Why is Chris Craft known as the undisputed king in the world of motorboats? A trip to their boat factory provides the answer. The brand spells quality in each process of boat making. Chris Craft boats are manufactured in a state-of-the-art facility located in Sarasota, Florida. The Chris Craft manufacturing plant is spread over 20 acres of land and employs a team of engineers, craftsmen, and skilled workers, many of which are industry veterans. Each boat is made to order and the company follows a detailed 6-sigma process to ensure the finest quality product. Though it has a rich heritage, the machines, tools, and processes used in Chris Craft manufacturing facility is state of the art.
A typical day at the factory starts with a discussion on the production schedule and the participants include all the different departments involved in designing and building a Chris Craft boat. A very important contribution that sets Chris Craft apart from the other boat manufacturers is its careful preservation of original molds. The first step in the production process is mold preparation and some of the molds have been preserved and utilized for nearly 50 years.
The hull is designed by following a 6-step lamination process.
Step 1– A gel coat is applied to form the outer surface of the hull. The thickness of the gel coat is constantly checked using a mill gauge, as it needs to be between 18-22 mils.
Step 2 – Spray application of a vinyl coat that provides thermal protection and a smoother finish.
Step 3 – Application of stranded fiberglass to the whole mold, along with a resin coating that is applied by hand.
Step 4 – The whole interior structure is locked in place. All Chris Craft boats feature the trademark tumble home design. The unique closed cell foam construction incorporated in the hull is responsible for minimizing the sound of water lapping against the hull at high speeds.
Step 5 – This is the curing process after which the fiberglass hull is separated from the mold.
Step 6 – The quality assurance team monitors every area of lamination to ensure that a hull of exceptional quality is ready.
The finished hull is sent to the cutting department where holes are bored to support the electrical wiring that forms a main component of the boat. All electrical components used in the boat ranging from battery cables to instrument panels is manufactured in-house.
The fabricating team at Chris Craft is responsible for creating cabinets, seating upholstery and other key components that make a Chris Craft boat. All wood and plastic components are cut using CNC routers that are programmed to ensure proper fit and alignment of the components. The craftsmen design the beautiful interior and comfortable seating that Chris Craft boats are famous for. The upholstery has a luxurious texture and is very durable. The hull then goes to the engine station for installation and base assembly functions.
After engine installation, the hull is moved to the decking station where the boat’s look is completed with a wood finishing. All Chris Craft boats use the highest grade of teak wood, and this is installed by hand.
Each boat has its own custom-fitted wood parts and the process of assembling the interior can take anywhere between 6 to 40 hours depending on the boat’s model and size. The boat is then ready to go on its maiden trip in water, in a pond located within the factory premises. After this test run, it is cleaned and packed after final inspection.
Now that you have completed a virtual trip to the boat factory, you know you are going to own the best boat in the industry when you contact your nearest Chris Craft dealer.