Panbo(at) gets Seakeeper Ride – install complete

Ben Stein

Ben Stein

Publisher of, passionate marine electronics enthusiast, 100-ton USCG master.

6 Responses

  1. John Midlige says:

    Considering what has gone on in your life recently the bottom paint should be the least of your concerns. Panbo(at) looks just dandy.
    Anyway, your excellent review is very interesting for a number of reasons.
    Obviously one wouldn’t go out in a condition that is unsafe for the size of the particular vessel. I’m sure Ride isn’t meant to allow an operator to abandon good judgment because it makes a ride smooth.
    Do you feel there is a point at which Ride is overwhelmed by the sea state and can’t keep with the demands? I’m thinking of a wind against current situation where the waves are very chaotic. Or is this where it shines?
    Does the rapid cycling of Ride present an issue for inspection and maintenance? In other words will this wear out and degrade in performance or need repair and if so how long into it’s life? What is the care and maintenance routine?

    It seems like Ride is a game changer for the smaller center console’s and now that they can be added to existing vessels it becomes a no brainer must have.

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:


      You bring up a good point about creating a false sense of security. First and foremost, regardless of the aids onboard, the operator is responsible for making sure they operate the boat safely. We’ve probably all heard the wisdom about the boat handling more than the occupants. I think of Ride as possibly closing the gap between the boat and the occupants. Also, I don’t really expect Ride to get overwhelmed by sea state. Rather, based on my admittedly very short ride, I expect there to be more events where, even with the benefit of Ride, the motion is uncomfortable. I felt that in the form of occasional impacts as the boat fell off a wave. They were smaller impacts and rare than with the system disabled, but I also think they serve as a warning.

      I don’t expect Ride to wear out per se. They use a massive motor and have tested it to some pretty extreme number of cycles. Most of the system is pretty well sealed. The only maintenance required is changing an anode on each of the controllers.

      I think Ride has the potential to be a game-changer. Certainly, I think the gyro changed the game for a lot of people. Ride comes at a fraction of the price and works on smaller, more affordable boats meaning its impact can be enjoyed by more people. I’ll reserve final judgment until I’ve had some more time on the water, but I’m optimistic.

      -Ben S.

  2. Keith says:

    Unlike Seakeeper, the Ride seems to only work when underway and is speed dependent such that at lower speeds or at anchor it will have little effect. the Seakeeper works at anchor or when drifting as is often the case when fishing.
    I also wonder how the glue will hold up with the prolonged stresses of speed as the torque on this must be enormous.

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:


      You’re right, Ride only works when the boat is moving and there’s enough water moving over the controllers for them to generate adequate force. The cut-in speed of the system is set to 10 mph. You’re also right that the gyros are most effective at rest and get less effective as the boat moves faster. From a commercial perspective, that’s quite the match for Seakeeper. They have the gyros that work best when stationary and at lower speeds and then Ride that works best the faster the boat goes. In essence, they can (if you’re willing to write enough checks) improve the experience at all speeds on the boat.

      It’s much too early for me to report much on the longevity of the glue on Ride, but my gyro was also glued down on Have Another Day. The gyro had logged about 1,500 hours before the boat was lost. I had many witness marks and can report there was never any measurable movement. The shock forces the gyro was capable of delivering are massive. Based on what I know of the adhesives they use, I’m probably more concerned about the laminate of the transom failing than I am the adhesive on the controller.

      -Ben S.

      • Keith says:

        Good point. I have the Seakeeper 6 and I just checked with the installer about how it is bonded and it is as you say. I have been in plenty of small craft warning weather so I have given the Seakeeper a real “workout” and it is fine after about three years of use.

  3. Butch Davis says:

    The captain of a gyro equipped vessel would be well advised not to venture out in conditions that would be dangerous without a gyro. A gyro malfunction in dangerous conditions would make for a dangerous trip back to port. Regardless of how reliable a gyro system may be an electrical malfunction is always a possibility.

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