By now you’ve probably heard of Seakeeper gyroscopic stabilization and how it works on a modern powerboat, but many of us love the boats we already have and don’t want to buy a new one purely to get stabilization. Lucky for us, we don’t have to. Though it may be a bit surprising, refitting a boat with Seakeeper long after the boat has been built is actually a fairly simple, straightforward process. It’s also significantly less expensive than you might think. Before we dig into the details, check out these different real-world Seakeeper refits, in a number of very different boats.
The biggest difference between installing a Seakeeper and installing other types of mechanical equipment, like generators and air conditioner compressors, is that where the unit gets mounted requires enough structural strength to transfer the torque of the gyro to the boat’s hull. But as it shows in the video, Seakeeper’s installers know how to modify stringers and bulkheads to ensure that they have that strength, even if the boat wasn’t built with gyrostabilization in mind. And making these modifications isn’t a huge endeavor; a week or two on dry land is all the time it takes.
Fortunately, there are a lot of options when it comes to finding a suitable place to mount a Seakeeper. The unit doesn’t have to be on the centerline, nor does it have to be all the way aft (though Seakeeper does recommend installing it aft of amidships). The deck opening used to get to the space doesn’t even have to be as large as the Seakeeper itself, since the unit can be disassembled, placed in the area, then reassembled. Nor does it have to be completely above or completely below deck level. And as you saw in the video, if there isn’t a space large enough for one large unit you can also utilize multiple smaller units instead of one big one. Torque is torque, and it doesn’t really matter how many different units of what size(s) create the force.
What about the price? On average, installing a Seakeeper will end up costing about five percent of the value of the boat. In many cases the install will be done by a mobile company like USA Yacht Stabilizers, which can travel to the yard where your boat has been pulled. Located in Florida, USA Yacht Stabilizers has over 60 years of experience in the marine industry and has been focused on refitting boats and yachts with Seakeeper units for over five years.
If you’re wondering if the end result is worth the money and time, remember that Seakeeper pegs the roll reduction at 70 to 90 percent. And when we performed on-water testing with several different vessels, including a 35’ Contender, a 62’ Viking, and a 34’ Gamefisherman, we found a reduction of about 90 percent in each boat. We also found that the unit was quiet, essentially vibration-free, and remained out of sight and out of mind. Except for the fact that the boats barely rolled, we’d never have known the Seakeepers were installed.
Is installing a Seakeeper on your boat the right move? That’s a question only you can answer. We can tell you, however, that doing the job takes less time and money than you might expect. And more importantly, once it’s complete the reduction in your boat’s side-to-side motion will almost certainly be beyond your expectations.
For more information, visit Seakeeper.
Editor’s note: Promotional consideration for this article was paid by Seakeeper.