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A triple hard tank ballast system is standard on all XT and NXT boats. These ballast tanks cannot be removed after the boat has been built due to tight tolerance to t between the deck and the Hull. The SurfStar System has additional plug-in bags. The bags connect through quick-connect fittings located in the rear storage compartment. The NXT has optional wake shaping devices and additional quick-connect bags when selected, but does not come with the SurfStar software. 


Ballast systems were specially designed for each model of MasterCraft boats to enhance enjoyment of boating. By creating deeper, more dynamic waves in the wake, boarding enthusiasts with skills ranging from beginners to professional boarders have discovered more enjoyable, even record-setting experiences. For simple outings and quicker reaction by the boat, ballast systems can be left empty. Filling ballast tanks, and optional bags, however, sets the stage for exciting and fun experiences. 


Ballast tanks are located between deck and hull, out-of-sight. Plugin, optional bags are located in the rear storage areas, on either side of the engine compartment. On the XStar, front ballast bags are located under the bow seating. Ballast ll and empty locations are underwater and should be kept clear of debris. (See Care and Maintenance section of the 2017 Owners Manual for more detail) Ballast over flow locations are on the side of the boat. Depending on the model, the over flow may be on the bow or the gunnel. (See Guide to Individual Models in the 2017 Owners Manual to determine the location of ballast over flow.) Fill, empty and over flow locations should never be obstructed. In addition to the manual switch on the drivers armrest, control may also be available through the Video Display Gauge. (See Video Display Gauge section of the Owners Manual.) 


The three-position switches are clearly marked: FILL, OFF (in center), and EMPTY. Toggle the switch in the direction desired. Be certain to return the switch to OFF when functions are complete. When the tank(s) is/are full, operators will see water being evacuated out the ballast over ow location(s). (See Guide to Individual Models in the 2017 Owners Manual to determine the location of the ballast over flow.) 

The ballast system in the X, XStar and ProStar operates on an automated system that will shut down automatically when the emptying process has been completed. 

The NXT system is not automatic. Tanks are full when the over ow begins to spit water out the side of the boat. To empty also requires manual operation. The system also empties water through the hullside When tanks are empty, the water ow stops. It is critical to shut o the switch at this time. 

Caution: Failure to return the manual operation switch on an NXT ballast system to OFF after emptying the tanks can cause the ballast pumps to fail. Such failure is not covered under warranty. 

On models equipped with optional plug-in bags, if the bags are emptied and disconnected from the system, the original bridge connector MUST be reinstalled. Failure to do so will allow any water pumped into the rest of the ballast system to evacuate through the quick connect, which can result in flooding of the compartments and potentially sinking the boat. 

Warning: The original bridge connector in the ballast system must be rein- stalled if the optional plug-in bags are removed from the system. Failure to do so will result in any water in the ballast system evacuating into the storage compartment, potentially flooding the compartments and could potentially sink the boat, resulting in serious injury or death. 

In the systems that operate on timers, note that the timer operation varies by model. Timers may also be impacted by the addition of optional bags. See your authorized MasterCraft Dealer for assistance in determining the proper setting for timers. 

Special Attention 

Be aware that the engine must be operated at 1500 RPM during the ll and empty processes. Check engine specifications for related engine idle speed, which, in some instances, may be too low for the empty/ ll operation to be properly accomplished. Failure to increase engine RPM to the required level may result in malfunction or permanent damage to the ballast pumps that force the water through the system. Such damage is not covered under your warranty. 

NEVER tow a trailer with water in the boats ballast tank(s)! Even small amounts of water can cause serious problems with the required balance of the boat on the trailer. (See the Trailer section of the 2017 Owners Manual if you own a MasterCraft trailer. Note that this information is also applicable when towing with trailers built and sold by other manufacturers. Correct balance is critical to safe trailering.) 

Danger: Water MUST be pumped out of ballast tanks prior to towing the boat on any trailer. Even small amounts of water can adversely affect the balance of the boat on the trailer and tow connection, which can cause the tow vehicle driver to lose control of the rig. Failure to follow instructions can result in significant damage to the tow vehicle, trailer and/or boat, other vehicles on the road, and serious injury or death, including, but not limited to, bystanders. 

Additional Special Attention 

The ballast pump impeller MUST be replaced on a regular basis (at least annually, but more often may be necessary). Its purpose is to move water from the intake into the ballast tank, and vice versa when emptying the ballast tank. Through usage, the impeller, by design, will wear. (See Care and Maintenance section of the 2017 Owners Manual.) Authorized MasterCraft Dealers can provide guidance to locate any and all pumps. Failure to follow directions may result in damage to the ballast pump that is not covered under warranty. 

Caution: Failure to follow instructions regarding the care and maintenance of ballast pumps as outlined in the 2017 Owners Manual can result in damage to the ballast pump that is not covered under warranty. 


  • If the ballast pumps do not turn ON when the switch is activated or the touch screen is used, check that the circuit has not tripped on the main circuit breaker panel. Continual tripping after reset is indicative of an issue that requires the attention of an authorized MasterCraft dealer. 

  • If the ballast pumps do not work when the circuit breaker has not been tripped, it is likely that the pump has malfunctioned, probably due to running while the tanks were empty. Regardless of cause, it is necessary to take the boat to an authorized MasterCraft Dealer to determine whether the impeller and/or pump must be replaced. 

Your authorized MasterCraft Dealer has an extensive troubleshooting tree for ballast systems that includes parts of the system that are not accessible to the consumer. Because a malfunctioning ballast system can cause problems with control of the boat, no potential issue that arises with the system should ever be ignored. 

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