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Pontoon Boats Built For Australian Waters

Pontoon Boats Built For Australian Waters

Runaway Bay Pontoon Boats build vessels in Queensland. They are one of the top luxury and sports pontoon boat specialists in Australia, and sell vessels to customers across the globe. They are always looking for new ventures to help keep Australian people employed, and building pontoon boats fit their manufacturing business perfectly.


Customers often assume pontoon boats are only suitable for dams, lakes, and rivers. But Runaway Bay Pontoon Boats prove that Southeast Queensland waterways are perfect for using pontoon boats. Their boats’ standard logs are larger than the normal diameter. When fitted with their exclusive full-length mounting system for the floor beams, the boats have a higher freeboard compared to other pontoon boats. This is important to help reduce the likelihood of wash coming over the front of the boat.

First-time boaters will experience first-hand how smooth, stable and safe the ride is, even in choppy, rough water and severe weather conditions. Even experienced boaters, who have owned larger single- hull cruisers but wanting to downsize, are sold on the handling of the pontoon boats, along with their practical capabilities.

Runaway Bay Pontoon Boats build vessels that stand out from the crowd. They use only marine-grade aluminium, and their logs are typically 25% thicker than imported pontoon boats. Each log, unlike most imported ones, and depending on the length, has several separate fully-sealed chambers and deep structural grade extruded keels. The centre log on tri- hulls has a heavy-duty fuel tank built in.

The assembly of their boats is designed to ensure longevity in the Australian saltwater marine environment. Marine-grade wiring is used for the electrical system, as opposed to the standard wiring on some imported pontoon boats built only for freshwater. The beams used to support the flooring are heavy- duty, structural marine-grade aluminium channels.


Runaway Bay Pontoon Boats is owned by a company that was originally founded in the Mid 1950’s primarily to repair, service and maintain fuel tankers of American origin used in the Korean war and subsequently sold off for use in Australia. Now called Holmwood Highgate, they current employ 160 people. It’s Australia’s longest running aluminium road tanker manufacturer, who’s founders are noted for introducing aluminium welding to Australia.

Highgate Engineers, a branch of Holmwood Highgate, specialise in the manufacture of high-quality fuel tanks and high-performance pontoon boats. They have been selling the boats under the brand name of Runaway Bay Pontoon Boats for 12 years now.

The story on how Highgate Engineers became involved in the boat manufacturing market is quite interesting. The story goes that a staff member had purchased an imported brand new pontoon boat. Within two years, the boat encountered several issues relating to log and structure corrosion, along with wiring issues. The original dealer was no longer operating, and the only recourse for repairs and warranty issues was to contact the American manufacturer. After several emails to the company and zero responses, the boat was sold. After that, Highgate decided to build its own range of pontoon boats designed for Australian saltwater conditions.


If owners have an issue with imported pontoon boats, they usually must wait for the Australian dealer to speak with an overseas manufacturer and arrange approval of repairs or replacements. This means many weeks where boaties cannot use their vessels, not to mention the costs involved if the warranty does not cover the problems.

On the other hand, customers buying from Runaway Bay Pontoon Boats can feel safe in the knowledge that the firm is on hand if issues do arise. Being the manufacturer, the company provide warranties that other boat dealers cannot, including after-sales service. There is peace of mind for the customers that they are here in Australia and backed by a 65-year-old family business.

Runaway Bay Pontoon Boats can assist owners of imported pontoon boats who run into trouble. They carry out repairs on these imports, the most common of which are log and wall replacements, usually due to the age of a boat.


If buying a pontoon boat or refurbishing a current vessel, Runaway Bay Pontoon Boats offer plenty of options. They offer a choice of different furniture layouts, as well as outer wall colours and graphics. There are special options like fishing stations, serving benches, flushing cassette type toilets. They cater to special requests from customers. This customisation is not an option on imported pontoon boats.

Another feather in the cap of this innovative Queensland marine firm is that they are the largest and one of the only stockists in the country of pontoon boat furniture and accessories. Owners of other makes of pontoon boats can come to them to source furniture, parts, accessories, and DIY kits.

Runaway Bay Pontoon Boats also has a wide variety of packages available for clients. During boat show season, the company runs genuine show specials that give customers the chance to pick up boats loaded with many extras, additional features usually only sold as optional extras on imported brands.

Story based on an interview with Craig Winch by Kellie Byrnes

To learn more about all the products, packages, and services on offer from Runaway Bay Pontoon Boats, visit Call Craig Winch on 0417 646 711 for sales enquiries, or speak with Scott Street for service and parts on 0401 206 004.


Published in the April – June 2020 edition.