Please select your home edition

A quick dive into a keel project

by William Souter, MarsKeel 22 Oct 2020 09:10 PDT
A quick dive into a keel project © MarsKeel

At MarsKeel Technology we offer our clients all the services needed to manufacture top quality keels. We are far more than a lead foundry, we offer complete project management, design, and engineering assistance.

Our support begins with the first email or phone call. We discuss the project with the customer, be it the builder, designer, or engineer. From there, we get an idea of the scope of work. Once the drawings arrive, we really get the opportunity to get into the details of the project. It is from this point that we can see exactly what the customer is looking for. Is it a "simple" lead casting? Or is it a more complete keel combining castings, fabrications, and machining?

We Can Assist You

Which type of project are you asking for? This is where our experience assists you. We can assist you through both very complex projects (left KZ7 keel) involving many disciplines, from pattern making, casting, fabrication and CNC machining to far more simple keel castings (4200 lbs keel casting)..


This going to be dull but very necessary. Once we know where in the range of projects you are, we can start creating a costing sheet. We work out a costing sheet for every job. It is not just a means of adding costs, that's simple, it reminds you to look carefully at every detail in the project. No matter if you have seen them hundreds of times or they are brand new. From a simple 15-line costing sheet to a tremendously complex 200-line costing sheet, it helps both us and the customer get what they want. They are a road map for the project.

Manufacturing and Designing

There are two basic parts to this process. One, looking at the offered design and seeing if there is any aspect that we can offer suggestions on. This is not always necessary, but we always look for areas where we can assist make the project simpler, and possibly less expensive.

The second process is the internal manufacturing engineering work that is done. This is the design and production work to make every part needed to make the project, from patterns to custom shipping systems. This can be as simple as a single bolt rack or as complex as a complete system of fabricated core boxes and machined rods. These are the things that the customer will not see but they are a tremendously important part of making the project and need to be included in the costing sheet. Without them, we couldn't do our work. It all depends on the complexity of the project how involved the manufacturing engineering needs to be.

Below are some possible areas we could offer suggestions to the designer or customer. These two are generally the simplest ways of saving the customer time and money. They of course need to be accepted by the engineer or designer. There are many other areas that we look at as well, but we don't have the space to go through all of them here.

Example 1: Fabricated Fin Material

In terms of a keel fin, be it fabricated or cast, machined partly or completely, this is where our team is likely to have suggestions for the project. Our suggestions are not being critical of the shape or geometry of the keel, they are focused on construction details. We are always looking for new ways to make things like we all are, better, cheaper, and faster. We offer the customer suggestions on things like the material required in a fabricated fin. If for example, they spec a SSAB Weldox grade, we would suggest a grade of ASTM A 514. This material has the same chemical and physical properties, it is less expensive and is available locally.

Example 2: Keel Bolts

We might suggest something as small as a change in keel bolt material to offer a less expensive option if ABS or ISO bolt calculations allow the change. We can make keel bolts or studs and hex and jam nuts out of any material that is needed, from 17-4Ph to 2205 Duplex to NAB. But some smaller projects can have the cost impacted by making custom machined keel bolts and hex nuts rather than a readily available option, 316 SS or A4-70.


You can now understand the services and level of detail that we offer in all our projects. It is this level of detail that is reflected in the costing sheet and in the offered price. This is not to say that we overthink the project but based on our experience try to foresee and plan paths around any found concerns. If we can be successful in that then the product and the customer will get the part they are looking for. It will arrive on-site anywhere in the world safe and sound.

That is the basis for every question we ask and every option we offer, to get the customer the best part that we can make at a reasonable price and delivery time.

Read the latest blog for an in-depth look at our complete keep project process.

Related Articles

Recent Projects & Custom Work from MarsKeel
Taking pride in each project completed and ability to exceed customer's expectations MarsKeel is taking on more keel repair projects and custom work as we emerge from the pandemic. With decades of experience and service on a variety of keels, we take pride in each project we complete and our ability to exceed our customer's expectations Posted on 24 Mar
Your guide to finding & fixing damaged keel bolts
The experts at MarsKeel explain the process With boating season just a few months away, now is the perfect time to run some checks before launch. This includes being able to identify the issue and the costs associated with your boat's keel. Posted on 15 Feb
MarsKeel part of historic first
Ocean Drone with MarsKeel's lead ballast system captures footage from inside hurricane In a historic first, a camera-equipped ocean drone that uses MarsKeel's unique lead ballast system, has captured footage from inside a hurricane. Posted on 20 Oct 2021
Case study: Dissimilar metal combination keel
A complex project because of the connection between the two materials MarsKeel Technology recently provided dissimilar metal combination keel for a 68-foot modern classic cruiser/racer working alongside a US-based designer Stephens and Waring Yacht Design and boat building company James Betts Enterprises. Posted on 3 Sep 2021
MarsKeel Guide to Keel Maintenance
To help you better understand potential keel concerns Keel maintenance is like any other maintenance on the boat; it is a matter of keeping an eye out for any tell-tale signs of water, corrosion or wear. If you can stay ahead of it, it is extremely unlikely that major maintenance concerns will arise. Posted on 26 Apr 2021
MarsKeel, where Quality meets Performane
Continuing to refine process and further reputation For over 40 years, MarsKeel Technology has offered our clients the highest quality keels as we continue to refine our process and further our reputation as an industry leader. Posted on 9 Mar 2021
Marskeel supplies ballast in all shapes and sizes
small ballasting additions of a few pounds to complete ballasting projects of a million pounds or mo Serving the commercial, naval, and private marine industries, MarsKeel can assist in projects ranging from small ballasting additions of a few pounds to complete ballasting projects of a million pounds or more. Posted on 6 Aug 2020
Introducing the new MarsKeel website
A major redesign in the company's 40th year MarsKeel is pleased to announce the launch of our new website. This was a major redesign for us and we wanted to focus on providing an enhanced digital experience for our customers. Posted on 22 Jul 2020