IBEX 365 News
It’s All In The Details
One of the most unique and fascinating parts of Gatorstep’s production is the design process. In most cases, designs are conceived and produced entirely in-house. Whether the initial concept is submitted by a customer or evolves from a knee-jerk request “Hey, can you make something cool?”, GatorStep’s team is able to execute and deliver a richly composed, multifaceted design to perfection.
Apart from having top-of-the-line equipment on hand to design a kit from bow to stern, GatorStep designers run an intuitive process, managing expectations and outcomes efficiently and directly with each individual client. “Most of the time, new clients won’t have a specific request, and we will need to identify an emotion or idea to get an original concept”, says Charlie Finch, GatorStep Designer. “It always starts with the boat. We try to identify what is unique to the boat’s integrity, absorbing its style and characteristics. We ask clients what kind of colors they’re looking for, if they have a name for the boat, and hone a familiar feeling before we add any complexity.”
The first step in the process is to confirm measurements. The customer can use a mylar template kit, lay it down on the deck, and outline all the applicable areas. The customer, or their chosen dealer, can also provide their measurements by photographing targets placed in the boat. More than likely, however, GatorStep will already have a pre-measured pattern on hand, or something quite near to it, for an accurate outline. Customers simply identify the boat model, colors, texture, and graphics, and the nonskid deck can be custom-made without the need for a stencil.
From there, a 3D reference is generated to create a template that will be sent as a test fit. An art proof will be generated for the customer’s approval. Textures colors and graphics are discussed further, and the design team will consult each customer on his or her preference for complexity, dimension, and finish. Graphics and shapes can be fitted with the interlocking pieces of decking, and multi-layered colors and textures applied in selected areas. “We sometimes get really nice, ‘showboat’ jobs where we can come up with some really cool stuff,” adds Charlie. “We can dial it up, dial it down, come up with something that’s incredibly unique and that taps into our creative roots, or be as simple and straightforward as the customer wants.”
Once the design is finalized, multiple sets of directions are given to a team that will assemble layers of material, cure, and glue sheets together, and commence the top-layer engraving process with a specialized CNC machine. Graphics and logos can be added by laser. Afterward, the whole project is cut and edged into interlocking pieces. A quality control team inspects the final product for quality and accuracy.
Gatorstep designers get orders from customers and companies all over the world. “I love when I get to see an installation here in our facility in Knoxville. It really satisfying to see a cool design go from start to finish,” says Charlie.
That feeling of stepping on board the boat that is uniquely YOURS is undeniable. And it is the best feeling for GatorStep, too. Going from initial concept to fantastic final finish is a mutually exciting process, and satisfaction all around is the guarantee. Read more.