December 2022 Trailer Boat Reviews
Words, photography and video by Roger Mills.
Build Quality
MODEL King K5000 RIB
DESIGNER King Watercraft and Unlimited Engineering
BUILDER King Watercraft
CONSTRUCTION Aluminium hull, Hypalon tubes
LOA 5.1M
  • High-quality materials
  • Great performance
  • Innovative design and stylish good looks
  • A good all-rounder

When you listen to your customers, undertake thoughtful design to meet their needs and execute the project using quality materials, you end up with a sought-after product, in this case the K5000 RIB
– a top spec machine out of King Watercraft, based in Christchurch.

Director of King Watercraft, Will King is known for producing smaller RIB tenders for high value vessels in both jet and conventional outboard power versions.
The K5000 is a step up from previous designs, developed to suit the superyacht market, as well as customers looking for a high quality, family-friendly RIB that fits in a standard garage. To achieve this, the arch for the T-top folds down using electric actuators to achieve the clearance needed.


The vessel is built in marine-grade aluminium with Hypalon tubes. The aluminium is powder coated to give a high-quality finish and the hull form draws on King Watercraft’s successful design pedigree and extensive experience to achieve both straight line and cornering performance.
We arrived at Waikawa Marina boat ramp in Picton with the RIB dockside, ready to go. This RIB is boat #2 out of the Christchurch factory and was ready for delivery to its new owner the following day. Three more of these RIBS are being fabricated for waiting customers.
First impressions are of a sleek, purposeful craft with great upholstery, a nice colour contrast between the tan seats and black tubes, a distinctive arch and bimini design, and a very smart console.
We took the vessel out on a sunny but windy day, blowing around 20 knots by the time we returned to the ramp.
We headed out across to Kumutoto Bay on the western side of Queen Charlotte Sound to get some shelter from the wind and a clear flight path for the drone.
The trip across took us through a reasonable chop with the boat riding nicely over the waves and keeping the passengers dry.

On arrival, we were met by some local dolphins – always the sign of a good day on the water.
Transferring from the chase boat, I noticed how stable the craft is at rest, easily taking my weight on the side tubes as I crossed over to take the helm.
Power is a 90hp Suzuki outboard, although the boat is spec’d for a maximum of 100hp.
The RIB accelerated quickly onto the plane. I sat comfortably at 30 knots and made some high-speed turns. The hull gripped the water well, with good control throughout. Top speed with Will at the helm was 36 knots – pretty good for a small craft.

Will explained the fixed trim tabs help to stabilise the hull, particularly when there’s windage on the bimini and arch.
An economical cruising speed is around 21 knots with a fuel burn of 11.3 litres an hour. The boat’s 80-litre underfloor tank provides a range of 150 nautical miles. At full throttle fuel consumption goes up to 33.6 l/hr, for a range of over 80nm.

Will said he felt the 90hp option was an excellent match, providing all the power you need with the advantage of being slightly lighter than an outboard at the design-maximium of 100hp. The 90hp Suzuki’s smaller size also has the advantage of keeping the centre of gravity slightly further forward.

The seating, including a pull-up bolster, was a good height for steering the boat and reaching all the controls. The console is particularly tidy. It’s a minimalist design but provides everything that’s required. A 12-inch Garmin MFD takes centre stage, giving clear chart and fish plotter options from a 1kW transducer. Neat, flush switches sit under the display with engine data on the right and a Fusion stereo on the left. Engine controls are nicely positioned at the level of the steering wheel, with the VHF tucked in behind the wheel.

During the ride back the wind had increased considerably, bringing some bigger waves, but the boat handled it well. There was no fuss.
Back on the dock, I had a chance to admire the level of design detail that was so clearly evident.
The trim is eye catching –nice colours, double-stitched, not unlike a modern sports car’s interior.
A neat detail was the anchor roller which folds away to form a step over the bow, making it much easier to board the boat.

There is seating inside for up to eight adults. The forward seat swings up on purpose-designed hinges to access a chilly bin sitting in a recess that keeps it secure. The bin is just what you need for storing food and drink for the day on the water, and easy to access and transport ashore if desired. A teak drinks table also clips into position between the console and bow seats, creating a great social area.
Another great innovation was a side opening door in the console for a rubbish bin. The bin itself is easy to remove wash out.

The floor is covered with Udek from Ultralon, which provides a surface that’s soft on your feet, yet hardy enough to be washed down with a high-pressure hose.
With the bolsters down, the rear seats form a sun lounger on either side of the outboard. There is plenty of storage underneath, as well as under the front console seat.
The customer has a choice of colours for the powder coated finish, upholstery, and pontoons, allowing them to choose the aesthetic that suits. Powder coating ensures a strong, durable finish that’s also very low maintenance.

A lot of thought went into the arch and T-top. It’s a real feature of the RIB and King went to considerable trouble to get it looking right, fold down easily, and stay rigid enough when up. The T-top provides shelter from our harsh sunlight, which customers demand, especially if they’re going to be out all day.
The T-top arms are designed to be in keeping with the boat’s aesthetics and are positioned behins the helm so as not to impair vision ahead.

Customers said they also wanted to be able to put the boat and trailer in a standard-sized garage, hence the folding design. It reduces the height of the boat and trailer to 2.25m, which is low enough for most garages. To lower the arch, a pin is removed from a locking brace and electric actuators rotate the arch. All very smart.
There is also a neat fold-away step on the transom which allows for easy access from the rear.
Another key component of the package is the custom-built aluminium trailer. Strong and low maintenance, as well as being a perfect fit for the RIB, are strong selling points King Watercraft point out. Customers are obviously listening because, to date, every one of them has ordered an aluminium trailer.

King Watercraft will have a display at the Auckland On Water Boat Show in March 2023 – a great opportunity for the company to get some added exposure for this forward-thinking design.
If you’re in the market for a highly spec’d, high-quality RIB with good looks and performance, take a good look at the K5000 – it’s hard to beat in my view.