Anglers and boaters rarely consider the tremendous effort required to design and manufacture the countless components that enhance our on-the-water experiences. Skilled craftsmen design and build many of these essentials right here in Florida. We wanted to learn more about these products and about the companies that produce them and hope that you, too, will be fascinated with what we discover.
Rarely do boat builders create maritime marvels all on their own. From the acquisition of fiberglass fabrics and resins to the construction of pipe work and essential components, the final product is typically a direct result of the dedication of hard working craftsmen across the industry. This is where Boat Outfitters (boatoutfitters.com) comes into the picture.
…Boat Outfitters is most respected for their extensive knowledge and history of fabricating starboard components…
Flying below the public radar for the last 30 years, Teak Isle Mfg. has been carefully designing and producing custom products for the most respected boat builders in the industry. Now offering OEM quality parts for the retail market, Boat Outfitters is the newest name in the game. Their vast product line includes tackle storage units, access doors, rod holders, and numerous acrylic parts such as baitwell lids, cabin entry doors and sliding entryways. While they have years of experience working with these materials, Boat Outfitters is most respected for their extensive knowledge and history of fabricating starboard components, which is what we’re most interested in.
Originally developed by King Starboard®, this is one of the only building materials in the boating industry designed specifically to withstand the harsh marine environment. Unaffected by sun, salt and moisture, starboard is strong, easy to clean, durable and absolutely perfect for a wide array of marine applications. Whether it’s a rod holder, tackle box, drawer unit, cutting board or swim platform, Boat Outfitters has likely designed, built and perfected it out of starboard. In fact, Boat Outfitters is the largest single user of King Starboard® in the entire marine industry, supplying components for Cabo, Contender, Yellowfin, Sea Ray, Everglades, Donzi, Fountain, Hatteras, Hinckley and Jupiter Marine just to name a few.
With such a diverse product line, organization is imperative or a simple query would take months to fulfill. To give you an idea of how many parts are in their database, for Sea Ray alone there are over 5,000 CNC programs with exacting commands, resulting in products of unrivaled quality. At any point in time a CNC program for a desired part can be pulled up and the piece immediately fabricated. Although our tour of Boat Outfitter’s well designed and superbly organized manufacturing plant could have highlighted anything, the focus of this editorial is on their high quality tackle storage units.
Available in a variety of sizes, colors and configurations utilizing marine-grade stainless steel hinges and fasteners, these are the most accurately constructed and well-designed tackle storage centers you will ever see on any boat. The process starts with a team of engineers who carefully design the ideal product for the particular job at hand (Image 1). Component fabrication relies on highly automated computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) programs. With the input of the engineers, the programs produce a file that instructs the CNC machines to precisely create a product that perfectly reflects the original design (Image 2).
Boat Outfitter’s manufacturing plant is divided into five work cells, with craftsmen in each cell focused on specific tasks. With 125 employees and eight state-of-the-art routing machines, it is only with maximum efficiency and organization that Boat Outfitters stays on top of its game. Although starboard is relatively easy to work with and can be cut and shaped in a backyard garage with a handheld router, for consistency and efficiency, Boat Outfitters relies on the precision afforded by modern computer assisted equipment to make sure the resulting components are nothing short of perfect.
Since CNC machines are outfitted with a variety of different tools, the CAD programs simultaneously cut and drill the material, while also providing pilot holes. And thanks to extreme precision, no surface trimming or finishing is required. Because of the inherent cost of starboard, it is important to waste as little material as possible. Fortunately, CNC machines have the ability to run multiple programs at once, which in turn maximizes time and material for the most efficient production possible.
Now complete, the starboard components are taken to an assembly station. While the machines were routing the parts, stainless steel piano hinges were simultaneously cut to spec for the determined project (Image 3). Components for the handles are also fabricated in-house.
Final construction of the tackle center starts with the installation of the piano hinge (Image 4). Utilizing marine-grade stainless steel screws, it’s crucial the pilot holes were originally drilled in the precise positions. The piano hinge also has to be attached to the receiving end of the cabinet face (Image 5). Without a proper fit the door won’t align with the lid and it will not shut completely.
Next, a 316 stainless steel flush slam latch is screwed into place from the inside out (Image 6). At the same time the front hatch is being constructed, the pull out drawers and leader spool holders are also being assembled and installed (Image 7). After the lure bag is included (Image 8) the tackle center is given a thorough quality inspection to make certain it is fully functional and ready to be shipped to happy clients and busy boat builders around the world.
While Boat Outfitters works with a host of marine builders, they also operate an extensive retail website that allows recreational anglers to locate the perfect OEM replacement part for their particular vessel. This means if you have a cracked hatch or if you’re looking for a special length gas shock for your older boat, don’t bother calling your manufacturer. Simply locate the part number and call Boat Outfitters. Chances are they built it. With thousands of items in their database there’s likely a part that’s perfect for your particular needs.