Test Review By Fred Jobson – Freshwater Fishing Australia

The Foldable Porta-Boat is good to fish from, cheap to run, stores
anywhere, requires minimal maintenance
and performs brilliantly.

The concept of Porta-Bote’s construction and design seems so simple that when viewed for the first time I know many anglers have reservations about its durability, so we will put that concern away right from the start.
The hull is constructed of four roughly surfboard-shaped panels of space age, high impact polypropylene that fold flat to approximately 10 centimetres. These panels are held together by hinges of the same material and then held apart by the ply seats which are bolted to th e hull to form a roomy 2.6 m, 3.25 m or 3.8 m hull (depending on the model). The Porta-Bote can be rowed, sailed or used with an outboard motor.
freshwaterfishThe polypropylene hull panels are made of the same material that is used in bulletproof vests and car bumpers. With ultraviolet inhibitors it is almost totally inert to sunshine, petrochemicals or just about anything else you can subject it to. It is also flexible and will scratch when run up on snags and oyster beds.
My own Porta-Bote hull has been used hard for 13 years, lowered off cliff tops, fallen off roof racks at 65 kph, run onto rocks and estuary oyster leases and all the normal things that happen to small fishing boats. It has some unsightly cosmetic scratches on the hull bottom but is basically in excellent structural condition. Apart from some minor repairs to the marine ply seats, there have been no repairs or maintenance, or deterioration in functionality of the hull. Nothing affects the moulded-in colour.
Quick and easy best describes the process of assembling the hull although it is not as quick as the old models. Assembling the boat is simple for one person. The hull is laid out and held apart with a special wooden rod and the seats and transom are slotted in and then “locked” in place. Each part only fits the one correct position so you do not need a manual or diagram.
When the weather is cold, the hull can be quite stiff and hard to hold apart causing some fun and games when you are by yourself. The new two step boat opener which holds the hull apart fixes off season problem.
The hulls I have seen are of excellent finish with no defects or poor workmanship. The actual hull components are at least as good as my old model (which has survived 13 years of hard use) but with the heavier material and fittings of the new model the Porta-Bote will become almost indestructible in normal use
With the seats in place and firmly held by the stainless supports, the outer hull is flexed and gains enormous strength. The seats do not just hold the hull apart as they did in the old model but actually form an integral part of the hull designed strength.
So strong is the assembled hull that it withstood Japanese Coast Guard tests in which they loaded a standard production hull with 1/4 ton of concrete, and raised it 6 metres before dropping it to the water.
The closed cell flotation provides adequate flotation as well as the comfortable seats, even with a full load of passengers. The hull passes US Coast Guard safety standards and is European Union and National Marine Manufacturers certified. …………………………………………………………… nmma_certified
The main hull folds to a surfboard shape only 10 centimetres thick. It can be stored in your bedroom, the hall, under a car in the garage or anywhere else if you are short of space. The seats and transom form another package, but will store under your bed.
The hull is the main component of the 3.8 m Porta-Bote and weighs 31 kilograms. It is still manageable by one person but is pushing the limit for easy one person loading and unloading from a roof rack.
Carrying the hull on a roof rack is simple and practical; caravaners can carry it on the side or on top of a pop top easily. It has minimum wind resistance when on the roof top and can do everything a tinny will do when you get to your destination.
The old hull was designed for a maximum of 3 hp outboards and displacement speeds only. The new Porta-Bote is completely different and can accommodate more powerful outboards.
What amazed me was how easily it did get up on the plane – with one person and a 3.5 hp outboard it will plane at about 12 knots. With a 5 hp outboard it will do around 20 knots. At the other end of the scale, with three people aboard and a 5 hp outboard you can expect a top speed of 14 knots.
This Porta-Bote is very easy to row and with the collapsible oars that were supplied with it to test, it was an easy and effective way to troll or just quietly slip through the water without disturbing the wild life or fish.
The Porta-Bote is a sound fishing platform that extends the choice of fishing locations by virtue of its portable fold up feature, light weight and ease of construction. Due to the deep keel and chines, formed by the hinge sections, the hull has a really good grip of the water and rows and corners well and is quite stable. You have no hesitation in standing to cast or land a fish.
The seats are foam covered and comfortable and not too low. This foam is extended right along the inside edges of the gunwales to provide flotation but also makes for an excellent place to stick lures and hooks out of the way, sort of a lure storage right around the boat.
The layout of the hull is basic, like all small boats, but you can quickly modify it to be more suitable for fishing. I have a portable Lowrance sounder complete with stick on transducer, 2 clip on rod holders, a berley bucket made from a 5 litre plastic container, and a live bait tank complete with cutting board that fits neatly in place. This turns my Porta-Bote into a fishing machine rather than just a boat.
There is a whole range of optional extras available, including a mast and sail kit, which turns the boat into a small sailing dingy.
You can also fit a sunshade, a trolling bow mounted (electric) motor bracket, oars and locks, and even a clip-on set of wheels to help wheel it to the water. The oars and locks are very well made, collapsible, foam filled to float, and worth having.
There is also a locking bracket that mounts on the side of a RV vehicle or caravan which is a good idea.
The Porta-Bote is simply great; it is well made, easy to erect and carries a 10 year limited hull warranty. (Porta-Bote International, the manufacturer, has been building Porta-Botes for over 30 years and has over 60,000 in use, worldwide).
Portaboat is good to fish from, cheap to run, stores anywhere, requires minimal maintenance and performs brilliantly.