Boat Test: 2018 Highfield Ocean Master 540

Boat Tested2018 Highfield Ocean Master 540
Price As TestedNot Available
Category Inflatable
Manufacturer Highfield
Length17ft 8in / 5.38 m
Beam7ft 10in / 2.39 m
Max HP115
Drive TypeOutboard
Engine MakeYamaha Outboards
Fuel Capacity28
By Jon Blaicher
Highfield’s Ocean Master models are heavy duty RIBs designed to handle rough open water. With a 4mm thick welded aluminum hull sporting a 24-degree dead rise, this OM 540 had a very solid flex-free feeling and sliced through waves with ease. All Ocean Masters include full length keel guards, a bow step with a mooring cleat, anti-slip self-draining decks and large sturdy hand rails on the centre console.

Our test boat was a Deluxe model with a full-width bench seat behind the centre console. Integrated into the transom, the seat lifts to reveal a large, dry storage compartment. This configuration sacrifices some open space at the rear, but provides a more comfortable seating area for three.

The beefy helm seat flips up for standing and the centre console has a storage compartment under the front side passenger seat. Since the fuel tank is integrated under the deck, there’s room for a third storage locker under the front seat in the bow.

Our test boat had a few options including a solid aluminum rear arch with large welded cleats on both sides, adding to both form and function. A fold-down rear boarding ladder was mounted to the port side of the transom with non-skid material above it for secure footing.

Lighter than its predecessor, the F115B from Yamaha is an excellent match for the OM 540. There is very little bow rise, and the added midrange torque makes for impressive acceleration. Forty mph arrives quickly and can be maintained comfortably in most conditions. With a light load, 50 mph is possible with the 115.

Handling was predictable and solid with a fair bit of lean into the corners, but not enough to get wet. Minimal side-to-side rolling could be felt at speed, which I expected more of with such a deep V.

Highfield’s Deluxe models provide a little more comfort and dry storage for cruising, making them an ideal cottage taxi or tender for larger cruisers.

Yamaha F115B, 1832cc inline four-cylinder, DOHC, multi-point EFI and 25-inch shaft
Length: 17 ft 8 in / 5.40 mBeam: 7 ft 9 in / 2.38 mWeight: 1,300 lb / 590 kgFuel Capacity: 28 gals / 105 L 
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