Sidmouth Lifeboat rescue RIB with ballast system


Our primary mission is to protect the passengers and crew onboard fast craft. The additional comfort, stability, performance, and versatility are simply added bonuses.


Professional operators of high-speed craft are regularly exposed to incredibly high levels of repeated shock. As the craft slams at high speeds or in rough seas, recurring shockwaves pummel all those onboard. These dangerously severe impacts not only cause acute injury, they also result in long-term chronic illness.

According to a recent study (Carpenter Et al. 2019) of military high-speed craft operators:

91% had sustained an injury onboard a high-speed boat.

70% had experienced impaired capacity to perform their job onboard due to impact exposure.

49% had experienced cognitive impairment onboard due to impact exposure

Passenger RIB boat impact slam waves

"This is more dangerous than most people believe."

CW05 (Ret) SWCC Ron Carpenter


Our system is unique in that it protect crews from impacts before they occur; we call this proactive shock-mitigation. 

It is an unfortunate reality that many vessels are not equipped with sufficient quality or quantity of suspension seating, for a variety of reasons. The Anti-shock Variable Ballast system is an extremely efficient means of protecting all passengers and crew, regardless of whether or not they are protected by suspension seating. Our system synergises with suspension seats by providing a baseline of blanket protection for all those onboard, whilst reducing the risk of seats bottoming out in the most severe impacts. 

Using the analogy of a car; where suspension seats are equivalent to seatbelts protecting individual passengers, our AVB system is comparable to the brakes, mitigating or preventing the crash itself.
Using a car as


There is no such thing as the "perfect" vessel design, suitable for all uses in all conditions. Lightweight craft may be faster and more fuel efficient, but struggle in rougher seas, just as heavier and more stable boats will be slower and need to regularly refuel. However, designers can achieve the best of both by incorporating an AVB system.

Operators can keep the system empty for optimised fuel efficiency, filling the tanks and taking on the seakeeping capabilities of a heavier craft only when necessary. As the tank is placed in the bow, only a relatively small amount of strategically positioned ballast is required to achieve significant gains in performance. This means that crews can then safely venture out into seas and conditions that would otherwise have been unsafe to do so, expanding the craft's operational envelope.


Exposure to repeated slamming is extremely detrimental to human performance- by reducing these shock loads, there is a corresponding increase in crew capabilities in harsh conditions. This is beneficial for all professional crews, but vital for military operators for whom split-second decision making and optimised physical performance are essential.

The benefits also extend to the craft itself; by giving the helm dynamic control of LCG, the entire vessel handling changes, and the helm is able to take a more aggressive angle of attack into head seas.


This in turn means that crews are no longer forced to reduce speed in rough seas to avoid painful impacts, and can instead drive to the full capabilities of the craft. It may seem counter-intuitive that taking on weight can provide net benefits to speed, but our system was so popular with offshore racers for a reason! 

Ballast system graph


This graph demonstrates the benefits of an AVB system on a search and rescue craft, as recorded in live sea trials, illustrating the greatly reduced levels of bow acceleration experienced by the craft when the tank is full. Not only does our system reduce the mean values of bow acceleration by half, it also reduces the highest levels of impact by approximately 70%.

This is significant because it is these severe impacts which are by far the most likely to cause significant injury. Impact severity increases exponentially; meaning that an 8g impact is not simply twice as bad as a 4g impact, it is far worse. 

This is one of the key differentiators of the AVB system; unlike trim tabs or gyroscopic stabilisers, our systems are designed to target and reduce the most severe impacts.