What are the benefits of an AVB system?
There are many benefits to using variable ballast, which you can read more about on our systems page, but the headlines are:
Reduced chance of injury from impact & vibration
Enhanced seakeeping in rougher conditions
Expanded craft operational envelope
How does it compare to trim tabs/gyroscopic stabilisation/hydrofoils?
There are some great stabilisation systems out there, and it may be that you would prefer one of them for your specific application. However (and we may be biased), we think that our system is one of the best on the market, for a few reasons. Firstly, our system has a primary focus on the reduction of vessel slamming, and therefore is as much a “shock mitigation” technology as it is a “vessel stabilisation” technology.
Secondly, we really do believe in simplicity of design wherever possible. Whilst the components of our system are rigorously designed and engineered, the idea of putting weight into the bow is not a new one. People have been using ballast in one form or another for hundreds if not thousands of years, and to this day it remains an incredibly effective solution.
There are no electric elements to corrode or malfunction, and none of the power draw that you would require for a gyroscopic stabilisation system. The weight of the system when empty can be minimal, and there are none of the risks associated with external appendages to the craft.
At the end of the day, it depends on your intended use- if your main interest is vessel stability at rest for while you’re fishing/sunbathing, and you have the budget to do so, we would absolutely encourage you to look at a gyroscopic stabilisation system. If you’re planning on getting out into some rough seas or travel at high speeds, give us a call to talk about how a variable ballast system would help.
Can’t I just move some passengers to sit at the bow instead?
It depends on how much you like your passengers- but we seriously wouldn’t recommend it!
Yes, we know that using “live ballast” has been a common practice for many years, but even aside from the danger of going overboard, there is extensive evidence of the damage caused by the transfer of shock into the passenger’s spine. There really is no excuse for putting your passengers at such risk.
Do I need an AVB system if I have suspension seats, and vice versa?
They are not mutually exclusive technologies, so probably! Our system is actually highly complementary to the use of suspension seating- by reducing the impact suffered by the vessel itself, the seats have less shock and vibration to mitigate. This means that the seats are less likely to “bottom out” and injure the occupants due to excessive slamming.
A ballast system becomes even more relevant for craft with high numbers of intended passengers, such as thrill/adventure rides or military support craft- less slamming means a lower requirement from your suspension seating, which could be significant cost saving.
Even if your boat has a ballast system fitted, we would always encourage you to install suspension seating sufficient for your intended crew load and application.
Will the extra weight slow me down or affect my fuel efficiency?
When used in the rough conditions that it is intended for, the system will actually improve your speed- this is because normally the helm will voluntarily reduce speed, as the boat is unable to handle the conditions. Our AVB system enables the helm to maintain speed in seas where they would otherwise have to slow right down.
The feedback that we consistently receive from crews is that the difference in calmer seas is either net zero, or negligible. Any speed lost from carrying extra weight, is gained from improved handling and angle of attack against waves. There’s a reason that our system was so popular with offshore racers!
How much ballast would I need?
There are a lot of variables, such as size, engine weight, passenger capacity, and application- an 8m search and rescue craft will have very different requirements to a 12m+ passenger adventure RIB. Due to the leverage gained from the tanks’ position at the bow even a small tank will be of benefit, but we will always aim to work with your design team to determine the optimum tank size for your specific craft.
How quickly does the bow tank fill?
It depends greatly on the speed at which you’re travelling and some of the design factors of your bespoke system configuration, but a good rule of thumb is that at 35kts a 300L tank will fill in about 30 seconds. The system drains using gravity, which will take a couple of minutes.
How much does an AVB system cost?
As frustrating as we know this answer is, it depends. The semi-bespoke nature of the system makes it impossible to give a single standard price, but if you speak to us about your requirements we will always endeavour to give you a ballpark figure to assist with planning your project.
If AVB systems are that good, why doesn’t everyone have one already?
The marine industry saw the same resistance to the introduction of suspension seats- neither boat manufacturers nor operators wanted to use them, as “they had always been fine without”, and it was “the way things had always been done”. Fortunately, attitudes have since changed, and the vast majority now accept that protecting passengers and crew from impact is a good idea. We believe that in the future, AVB systems such as ours will be as ubiquitous on fast craft as suspension seating is today.
What type of tanks do you use? Can I build my own?
We offer an array of bespoke tank options, including aluminium, HDPE, or fabric bladder tanks. We recognise that in some cases, it may be more practical for a customer to build their own tank if they wish to do so, for example if the cost of international shipping outweighs the cost of the tank. In those instances, we are more than happy to work with our clients in achieving the best result for their specific requirements, and will offer guidance throughout the process. Unfortunately we cannot accept liability for tanks that we have not provided as part of our system.
The boats we build are perfect/stable/balanced- why do we need an AVB system?
We believe that there’s no such thing as a “perfect” boat, only the right boat for the job at hand. You could build a boat that is perfectly suited for high speeds in calm seas, or you could build a heavy-duty boat that is slower but more stable in choppy conditions. Our system exists to help bridge that gap.