Can Boat Stabilizers Be Dangerous?

Can Boat Stabilizers Be Dangerous?

Since they are a big investment for a yacht, customers wish to be fully informed of any issues with boat stabilizers. There is one large risk that needs to be addressed, because it is often the most publicized: yachts sinking due to damage to the stabilizer. Fortunately, like other boat stabilizer issues in Fort Lauderdale, FL, this can be prevented with proper installation and precautions. Here is a discussion on the sinking risk and how you can prevent it.

Sinking danger

Most boat stabilizers pose little sinking risk. Traditional hydraulic systems include a driveshaft on the outside of the boat with rotating fins. The stabilizer is installed in a hole at the bottom of the boat and contains the motor to the driveshaft.

Normally, this hole is well sealed and water does not come into the boat. However, encountering debris or hitting a rock damages the driveshaft and unseals the hull. This lets the water in, and even the best-equipped boats can sink under these circumstances. Sometimes, heavy hydraulic equipment is not designed to handle hull damage, and when it is also damaged, it tends to take most of the surrounding hull with it.

If the damage occurs under the surface, that can cause the driveshaft to fall out of the boat. This leaves a giant gaping hole where the driveshaft was once installed, and the results are obvious: the yacht takes on water, and you and your passengers need a very quick Coast Guard rescue.

Fortunately, all of these scenarios are preventable if you install a quality stabilizer that is designed to be less vulnerable. While there is always an element of risk with ocean cruising, there are ways to reduce it.


Before you install a stabilizer, review its design. Goods designs either have parts break away without damaging the hull or isolate critical components from harsh conditions. Seakeeper stabilizers are self-contained and not at risk of suffering damage should you snag up with ocean debris or have another accident.

If you currently use a stabilizer that is not self-contained, have it inspected regularly. This can occur when you schedule an underwater hull cleaning appointment. Also, pay attention if you notice water coming up on the deck or find your stabilizer fails to work as well as it once did. Whenever you are in doubt, take your yacht back to the dock and schedule a repair or maintenance appointment.

However, since accidents may occur and nothing is 100 percent, you should also take steps to minimize any damage. Install clean systems that will not leak diesel or oil into the water. It is bad enough to need to abandon ship under bad developments, but you might as well avoid being exposed to toxins as well.

Starboard Yacht Group LLC is aware of the issues with boat stabilizers in Fort Lauderdale, FL and how to prevent them. Never let these boat stabilizer issues scare you from purchasing a Seakeeper stabilizer, as we will install it safely and help you avoid issues that could lead to your boat sinking. Contact us today to learn more and order your boat stabilizer.