish boatbuilder Silver, such as the Shark 580DC, writes Dave Lockwood


A famous Finnish architect, Eliel Saarinen, once said that you should always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context - a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan. And, I will add, a boat on the ocean. 

It's here that the Silver Shark redefines the tinnie ride and puts safety on the top of the prospective buyer's checklist.
While, you could be forgiven for thinking that Australia has a mortgage on the omnipresent tinnie because, for many years, there was no other choice in the marketplace, today's global boating world has suddenly opened new doors and markets. And the wonderful thing about boating is that there is more than one way to skin a cat.
Enter Europe's biggest Alufibre boatbuilder, Silver from Finland, no herring in the Seven Seas of tinnie manufacturers. Spawning an impressive 3000 boats a year, each based on an aluminium hull and then topped with a fibreglass deck for greater comfort than the traditional bum-numbing bench seat, Silver is out to redefine our notion of how a tinnie should perform.
Yet the Finns, I understand, aren't altogether different from Australians when it comes to how they use their boats. Fishing and family are the primary motives for floating your boat, which is why most Silver boats are designed to do a bit of everything really very well.
Take the aptly named Shark 580DC, a 5.80-metre dual-console boat and, a crossover trailerboat from an interesting range of runabouts, cabin cruisers and centre consoles. But while a cursory glance at the Shark reveals it's a bowrider, that most popular of trailerboat layouts for general-purpose use, there the sameness ends.
The Shark breaks the muffin-tin or cookie-cutter mould but shifting the helm farther aft where, it just so happens, the ride is smoothest in a boat. And in so doing it creates a vast forward seating plan that, with padded backrests, lets a couple of adults you kick back with legs outstretched. A bowrider on steroids if you will.
Meanwhile, as an aside, the flagship Condor model that we ran on the same day scored an Innovation Award at the last Scandinavian Boat Show. And if fishing's more your bent, the Shark also comes in a centre console version.


Measuring 5.80 metres overall, the Shark 580DC is a substantial tinnie, with sufficient freeboard, buoyancy and a stability for crossing big bays, harbours and even offshore waters. In fact, there's a seven-person seating capacity and, as tested, a maximum outboard rating up to 115hp to meet the CE building standards to which all Silver boats are made. But if you want more bang then hold your horses, as the importers are working on re-rating this boat to a maximum 135hp outboard.
Meanwhile, consider the rig as tested as a base version of the Silver Shark. The outboard was spinning a 16in stainless steel propeller and it comes with hydraulic steering, thank heavens, as it adds considerably to the driving pleasure (more on it later).
Construction is something that Silver stands behind. The Shark has a 4mm hull bottom with 2mm sides and rigidity to stop metal fatigue and cracking derived from a fully welded box-section grid comprising 3mm aluminium crossmembers and longitudinals. A fibreglass deck is added to the hull and the void between the two skins is filled with foam.
Should the Shark be swamped, no worries, Silver says the boat is virtually unsinkable. In fact, it will float and remain level and upright, unlike many boats this length whose flotation results in them inverting. What's more, the foam provides sound insulation and the typical thump-thump associated with your run-of-the-mill tinnie was noticeable by its absence.
Another nice thing is the weight of the rig. Dry, the hull weighs 660kg and on road, up on its single-axle Boeing trailer with brakes, it tips the scales to 1295kg. And that's well within comfortable towing limits of most family cars. Launched and rearing to go, there's plenty to embrace about the moulded fibreglass deck. In particular, the Finnish-made Shark tinnie preys on the mindset of those who covet safety foremost in their family/fishing boat.


A full-length stainless steel bowrail traces the gunwales of the Shark and, in so doing, increases internal freeboard to help contain the kiddies, the dog, and the better half. The rail also providing useful handholds for the Shark's bow-to-stern seating and for mounting rodholders.
Yet it's a split rail so that, along with some non-skid on the deck, you can safely step off this boat onto the shore. And that I did just after a beach landing, proving this to be a handy boat for staging foreshore picnics with the family after your dawn fishing raids.
Interestingly, the padeye on the foredeck has been put there for the Finns, who typically chain their boats to the dock. More importantly, there is a good amount of non-skid underfoot, hardwearing PVC gunwales, and a lean look derived from the raked deckline, blue king plank and blue-and-white upholstery.
With dual consoles, the skipper and co-pilot are afforded a welcome degree of weather or, moreover, wind protection when underway. 
Besides the generous bow seating, there are twin swivel helm seats and a full-width rear lounge for carrying up to five adults in the cockpit. Admittedly, compared with your usual tinnie, the Shark's cockpit is modest. But you can't have all that bow seating and not eat up cockpit space.
Thanks to a deep engine well, this is a doubly dry boat that won't ship water going forward and astern. Dry storage space isn't in short supply, either, with plenty of underseat hatches for stowing safety and personal gear, a dedicated underseat anchor locker in the bow, and two wet lockers in the transom corners that, with some aftermarket plumbing, could be turned into livebait tanks.
The co-pilot scores a glovebox, the skipper a moulded fibreglass dash with analogue engine gauges, plus there's room left over to mount navigation and/or fish-finding gear. The battery switch, access to the dash wiring and inline fuses, and footrests are all nearby.
As touched on, the Shark comes standard with hydraulic steering, which you will want with a 115hp on the tail. It also has a substantial 130lt underfloor fuel tank, good access to the sender and inline fuel filter, bilge with pump - though the Shark is self-draining - and plug-in aft navigation lights.
What's more, the boat has great access to the water via its non-skid topped aft decks either side of the deep engine well. And there is the requisite swim ladder. With a Fusion marine stereo with iPod docking, it's pretty much a just-add-water, optional electronics and fishing gear or inflatable toy kind of boat to go.


Holeshot or acceleration from a standing start is impressive, with the boat holding plane at 2500rpm and turning in a handy 14-knot low- speed cruise at 3000rpm. As a light ship with no one in the bow, the boat travels flatter at 3500rpm and, allowing us to trim the outboard leg up a tad, we are now scooting along at almost 20kts. Sans thumps, too, although upon an albeit pretty calm harbour.
The accepted economical rev setting on any outboard, that is 4000rpm, returned 22.5kts cruise, which is fast but not so enthusiastic that the boat leaps out of the water. However, the ride above 4500rpm or 25kts became a tad jumpy without much weight in the boat. Top speed was 37.6kts, though Silver says 40kts-plus is possible with, I am presuming, an 18in instead of a 16in prop.
But what matters most on a family and fishing boat is ride comfort. 
And in this respect this boat performed atypically for a tinnie. There were no backbreaking thumps, no douses of spray on the face and, thanks to the four-stroke outboard, no fumes and little harsh noise to contend with. A fine Finnish, indeed.


Terrific safety for a tinnie
Impressive hull construction
Proven track record in Europe
Enthusiastic local agents
Big bow seating area
Smooth ride
Dry and slippery hull
Fibreglass deck
A well-designed and user-friendly family boat

New badge in a highly competitive market
Price premium compared with local tinnies
Australians prefer welds than rivets for affixing things like bowrails
Aft bait tanks drain inboard if you forget to bung them
Small cockpit by Australian standards




Specifications: Silver Shark 580DC


Price as tested: Approx $55,000 w/ Mercury 115hp four-stroke 
outboard, Dunbier trailer, and options
Options fitted: Fusion stereo, safety gear, and boat and trailer regos
Priced from: As above w/ Mercury 115hp four-stroke outboard, and 
Dunbier trailer

Material: Aluminium with fibreglass liner and foam flotation
Type: Moderate-to-deep vee planing hull
Length: 5.80m inc. integrated swim platforms
Beam: 2.25m
Deadrise: 17.5 degrees
Weight: Approx 660kg (hull); 1295kg on road

Passengers: 7 adults
Fuel: 130lt
Water: n/a

Make/model: Mercury 115hp EFI
Type: EFI four-cylinder four-stroke outboard
Rated HP/kW: 115/85.8 at 5000 to 6000rpm
Displacement: 1.741lt
Weight: Approx 175kg
Gearbox (ratio): 2.07:1 outboard
Props: Standard 16in stainless steel


Scandinavian Boat Imports,
25 Rutland Avenue,
Castelcrag, NSW, 2068
Phone: 0431 947 821

Originally published in TrailerBoat #235

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