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Review: Stejcraft SS55 SD

Locally made, the Stejcraft SS55 SD is a terrific family sports boat.

Stejcraft is a longstanding Australian manufacturer of fibreglass trailerboats. Established in Melbourne more than half a century ago and now headquartered on the Gold Coast, Stejcraft produces well priced, but good quality bowrider boats and cuddy cabins.

Stejcraft was traditionally known for producing no frills, basically outfitted craft for a budget price. The modern Stejcraft is very different. The boats are still affordable, compared with many rival local and overseas brands, but they are now nicely finished and wonderfully outfitted with all the best gear, upholstery, fixtures and fittings.

There are still plenty of options for customers to personalise their Stejcraft boats, but each boat to emerge from the Labrador, Gold Coast factory is now stacked with standard kit.

Stejcraft boats are also made without timber in the construction, so there is nothing to rot. For durability, the hull, deck, underfloor stringers and structural components are all made using fibreglass and fibreglass composite materials such as Thermo-lite board.

Stejcraft Models

In the Stejcraft boat range there are four bow riders and five cuddy cabin craft built over four different hull sizes stretching from 5.5m to 6.4m in length. There are Stejcraft boats here for fishing, family boating and social towsports.

Unusually, the bowrider boats are available with outboard and/or petrol sterndrive engines. In fact, Stejcraft claims to be the only Australian boat builder making bowrider boats available with a sterndrive — or inboard/outboard engine.

The subject of this review is the entry sterndrive powered bowrider, the well appointed Stejcraft SS55 SD paired with a MerCruiser 200hp V6 with Alpha One sterndrive leg.

The SS55 SD has an overall length of 6.1m (which includes the aft swim platform), a beam of 2.35m, and a hull weight of approximately 820kg. Paired with the MerCruiser sterndrive and a single axle trailer, the towing weight rises to around 1,550kg -1,650kg, depending on options.

A sub 2,000kg trailer weight makes the Stejcraft SS55 SD relatively easy to tow behind large family size vehicles, SUVs and dual-cab utes.

Bowrider Boating

Bowrider boats like the Stejcraft SS55 SD are great family all-rounders. Drop a fishing line or two, cruise the bay, tow the kids about on tubes or wakeboards, or just laze about at anchor before your favourite swimming hole. With the Stejcraft SS55 SD, you can enjoy these marine activities and more — it's a great boat for socialising and entertaining.

Like all good bowriders, the Stejcraft has ample seating and storage space, despite its diminutive size.

At the bow there is a moulded, U-shaped bow seating compartment for three people, along with two deep safety gear storage boxes.

The removable bow cushioned seats are firm but comfortable and the padded backrests are well positioned to provide back support.

These front lounge seats are complimented by two deluxe pedestal helm chairs, and two transom corner seats aft.

You can also stand — or sit — on the central sterndrive engine box or take in the sun while lounging on either of the transom boarding platforms, which double as sun-pads.

Other seating options are available too, though the boat is rated to carry a maximum of seven people.

Stejcraft H2O Flooring

Up at the stem the Stejcraft has a decent-sized anchor well with a fibreglass lid. In the test boat this hatch lid was surfaced with Stejcraft's optional H2O non-slip foam rubber to make it safer to climb on and off the boat from the bow.

The H2O foam rubber was also applied to the cockpit floor, and to dress up the side decks, cockpit side pockets, driver and passenger footrests, the sterndrive engine box, and the aft boarding and swim platforms.

The charcoal-coloured H2O flooring coordinated beautifully with the test boat's black hull and windscreen frame, along with the black and grey-coloured interior upholstery.

Other H2O flooring colours are available (including classic teak) for customers who might find the darker colours a little subdued.

The H2O foam flooring is an option, but well worth the expense. It looks great, provides excellent grip underfoot, eliminates sun-glare, and remains reasonably cool to touch — even in the dark black/charcoal colour.

Dressed to Impress 

The helm and passenger consoles were also blacked-out for reduced glare, and to match the hull colour, flooring and upholstery.

The three-piece, centre opening windscreen is relatively low set, but it does shelter a seated skipper and front passenger. The windscreen is made from toughened glass for strength and durability — opposite to the lightweight acrylic used on some rival craft.

On the helm fascia panel, chrome-finished, analogue-look digital engine gauges contrast nicely with the black finish elsewhere. The polished stainless steel and black sports steering wheel also look a treat.

Ergonomically, the driving position works well too. The twin, pedestal-mounted bucket helm chairs swivel 360 degrees, slide fore and aft, and have flip up front bolsters. This adjustability allows skippers to sit comfortably, feet securely planted on the perfectly placed footrest under the dash.

The steering wheel and side-mounted throttle are ideally positioned, while engine instruments and gauges are presented clearly on the dash. The fascia is not large, but there is space for a medium sized multi-function display, along with standard engine gauges, switches, etc.

For close quarter manoeuvring at the boat ramp, alongside jetties, etc., I found it comfortable to slide the helm seat forward, and then perch on the flip-up seat bolster. This gains you height over the windscreen for better sight lines whilst jockeying the boat at low speeds.

The front passenger has a similarly comfortable helm chair, along with a decent sized glove box on the dash, cup holder, handy stainless steel grab rail, and a footrest.

It's also worth noting that the Stejcraft has a flat, level floor from the bow to the stern. Some bowrider boats have a recess or drop-down step between the two helm chairs, which can prove to be a tripping hazard.

Spacious Cockpit

From the pedestal helm chairs the large cockpit stretches aft to the sterndrive engine box and transom corner quarter seats.

There is plenty of space to move about, and the side deck coamings are high enough to keep youngsters safely contained within the boat.

The high side decks also provide thigh support for anglers to stand and fish from the cockpit, although fishing features like rod holders and rod racks are optional for this craft.

The side decks and three-quarter length cockpit side pockets were both trimmed in colour matching, soft-touch H2O foam rubber, whilst outdoor carpet was used to dress the side panels between the cockpit and gunwale.

Beneath the transom corner seat cushions, moulded steps make it easy to climb out to the aft boarding platform and ladder to disembark.

There are no sub-floor storage compartments in the Stejcraft SS55, but there is space to each side of the MerCruiser engine, beneath the moulded, full width engine box.

Lifting the engine box lid reveals the 4.5L 200hp V6 MerCruiser in all its glory. There is ample space to either side of the engine for mechanics to install and service this smooth, quiet, economical four stroke engine, which is specifically made for the marine environment by MerCruiser. The previous model was based on an automotive engine.

Fats and Fabulous 

The Stejcraft SS55 SD is available with a choice of two MerCruiser petrol sterndrive engines. The standard motor is the 200hp V6, as fitted to the test boat. The optional engine is the more powerful 250hp version of this same, but up-rated V6 power-plant.

Not sure why you would need the big motor however, as our test boat was quick and agile with the ‘entry’ motor. In truth, the Stejcraft would perform perfectly well with an engine in the 140hp - 170hp size range, but the 200hp V6 is currently the smallest MerCruiser petrol sterndrive motor on offer.

Underway the test boat was terrific fun to drive — and quick. Gun the side-mount digital throttle forward and the Stejcraft leaps on to the plane, accelerating swiftly through the rpm range to a top speed of 43.0 knots at 4500rpm.

In fuel-saver cruising mode, the boat/engine combination is most economical with the MerCruiser ticking over at 2,500 rpm for a boat speed of 18.8 knots and a fuel burn of 15.1 l/h. Do the sums on these performance figures, and the maximum range for this boat with the standard 100L fuel supply (leaving ten percent in reserve) works out to be 112.1 nautical miles.


The Stejcraft SS55 SD has a relatively slim, low-set vee hull with an 18-degree deadrise at the transom. At rest the boat sits flat and very stable, the low centre of gravity and modest vee angle combining to stiffen the hull laterally.

At the bow, the entry shape is sharp enough to cut through boat wakes and wave chop to provide a smooth, dry ride with excellent balance.

The real forte of this surprisingly good craft, however, is the way it handles. I have not had as much fun driving a boat for a long time. And the fun is not generated by the wicked acceleration — or by the top speed, although both are brilliant — but by the way it simply carves up turns and high-speed manoeuvres. The Stejcraft SS55 SD corners like it's on rails, like a Scalextric electric slot car. And, remarkably, it feels safe, well-balanced, and secure all the while.

Throw the Stejcraft into a tight turn at just about any speed and the hull just bites into the water, gripping like a limpet, yet sitting flat and sure-footed. You really need to hang on tightly through these sharp manoeuvres as the high G-forces threaten to turf you out.

That said, it is all very controllable behind the helm — you can corner as mildly or as aggressively as you dare, dialling up the fun factor according to the experience and expectations of your crew.

For a mix of social towsports, day boating, cruising — or for just ripping about the bay or harbour with family and friends — the Stejcraft SS55 SD has you well and truly covered.

The Wrap

If ever there was a boat ‘fit for purpose’ it is the Stejcraft SS55 SD. This remarkably capable sports bowrider delivers on all fronts. It's fast, comfortable, wonderfully finished and outfitted, and awesome fun on the water. Buy this boat, and you'll want to be out enjoying it every weekend. This is not a boat that will gather dust and cobwebs sitting in your front yard.

Compared with many rival brands — particularly those from the US — the Stejcraft is also very good value for money. Package prices start from just $59,990 for a standard white-hulled boat with clip-in carpet (instead of the rubber flooring), single axle trailer, and MerCruiser 200hp V6 sterndrive.

The standard pack also includes much of what you can see on the test package — including the reinforced glass three-piece windscreen, deluxe bucket helm chairs, bowrider seating compartment, transom corner jump seats, swim platform with ladder, deluxe trim, navigation lights, bilge pump, pop-up stern cleats, anchor well with recessed cleat, ski-tow point, and a five-year structural warranty.

Our test boat package is priced $10k higher, but includes an upgraded Dunbier trailer, black coloured hull and deck with blue flash, the H2O foam rubber flooring, rear boarding platform extension, bimini cover, Lowrance fish finder, and a Jenson Bluetooth stereo system.

Sea Trials

Two people onboard

RPMSpeed (KT)Fuel Burn (L/H) Range (NM)

*Sea trial data supplied by the author. Fuel figures calculated leaving 10% in reserve.

Stejcraft SS55 SD Specs

Length overall6.1 M
Beam2.35 M
Deadrise19 degrees
Wight 1550 KG including engine and trailer
People 7
Rec HP200hp - 250hp
Fuel100 L
Fresh watern/a


Make/modelMerCruiser 200hp petrol
TypeV6 2-valve/cylinder pushrod 4-stroke
Fuel deliveryMulti-port EFI
Weight 345 kKG (engine only)
Displacement4.5 L
DriveMerCruiser Alpha One Sterndrive

Options Included

Black coloured hull and deck

Blue topsides accent and graphics pack

Upgraded Dunbier trailer

Stejcraft H2O rubber flooring throughout

Rear boarding platform extension

Bimini cover

Lowrance Hook Reveal 4 fish finder/GPS

Jensen Marine Bluetooth stereo with speakers

Priced from $59,990

Price as tested $69,872

Supplied by Stejcraft Boats

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