Haines V19R project boat stainless steel fitout

How to: Fit stainless to a Haines V19R Boat

There’s one thing you need when you get to the final stages of fitting out a boat and that is a game plan for its purpose and layout. It’s clear that every fisherman is an individual and the best fitout very much depends on your locality and personal intended use.

While our Haines V19R project boat travels regularly up and down the East Coast and is intended to travel westward to South Australia and beyond in its lifespan, the basic ideals and intent are quite clear. Our fishing boat will spend (and does) plenty of time chasing our beloved snapper in Victorian bays and ports, at the same time venturing offshore in search of larger pelagic fish at locales such as Portland and Port Fairy in Western Victoria, Mallacoota, Lakes Entrance and regularly into NSW. Here it will fish sport and gamefishing Meccas like Port Stephens, Jervis Bay, Bermagui and beyond.

Our Haines V19R has a more sedate nature as well and has already seen sojourns into our larger inland lakes such as the Gippsland rivers system and Lake Eildon, and loves mooching around in some of our estuaries too. She’s spent plenty of time on Pittwater, Cowan Creek and beyond. In our case, there’s also a commercial aspect to consider as she regularly acts as the photo boat during Trade-a-Boat reviews. All things considered she covers a lot of ground in many and various cloaks.

So with so many applications for our Haines V19R, how do we finish off the fitout? Firstly, talk to the experts. Canopies and stainless steel fitouts go hand-in-hand so you need dedicated tradespersons who talk your language.

Thankfully, we have just that with a couple of old friends such as Michael from Avtek Covers in Cranbourne and John Van Son from Quality Marine Fabrications in Dandenong. The prerequisite is that they need to be on the same planet and be able to talk to each other about your fitout.


The Haines V19R is quite typical of most southern region fishing boat packages. Her soft-riding hull allows comfortable use in the spine splintering slop we regularly contend with in our local waterways. But be assured, that same slop can tear you apart as much in Moreton Bay, the gulfs of South Australia, the run home from Rottnest and the Northern Territory expanses as it does in our home waters of Victoria.

Therefore, in our opinion, any fishing boat considering going offshore must have a solid stainless steel canopy framework. It is the skeleton of the superstructure and in this day and age is responsible for mounting of not only shade and cover but also rocket launchers for carrying a quiver of big game outfits up to 37kg.

The stainless steel frame also serves as a mount for our radar aerial, outrigger bases, radio and GPS aerials, spotlights, work and navigation lights, and creates a strong superstructure that gives the passengers support in rough seas. You will be thankful for a strong canopy and frame when that unexpected big green wave dumps itself over your bow.

Some forward planning is also needed to ensure provision is made for all of the wiring that will be required to run the marine electronics. It is most desirable to have it all plumbed inside the stainless steel tube with suitable exit points in the required positions – and don’t forget to allow flexibility for tilting.


The stainless steel canopy structure is obviously the framework for the canvas and regularly, a hardtop and clears. In our case we chose a collapsible bimini soft top with detachable front and side clears.

Boat bimini tops allow headroom all the way forward and when professionally constructed, are quite rigid. Front and side detachable clears allow maximum flexibility with the option of complete enclosure from the elements, or by removing the curtains giving overhead shade with full ventilation.

To aid the shade scenario John Van Son at Quality Marine Frabrications worked with Michael at Avtek Covers to develop a sliding rear awning that can be extended on simple slides to allow full cover over the rear deck area. It is convenient, strong, pleasurable and simply, works very well.

The entire stainless steel structure tilts easily for low storage scenarios, or to dramatically reduce wind drag for long stints on the road. The framework is 32mm 316 marine grade tube, assembled with stainless steel Ts and tube ends. The 316 stainless steel will last the life of the boat but even such high-grade stainless steel can tarnish and may often appear to rust in the welds and joints. High-grade stainless steel is easily cleaned and maintained with metal polish or even a little elbow grease.

Sam Allen Wholesale provided some strong trolling rodholders that were previously fitted to the top of the coamings, but a good fishing boat needs much more. I firmly believe that perfect rodholder-baitboard combinations have finally evolved. Our old mate Junga from PM Marine Manufacturing came to the party with a large fibreglass combination baitboard with flip-up storage, cupholders and another pair of rodholders which also serve as the mounts for a removable stainless steel bait-fishing rod rack.


There’s a trick to bait rodholders. The open wire design used by Quality Marine Fabrications allows you to strike a small bite from a bread-and-butter fish like a bream or whiting instantaneously, and doesn’t lock a heavier rod in the holder when a larger fish takes a screaming run on strike drag. They also set the rods at a low angle, allowing the rod to work properly when it loads up.

We have combined all of this with a pair of custom stainless steel corner rod racks and now we’re fishin! We now have easily convertible options for both game and bait fishing, with the ability to store plenty of rods both in the racks on the cockpit’s sidepockets and overhead in the rocket launcher.

And fishing we are, enjoying some quite sweet success! The key to success if you’re building a fishing boat, is to talk to a fisho who knows his piscatorial perfections, like John Van Son.


John Van Son from Quality Marine Fabrications shares his top five tips for looking after the stainless steel on your boat.

• After each trip, wash with warm soapy water.

• After washing, wipe down with chamois.

• Regular maintenance with a good metal polish is key.

• Check the fastenings regularly.

• Lubricate moving parts, such as the tilt mechanism.

See the full version of this story in Trade-A-Boat #463, March / April 2015. Why not subscribe today?