By: John Willis

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Offshore fishing is serious business, says John Willis, fresh from assessing the new Ocean Master 710 Senator. Gone are the days of adapting multipurpose family boats to suit fanatical fishermen, says John. Fishing boats nowadays are designed with everything built-in. If they aren’t, they don’t survive.




Melbourne's Ocean Master builds fishing boats, and the 710 Senator, fitted with my old favourites, a pair of F150 Yamaha four-strokes, is equipped and ready for long hard days in search of pelagic prey. The builders and designers at Ocean Master boast four decades of experience in boat design and construction, having worked for some of Australia's leading brands before branching into their own venture some 10 years ago. This experience shines through in the layout and build quality of the Ocean Master range.

It's always nice to hop into a boat that feels like your own. Everything is where it should be, and all of the features you expect are in the right place. To top it off I always feel comfortable with Yamaha F150 four-stroke engines, so having a pair of these ever-reliable workhorses behind me really set my mind at ease. I also liked the weight of the big twins on the back of the 710 Senator with its 21° deadrise. It must be the old surfer in me that remembers to have weight at the back in a following sea to avoid any broaching possibility. Nosediving on the face of a wave is just not an option!

The combination of power and weight certainly feels great in the Ocean Master 710. It has immediate response out of the hole, and supplies smooth yet grunty power throughout the entire rev range right up to WOT (wide open throttle) at a thrilling 40.5kts (75kmh) at 5900rpm. There aren't any surprising power bands to knock you backwards unexpectedly although a small amount of trim was required to keep the nose down without "porpoising".

The WOT fuel usage figure of 120lt/h seems frightening at first look but keep in mind that this is the combined total of both engines at full, so that's quite reasonable actually.

Indeed, you won't have to use top speed very often. During our test, we travelled mostly at around 4000rpm where a sturdy and economical 22kts (40.7kmh) was achieved using around 50lt/h. Figures like these get you to the shelf at Bermagui in just over half an hour using an estimated 25-30 litres in good conditions. Importantly, you'll be covering the nautical miles with confidence and security, not to mention the tremendous torque from the twins.




The destination for our boat test was the beautiful Victorian coastal village of Queenscliff, an area where the large expanse of Port Phillip Bay meets the Southern Ocean waters of Bass Strait at "the Heads". As mentioned in a previous issue (TrailerBoat #268), this part of Australia is renowned for its treacherous waters - which naturally made it the perfect spot for an offshore boat test.

Conditions inside the bay were relatively calm on a gorgeous summer's afternoon but soon the Heads turned on its usual washing machine in the main channel called "The Rip", with 2m swells rising over uneven ground and a fast current. I must say that the Ocean Master took it all in its stride and with a feeling of surefootedness and a perky sense of fun.

To quote David Lockwood, editor of TrailerBoat's sister publication, Trade-A-Boat: "Some boats are built to ride up and over the swell, and others are built to just go through it!"

Well the Ocean Master 710 Senator is one of those solid deep-vees that carves through difficult conditions with a pleasing arrogance. It will certainly push some spray off the bow as it travels, but its bullet-like ride is swift and solid through the rough and tumble.

I found the handling in turns very pleasing with virtually no cavitation through the twins and their 17in stainless steel Enertia props. The package manoeuvres well at all speeds and can be thrown into the fast responses needed for difficult bar crossings.

The bum sits a little deep at rest with the added weight of the twins but the transom layout caters well. In fact, the layout of the entire boat is just what the offshore fisho ordered. The huge deck room combines really well with the deep freeboard with toeholds all round including the transom. The work area is also clean and uncluttered with good access to the plumbing and electrics.

Three hatches house the triple-battery setup with VSR management system, bilge, pressurised washdown and livebait tank pumps. Under the vee, Bennett trim tabs provide good control in difficult crosswinds or with uneven loads; however, we didn't need them during our test.




To use an old cliché, this is a boat designed for fishermen, by fishermen. The fishing position at the work station is very good and it's not too far to the back of the boat for bread and butter fishing at anchor. The engines will only half trim so as to keep the transom size neat and compact and I really liked the padded transom coaming and the large fibreglass baitboard mounted at a good working height. I note that a lift-out rear seating option was not fitted to our test boat.

The fully moulded livebait tank is a reasonable size, and it's plumbed to pump water in from the top and the bottom to maximise aeration. A pair of transom steps with a swing down stainless ladder complete the fishing station.

Underfoot, optional rubberised matting covers the huge flowcoated deck area. This matting drains the water to the bilge, but also makes for a comfortable day at sea, easing long hours on your feet. It remains relatively cool in summer and warm in winter, and can be lifted for easy cleaning.

Forward is a 300lt fuel tank as well as a huge killtank while two large sidepockets are located on each side of the cockpit. I also liked the coaming rack rodholders moulded into the walls, which eliminated protruding sharp edges. Nice touch, Mr Ocean Master.

However, if there was one thing that I thought was really outstanding, it's the fact that someone finally mastered a three-piece cantilevered cabin hatch. On the Ocean Master it worked fine, and didn't rattle - perhaps a first for the marine industry?

The rest of the helm and passenger dash is compact, neat and comfortable with a good working height, strong, comfortable swivel seats, stainless footrests, a watertight glovebox, and a big boyz stubby holder. The seats are mounted to fibreglass combination seat boxes with tackle trays and plenty more storage.

Heading into the deep cabin, which has tons of headroom, you'll find steps and big hatches - so built, according to Norm from Geelong Boating Centre, to accommodate "real men".

The internal walls have a speckled flowcoat finish, perfectly suitable for a serious fishing machine, and there's plenty more storage under the upholstered bunks and in the sidepockets. As an option, there's a facility on the starboard side for a Porta-Potti. The bunks are a little short, but I'm sure a weary angler could happily find a comfortable spot for a nap, especially with a cushion infill to extend the rest area.

Looking from the bow we find a well-designed moulded sprit with a purpose-built anchor hatch that holds the electric winch, in this case a Muir. There's also separate access to the hatch from the cabin in case of fouling.

The high, split bowrail is strong and secure and the cabin features a small bulb that extends the internal head room forward. The presentation is completed with a nice pair of Perspex windows.




The Ocean Master 710 Senator measures 7.1m long (overall) with bowsprit and its beam is a maximum 2.5m wide, which means it doesn't require wide load precautions. Towing weight with the twin 150s, steel multi-roller trailer and a full fuel tank comes to about 3100kg, so a reasonably large 4WD is necessary.

Even so, I really liked this boat. It has a strong, stable feel with pleasing creature comforts combined with a tough, no nonsense fitout. There is a commercial foundation to the boat that can be constructed to Marine Board 2C offshore Survey requirements with a few modifications and options. Power selection is good but I thought the package could perform well even with lower horsepower; say 115s if you wanted the security of twins at a lower purchase price. A seven-year structural warranty certainly tells us a lot about the manufacturer's confidence in the product.

I should point out that the standard equipment and selection of optional accessories is as close as I can imagine to what I would put on my own fishing boat… so yes, this is definitely a fisherman's boat.




On the plane...

Designed for fishermen by fisherman

Practical, no nonsense mouldings and fitout

Looks great

Big killtank

Good stainless and canopies

High freeboard
Hatches and helm designed for big blokes

Quality accessories



Dragging the chain...

Tender at rest

130hp engine rating
may be overkill





13kts (24.0kmh) @ 2800rpm
16.2kts (30.0kmh) @ 3200rpm using 35lt/h

20kts (37.0kmh) @ 3300rpm
29.1kts (53.8kmh) @4000 rpm using 49lt/h 33kts (61.1kmh) @4500 rpm using 64lt/h 36kts (66.6kmh) @5000 rpm using 78lt/h 38.5kts (71.8kmh) @5500 rpm using 106lt/h 40.4kts (74.8kmh) @5900 rpm using 120lt/h






Specifications: Ocean Master 710 Senator




Price as tested: $138,970

Options fitted: Twin-F150 four-strokes, Garmin GPS / sounder, rocket launcher, bimini and clears, bimini extension, coloured inlay hull, twin-boarding platforms / ladder, deckwash and much, much more

Priced from: $97,869 (with single Yamaha F250 EFI four-stroke)




Type: Deep-vee monohull

Material: Fibreglass

Length (overall): 7.1m

Beam: 2.5m

Weight (hull only): Approx. 1350kg

Deadrise: 21°




People: 8

Rec. HP: 250

Max. HP: 400

Fuel: 300lt




Make/model: 2 x Yamaha F150 four-strokes

Type: 16-valve, DOHC, direct-action, in-line four

Weight: 226kg each

Displacement: 2670cc each




Ocean Master Boat Builders

8 Nevada Court

Hoppers Crossing, Vic, 3029

Tel: (03) 9748 2100





Geelong Boating Centre

88 Barwon Heads Road

Belmont, Vic, 3218

Tel: (03) 5241 6966



Originally published in TrailerBoat #269.

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