Anglers have the same basic problem all other boaters face: rocking and rolling in big waves is down-right uncomfortable. But waves can be even more of a challenge when fishing than with other forms of boating, since your hands are occupied with rods and reels instead of grab rails. So, just how big a difference can gyroscopic stabilization make? To find out, we went fishing aboard a Seakeeper-equipped Viking 62 with one experienced angler (our Senior Editor and resident fish-head Lenny Rudow), and one boater who hadn’t held a fishing rod in decades (Managing Editor, John Burnham). Tune in, and see the results.
As evidenced both by our inclinometer and the view of the horizon on-camera, the Seakeeper makes a huge difference in how much rocking and rolling a boat does. And yes, having a more stable platform absolutely does make it easier to fish. It makes it safer, too, since there’s a much lower chance of people stumbling or falling. And when there are hooks swinging through the air and fish flopping on the deck, again, a more stable platform is going to be a safer one as well.
So, just exactly how can a device the size of a generator make such a big difference in the motion of the ocean, while standing on the deck of a 62’ sportfish? The Seakeeper mounted in that boat spins a flywheel in a vacuum, to create torque. That torque is then applied to the boat’s structure, counteracting the natural side-to-side motion created by waves. The system is technically called a “Control Moment Gyroscope,” and it’s the same technology used in some spacecraft attitude control systems. To learn more details on exactly how a Seakeeper keeps a boat from rocking and rolling, check out How Seakeeper Works: Gyroscopic Stabilization for Boats.
There’s another big factor mentioned briefly in the video, which warrants further examination. Seasickness. Since the first boating caveman climbed atop a log and started paddling, motion sickness has been a problem. It can ruin an otherwise great day on the water, and for plenty of people, makes boating and fishing from a boat more or less impossible. Sure, there are ways to fight seasickness (read Feeling Funky? 5 Secret Ways to Stop Being Seasick for a few hints), but different people experience different levels of success with each treatment. And some find that nothing helps their queasy stomach. Now, consider fishing aboard the Seakeeper-equipped Viking. With 90-percent less rocking and rolling, there’s no doubt that a huge number of seasickness-sufferers could step aboard and enjoy a day of fishing without getting green around the gills. Just think of how many moms, dads, friends, and brother-in-laws would have a completely different outlook at the prospect of spending a day fishing—not to mention how much less (ahem) clean-up there is for you captains at the end of the day, after landlubbers have come along for the ride.
The bottom line? Our day of fishing aboard a boat with Seakeeper gyroscopic stabilization was a real eye-opener. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend outfitting your boat with one of these units (which is a lot simpler than you might think; read Seakeeper Refit Alternatives to learn more about the options and different installation possibilities,) and other than the cost of purchasing and installing a unit, we can’t find any real down-side to fishing from a Seakeeper-equipped boat. Heck, we might even guess that anglers working from the deck of a stabilized boat can do things like rig baits and tie leaders faster and more easily. That would mean your boat isn’t just safer and more comfortable with gyroscopic stabilization aboard—it’s a more effective fishing machine, too.
For more information, visit Seakeeper.
Editor’s note: Promotional consideration for this article was paid by Seakeeper.