How Does Seakeeper Work?

August 20, 2023
David Sunnyside

When the subject of boat stabilization comes up, most coastal anglers immediately envision Seakeeper. The company’s gyroscopic stabilizer is quiet, powerful, and compact enough to fit in the leaning post of an under-30-foot boat. But how does it work?

A Seakeeper is basically a large, fast-spinning gyroscope. When acted upon by side forces (like the roll of your boat), the rotor reacts just like the toy gyroscopes we all played with as kids: It precesses, or moves at right angles to the force, creating an immediate counter force that cancels out the original one.

To achieve 9,750 RPM—the speed of some models’ gyro rotors—Seakeeper engineers built a massive steel flywheel and then machined it to tolerances of 1/10,000th of an inch, rivaling the precision of companies that make parts for fighter jets and space shuttles. They then housed it in a vacuum-sealed gyro housing to eliminate air friction and reduce weight, power consumption, and heat generation.

The company’s patented cooling system dissipates the gyro’s heat using a combination of glycol and saltwater. The result is a compact new flywheel that weighs two-thirds less than conventional ones, spins at three times the speed, and draws only 55 amps at spool up—roughly the same amount as your stereo cranked up.

The whole unit is then mounted to a powder-coated, high-strength alloy cradle that’s fastened to the stringer grid of a vessel with a beefed-up laminate schedule to maintain longitudinal integrity. This cradle is then fastened to the boat’s hull with stainless-steel bolts tapped into brass plates encapsulated in a vacuum within the grid, which helps preserve the hull for longevity.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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