Manufacturing Process

With dedicated full-time staff providing in-house cutting, welding, bending, rigging, assembly, and paint expertise, Metal Shark maintains tight control over all aspects of production to assure the highest consistency and quality. 

The manufacturing process begins in Metal Shark’s engineering  office. A staff of over 60 in-house naval architects, marine and mechanical engineers use leading engineering and 3D parametric modeling software applications to precisely model every piece of each vessel from bow to stern. The resulting data is then fed to computer-driven cutting and bending machinery that fabricates each piece from sheets of premium 5086 aluminum alloy. Then manufacturing progresses to Metal Shark’s highly skilled welding and assembly teams.

Metal Shark benefits from South Louisiana’s strong boat building heritage and fields a team composed of talented and highly capable welders. Metal Shark welding teams utilize MIG and TIG welding equipment and processes to assure precision welds. The quality of Metal Shark’s welds, aesthetically as well as structurally, is a great source of pride among its employees. Clean, precision welding is evident throughout each Metal Shark vessel. Advanced computer-driven robotic welders are used for some applications, particularly during welding of select subcomponents including consoles, tanks, and other items, to assure precision tolerances in hard-to-reach areas. All of Metal Shark’s welders are certified to AWS standards by a third party.

Once welding is complete, the boat enters the assembly (aka “rigging”) phase. During this phase, various trained teams of workers perform all the tasks needed to fully outfit a boat. Mechanical technicians install the engines, steering, and other mechanical systems. Electricians install the wiring, breakers, switches and electrical components. “Static” crews install windows, collars, tow reels, etc. Electronics technicians complete the assembly by finalizing the installation of the complex electronics, including the integration and cross-communication between electronics.

Quality Assurance & Testing

Throughout the welding and rigging processes, numerous layers of quality control are exercised, with an overarching Quality Control Plan establishing checkpoints at crucial stages for testing and inspections. A quality control representative checks each boat not only at these dedicated milestones, but performs additional random spot checks for an added layer of redundant quality assurance. Key milestones in the Quality Control Plan include: hull welding, structural welding, sub-component welding, pilothouse assembly prior to mating with hull, and completed boat prior to exiting the welding building. Metal Shark’s quality assurance (QA) program has been developed in concert with US Coast Guard and Navy inspectors and is overseen by an ISO:9000-experienced manager.
Once each vessel has been completed, a rigging team takes the vessel for its first sea trial. This trial is intended to identify and fix any items that need fixing or adjustment – such as engine throttle cables and compass calibrations. A second and final sea trial is performed by the dedicated quality control department, to ensure a final check on all systems and vessel functions. 

Metal Shark designs and constructs all vessels to industry standard guidelines and in full compliance with USCG, ASTM, ABS, ABYC, AWS and all other relevant governing bodies. 

Click to learn more about our Franklin Shipyard and Jeanerette Production Facility.