Where your boat is born
Research & Development
From paper sketches to virtual models, we are always looking for better ways to build a boat. We start by listening to consumers like you, learning what your ideal boat looks like, how it performs, what features it offers. We visualize that boat and then finesse hull contours and interior designs until your dream starts to take shape.
Testing & Validation
Before they go to market, all of our boats are thoroughly tested and validated by our internal Lean Six Sigma process, champion skiers, our top dealers, and customer focus groups. We also test our boats with reputable magazines and organizations like USA Water Ski, Waterski Magazine, Wakeboarding Magazine and the World Wakeboard Association.
Sometimes it takes years for a boat to get from prototype to the showroom, but if it means sculpting the perfect wake, upholding our commitment to excellence or guaranteeing your complete satisfaction, we think it's worth the wait. After a boat and all of its working components have been exhaustively tested, it's ready to go into production.
After a prototype boat is validated, molds must be cast of its hull, floor liner and deck. These molds are precisely constructed and then wrapped in a steel skeleton to keep them from warping or twisting over time. We design and build our molds right here at the factory.
Your MasterCraft is only as good as its mold, which must be meticulously maintained. MasterCraft is the only inboard-boat builder with an entire department dedicated to inspecting, maintaining and waxing every mold. Hulls are waxed and buffed every 3 uses, decks every 5. After 50 uses, both hull and deck molds are removed from rotation and undergo a complete overhaul, all to make them a better fit for your boat.
Each MasterCraft deck and hull is prepped and taped off before the gelcoat stage. Tape is applied to the deck to mark where the accent lines will be sprayed after the boat receives the base color.
Boats are built from the outside in, so the first material applied to a boat mold is the color or "gelcoat." Our gelcoat is a product of Cook Composites & Polymers - the number-one gelcoat producer in the world.
To get multiple colors on the exterior of a boat, we carefully apply layers of paper and tape to the mold, spray it with gelcoat and then remove the tape. The gelcoat is sprayed .24 millimeters thick and checked to .005 inch. Each mold is striped and gelcoated up to 3 times to give every MasterCraft a rich, colorful finish. MasterCraft even goes so far as to gelcoat the liner. This is day one. It takes approximately 7 business days to build a boat.
Think of it as gelcoat insurance. A protective layer of resin is applied between the gelcoat and the first layer of fiberglass to prevent gelcoat print-through and blistering. MasterCraft is one of the very few boat builders who currently use this preventive measure to ensure the long-term beauty of your boat. We wouldn't have it any other way.
Now your boat is ready for the first application of fiberglass. We start by wetting the mold with resin, laying in pieces of fiberglass, saturating it with more resin and then hand-rolling every crevice to remove air pockets. This application is referred to as the "skin" stage.
The preferred way of constructing a boat is to hand-lay the fiberglass. Hand laid fiberglass is stronger and more consistent. That's why we buy premier-quality mat and woven fiberglass and then cut it into the appropriate shape and thickness of each individual model boat. We hand-lay up to 22 layers of fiberglass on each boat to ensure strength.
While this process is very labor-intensive, it's superior to chopper gun methods that haphazardly spray fiberglass strands and result in unpredictable inconsistency.
Next, a layer of stiff synthetic foam is applied to the boat for a superior strength-to-weight ratio. Our synthetic foam is the most advanced product available today. It is lighter, stronger and more durable. It also serves as a heat barrier, a cosmetic print-through protector and a stiffening agent.
Stringers are the backbone of your boat. MasterCraft's exclusive stringer system is primary-bonded to the hull. AnchorLokTM; aluminum, steel and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pieces are glassed into the structure for anchoring major external hardware.
Steel for engine and ski-pylon mounting is sandwiched under the liner. PVC conduit is laminated into the deck for easy cable and wire routing.
While some manufacturers send out for parts, we handcraft even small fiberglass parts, using the superior hand laid method, to ensure quality and the LifeMaster® construction seal of approval. Ski lockers, coolers, trailer fenders and other pieces are built on a specially allocated assembly line.
The MasterCraft liner system is unequaled by any other inboard company. The mechanical bond and unibody construction adds rigidity and strength, making a MasterCraft more like offshore fishing and performance boats.
After the floor liner has been separated from the mold, it's sanded and prepared for installation. While the hull is still in the mold, the floor liner is lowered in and bonded with a vinylester adhesive in a process called GlassLok.® Then a 1-ton press is lowered into the hull and ratcheted down to hold the floor firmly in place. The end result is a hand laid fiberglass liner that works as a floor and guarantees the hull's strength and shape over time.
While the press sandwiches the 2 unibody pieces together, MasterCraftsmen inject expanding closed-cell flotation foam in the open cavity between the hull and floor. This ensures level flotation, and noise and vibration dampening.
After the hull lamination is complete, it's time to remove it from the mold. Using special tools, workers chisel around the boat's edges to free it and then attach hoists to gently lift it out. This birthing process is remarkable considering the deep lustre of the gelcoat and the crispness of the hand-striped accent lines.
Drilling & Grinding
After the hull is separated from the mold, the deck is separated in a similar process. Then drillers and grinders, donning climate-controlled space suits and shielded helmets, go to work trimming rough fiberglass edges and precisely drilling holes where parts will be attached in assembly. MasterCraftsmen secure color-coded jigs around the boat, carefully drilling each hole.
Every boat has its own set of jigs to ensure that no hole is mistakenly placed. Each boat will be drilled with 100 to 200 holes at this time. This type of tooling allows MasterCraft to produce a high-quality product with superior fit and finish.
Our quality control managers and supervisors methodically check, inspect and report on every boat that comes down the line. While there are QA checkpoints throughout the lamination building, no boat is allowed to move into assembly without passing a stringent final inspection.
At this QA station, our "white lab coat" quality personnel scour the hull, deck and liner with light wands to catch minute imperfections. Then they join the hull and deck to ensure that the shoebox fit is secure.
Over 1,000 components are installed on 17 different model boats, at 15 stations, along 3 separate manufacturing lines. Everything from dash pods to engines to stereos and cleats is installed here with utmost precision and attention to detail. At this point the boat is only 2 1/2 days away from completion.
One manufacturing line is dedicated to direct-drive boats and another line is dedicated to VectorDriveTM boats. Each of these lines runs the full length of the building, and a separate line, running half the length of the building, is dedicated to the production of the MariStar 280, X80 and CSX265 due to their size.
We compression-mold our ProStar dash and glove-box lid to eliminate any squeaks, rattles and blisters. MariStar dashes, glove-box lids and armrests are vacuum-formed parts. All instrument and stereo remote control panels are made of machined billet aluminum. The Teleflex®; Xtreme cables reduce loss of motion up to 70 percent.
We use high-quality connectors on all bilge wiring to ensure a positive connection and withstand the elements of the marine environment. We provide the innovative Visual Digital Interface Gauge (VDIG) video displays and electromechanical gauges for more responsive electronics. Heavy 40-oz. carpeting is used for longer wear and is standard on every MasterCraft. We use heavy-duty ballast pumps to fill and empty the ballast tanks on our boats. They're not only quicker than bilge-type pumps used with other systems, but they won't lose their prime either.
When a boat enters the assembly building, the hull and deck are separated to make attaching small parts, carpeting the interior and loading the engine less cumbersome. Therefore the boat moves down the line with the deck one station ahead of the hull. At the engine station, installers are careful to align the engine properly, securing it to the motor mounts and connecting the drive train.
All holes for each performance engine are drilled with fixtures to ensure every motor is located precisely where it was engineered to be. After drilling, each hole is tapped in preparation to bolt the engine in. After the engine has been installed, the deck can be mated with the hull.
The stainless steel shaft in our rudder is sturdy and is less likely to bend under impact. We use 8 bolt struts - the beefiest in the industry - to secure the stainless steel driveshaft.
We produce our own custom upholstery using high-density foam, rotocast polyethylene frames and backs (instead of wood), premium vinyl, and heavy-duty stitching. As many as 9 grades of foam are used for maximum comfort. Every metal component on a MasterCraft is either stainless steel or other non-corrosive material. Even upholstery staples are stainless steel.
In a MasterCraft, all seat bases are part of the deck mold. The deck is mechanically fastened into the floor liner with L-brackets and mated using a tongue-and-groove process to create the most solid boat in the industry. All seat bases are made of molded fiberglass, which will not get soft in hot weather, as plastic will. Fiberglass seat bases will also retain their shape and last forever.
Rotocasting is by far the best way to build a seat. We further toughen the interior by molding nutserts into our seating structure, making it possible to bolt most upholstery to the deck. Our aluminum sundeck and rear-seat structure are solid and durable.
MasterCraft vinyl is foam-backed for better wear and longevity. Our innovative pleating machine allows us to build the whole interior on the premises to ensure the quality look of true-sewn pleats. To make our interiors last even longer, we use triple-density, self-draining reticulated foam to keep your seats dry and looking stylish for decades.
The hull and deck are joined by heavy-duty screws and backed up by HDPE for maximum strength and rigidity. Our V-drive pylons are securely bolted into steel plates, laminated into the liner of the boat. Our windshields are built with thick, durable extrusion and stainless steel support brackets.
MasterCraft towers are crafted by Gere Marie with high quality aluminum tubing and chromed billet aluminum to make them the industry's best. All tower-speaker housings, tower-light assemblies, and board racks are produced under strict standards to ensure they are MasterCraft worthy.
MasterCraft is the only inboard manufacturer to custom-build and color-match trailers for each individual boat model. This ensures that every boat will sit securely on the trailer and give you, our customer, peace of mind when pulling your prized possession down the road.
We start with raw tubular steel that is cut, bent and welded together from scratch by our own metal smiths. Steel tube frames far exceed channel versions in durability and strength. Lightweight, corrosion-resistant fiberglass fenders are a MasterCraft trademark.
All MasterCraft trailers come complete with high-quality aluminum wheels (diecast with the MasterCraft name, no less), making the perfect statement for the total rig. Each wheel hub and axle is fully lubed with oil (instead of grease), thanks to our industry-exclusive, flexible oil-packed bearing maintenance, which provides better fuel economy.
The swinging pivot-tongue design is included on every MasterCraft trailer, shortening the overall length of your trailer by 18 inches, for easier storage.
Launching and loading a MasterCraft takes seconds, not minutes. The automatic EZ Load® Boat Buddy practically does it for you by locking the bow eye on the trailer when you drive. There's no need to fuss with winch straps while on the ramp.
All MasterCraft trailers feature disc brakes on all axles for maximum stopping power. Torsion-axle suspension means better road-bump absorption and less trailer bounce. Backing up is safe and easy with our reverse lights and a 5-wire back-up system. Simply put your vehicle in reverse and the system releases the brakes automatically.
All MasterCraft boats are run on the water for the final test before their last cleaning. Sure, it sounds like a dream job to be the lake tester, but it's no easy task. Lake testers meticulously scrutinize the boat's performance and behavior on the water, so you are spared any surprises. We hear that our competitors test their boats in a kiddie pool.
With all systems "go," we do a final cleaning and detail, then shrink-wrap the boats for safety before shipping them to our dealers. We are the only manufacturer who shrink-wraps all of our boats to ensure that your baby is swaddled, safe and protected.