Yes, you can actually get gyroscopic stabilization for your entire boat. What the heck does this mean? A reduction in your boat’s rocking and rolling by 70 to 90 percent. Now, wait a sec – that sounds like utter nonsense, doesn’t it? You can’t stop a boat from rocking and rolling! Well, yes you can. I spent a day aboard a 35′ Contender with a Seakeeper gyroscopic stabilization unit mounted in the leaning post, and the experience was utterly mind-blowing. Check this out:
How the heck does it work? Inside the sealed Seakeeper, there’s a flywheel which spins in a vacuum. Since there’s no air friction it can spin thousands of RPM, and as it does so, it creates torque. Then, when the boat rocks, that torque is applied to keep it steady. Think of it this way: when you spin a top, as long as it’s spinning it stays upright. It doesn’t fall over until it slows down, and begins to wobble. But the gyro in the Seakeeper doesn’t slow down, so that same type of force is constantly generated to keep the boat level.
As crazy as it sounds, this stuff really works. In fact, the same sort of systems are used for spacecraft attitude control, and there are four of them aboard the International Space Station. Sure, it’s a little different on the water than it is up there in space, but while the boat still pitches up and down, it feels almost like the deck is levitating beneath your feet. Meanwhile, the side-to-side motion is nearly eliminated. That makes it easier to stand, walk around, or do just about anything aboard. On top of that, people who commonly get seasick will also find it quite a blessing.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: these things must cost an arm and a leg. Well… sort of. Each installation is more or less custom (unless you purchase a new boat with one already designed in; Scout, Contender, and several other boat-builders are now offering Seakeeper as an option), but the unit itself goes for about $30,000. Okay, so that’s not exactly chump-change. But just imagine if every day was a calm day, out there on the water… wow.