June 20, 2012
Ever see a law enforcement boat with beefed-up seating and steering, quad engines and what looks like grey, bullet-proof construction? Sometimes there's an impressive automatic gun mounted on the bow, too. Chances are that's a Metal Shark aluminum boat.
Louisiana-based Metal Shark Aluminum Boats
bring recreational fishermen a unique, all-aluminum center console that's as close to indestructible as it gets. Florida Sportsman magazine met with Metal Shark President Chris Allard at Sailfish Marina to test the 40 Fearless on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) and outside of Lake Worth Inlet.
From a Florida angler's perspective, the 40 Fearless is an interesting concept boat, showing how a military-grade vessel might be configured for sportfishing. At present, Metal Shark builds for government clients a diverse line of aluminum boats, including center consoles starting at 21 feet, and skiffs at 16 feet. The 40 Fearless is the first of the line made available for private customers.
There's nothing diminutive about it. Heavy-duty 5086 aluminum alloy plating make up the hull bottom, sides, stringers and bulkheads. Until now, Metal Sharks have only been available to government, military and commercial customers. With the release of the custom 40 Fearless, Metal Shark jumps into the recreational market.
“This model was originally going to be named the 40 Relentless, but because of its unique architecture, this boat didn't fall under the same category as the remainder of the Relentless Series,” said Brian Johnston, Director of Communications for Metal Shark boats. “The Fearless moniker enhances the boat's image as military technology available in a civilian package.”
Metal Shark is a company that builds vessels for drug interdiction, gunship operations and border security. Now they're adding fishermen-friendly features like livewells, rod holders, fish boxes and options like outriggers. What's left is one tough-looking boat that will garner lots of attention, wage battles against the toughest weather conditions, and still catch fish.
Computer modeling of each custom part leads to three-dimensional drawings. Then all parts are cut using computer-controlled high-power water jets. Pieces are then welded together, like an industrial puzzle. All decks are welded to the stringer system and open, under-deck areas are foam-filled for increased flotation.
Metal Shark Boats
6816 East Admiral Doyle Drive
Jeanerette, Louisiana 70544
LOA: 41 feet, 3 inches
Beam: 10 feet, 3 inches
Draft: 2 feet, 2 inches
Fuel Capacity: 600 gallons
Weight: varies per application
Max horsepower: 1,400
MSRP: $350,000 (includes base boat, triple Verado 300s and trailer)
Check out the bow that's flush for easy walking. Any part of the boat that can be walked on is coated with non-skid material—that means deck, gunnels and handrails. Up front are a storage compartment and an anchor locker.
Side-step leading to the front of the boat with a welded, aluminum cleat at top. Pictured is one of six 8-inch welded cleats.
The heavy duty custom grab rail even has non-skid tread. Compartment, bottom right, is just one of many storage areas onboard.
Out on the water, the twin-stepped hull handles Palm Beach County swells. Notice the four single-person helm chairs.
Plenty of room to walk around the massive center console. Gunnel rod holders ready for duty, and top center, a massive fish box for your catch.
A 600-gallon fuel tank feeds those quad Mercury 300s which allow this boat to reach speeds of 70 mph offshore. Maximum horsepower is 1,400.
A look at the seating behind the console. Single-person helm seats are mounted side-by-side (four total). The chairs are made by SHOXS, a company that specializes in shock mitigation and ride control. Chartplotter and storage are available for second row of passengers, along with the array of electronics at the helm.
Seats fold down to allow room to stand while steering. At left, that's a hand grip to hold on to in rough seas. The seating may remind some of a rollercoaster ride.
Another look at those Livorsi steering controls. Throttle on the left for all four engines; forward, reverse and neutral at right; below, engine trim. Very bottom, make sure to
wear the killswitch lanyard.
Head compartment console is aluminum built.
Lighting and instruments arch above the aluminum top. Radar dome just visible bottom left.
On the Intracoastal, a sharp turn reveals the full guts of the boat. Boat's hull, cockpit and side decks are all welded aluminum. Foam flotation fills up the empty space below decks and inside gunnels.
Metal Shark's logo to the left, massive scupper holes for the self-bailing cockpit at right.
Stern rear-facing seat opens to reveal a stack of batteries.
This starboard side door opens to the inside to allow boat-to-boat transfers.
A shot of the cockpit. There are fishing features on this boat. At top, that's a livewell for baits. Not pictured, there are two 2,000 GPH bilge pumps with auto/manual controls.
On our trip, the livewell doubled as a cooler. Notice the hinged dive door, at right.
A shot of the quad 300-hp Mercury four-strokes. Maximum horsepower is 1,400.
Three scupper holes measuring 4 inches apiece can move gallons of water off the self-bailing cockpit in a hurry.
With a windshield as spray protection, the 40 Fearless sets off for waters unknown.