Review: Stessco Renegade 480

By: Kevin Smith, Photography by: Kevin Smith

The Stessco 480 Renegade is a great first boat or shorthanded fishing rig.

Manufactured by Merlin Marine & Leisure in Narangba Queensland, Stessco boats are a common brand of boat seen throughout the waterways of Queensland and surrounds. Their extensive range consists of 10 different styles of boat, from simple budget tinnies right through to some quality looking full-plate aluminium offshore craft. But strangely enough we have never had many up for test.

Stessco Renegade 480 tinnie

At 5.2m overall, the Stessco Renegade 480 is by no means a car-topper. But, at a glance, it looks like an absolute cracker of a multi-purpose side console tinny with extra meat in the beam, big decks, decent free-board and colourful wrap.

Due to Yamaha Australia’s comprehensive testing of their motors, they opted to fit this boat with a Yamaha F70 four-stroke outboard motor, a versatile engine well-suited to numerous styles and sizes of boats. It looked a bit undersized or hidden on the Stessco Renegade 480’s transom, but looks are often deceiving and in this case performance turned out to be an eye-opener – a gentle reminder why the F70 is rated so highly.

Layout of Stessco Renegade 480

Stessco boats have created one the more spacious layouts to a side console that I’ve seen for quite some time. The deck size is impressive for a 5.2m boat and this stems from the 2.2m beam running right up into the start of the bow section. This allows for a larger cast deck, more bow storage and adds to the overall stability. The Stessco Renegade 480 has a colossal-sized plumbed live well / kill tank with centre split built into the bow cast-deck–a great feature to have. Personally, I wouldn’t mind this area being used for extra lure tackle storage, with the oversized live-well mounted in the rear cast-deck instead, but the rear deck would have to be slightly larger and the extra weight on the stern would also be a consideration.

Stessco Renegade 480 gunwale

The balance of the layout includes a neat and comfortable side console, multiple seat bases to suit extras on-board, big side pockets, extra plumbed live-bait tank in the stern deck, good access to battery and plumbing, dual transom steps with grab-rails, carpeted decks, decent height to the gunwales with wide coamings and plenty of extra features as standard.



Overall, the abundance of deck space is the highlight – especially when it comes to lure fishing, as you could comfortably fish three without tangling up with each other. I like the fact that it’s been kept simple, but it still has everything you need to get you on the water without having to load up the end price with extra accessories.

Stessco Renegade 480 at rest

Generally a wide beam running full span to the bow on small to mid-sized boats can hinder the ride due to less variation in deadrise, but Stessco has managed to get this one right. The stability at rest is really good, while the ride is equally great underway with the hull slicing through chop quietly and softly to enhance comfort levels. 


Stessco Renegade 480 specs

Stessco Renegade 480 price: $35,000

Price as tested



Hummingbird Sounder Helix 5, Minn Kota and quick release bracket, Commodore seat upgrade, wrap






TYPE Monohull fishing boat

MATERIAL Aluminium 3mm bottom / 3mm smooth sides


BEAM 2.2m

WEIGHT 914kg

DEADRISE 16 degrees




REC. HP 70-80hp

MAX HP 80hp




MAKE/MODEL Yamaha F70AL four-stroke

TYPE Inline three-cylinder fuel injected petrol outboard motor



WEIGHT 119kg


PROPELLER 13.5in X 15in alloy



Merlin Marine & Leisure Pty Ltd

PO Box 328, Narangba, QLD, 4504




See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #481, August / September 2016. Why not subscribe today?


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.