Getting Rid Of Boat Vibrations

By Tux Turkel

When the Beach Boys crooned about good vibrations, they weren't talking about the constant, subtle shaking endured by boaters aboard most powerboats. The reassuring thrum of a big diesel may be pleasing to your ears, but the constant shaking of the deck, helm, and captain's chair wears on joints and contributes to fatigue. Fortunately, it's easy to outfit your boat with vibration-dampening gear that will help keep you from feeling totally worn out at the end of a long day on the water.

Anti-Fatigue Mats

If you stand at the helm frequently, the easiest fix is to purchase an anti-fatigue mat, usually gel-filled, or made of EVA, a closed-cell foam similar to what's found in flip-flops. Brands include Stream Machine, Sea Dek, Footcush, Sea Shock, and Aqua Shox. These can also be used in other places where you or your crew stand for long periods, such as the galley.

Wrap The Helm With EVA

If your helm features a bare stainless-steel wheel, it might pay to have it wrapped with EVA foam. You can find "wrap kits" in wind-surfing shops (or bike shops in a pinch) that will cover your wheel neatly, and provide a barrier to any vibrations being transmitted through the steering system. An added benefit for cold-weather boaters — you'll no longer be gripping cold metal.

Seat Suspension

There's also no reason to let your helm seat beat you up. You can upgrade your pedestal seats with a Seaspension pedestal (sold by Taco Marine) that features shock absorption. The Seaspension pedestal uses a system similar to the shock absorber in a car, allowing the seat to travel a few inches vertically in response to wave or boat motion. Garelick also makes a version that replaces only the seat base, and provides about an inch of cushioned travel. 

— Published: February/March 2015


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