By George Otto ~ January 21st, 2014. Filed under: Current Issue.
EXTRA! Interview Q&A — Andrew Semprevivo, Seakeeper Director of Global Sales, Recreational
Seakeeper’s director of global sales
shares why the gyrostabilizer
aids boats of all sizes.
Andrew Semprevivo explains what sets Seakeeper apart from the competition and how it is positively impacting the marine industry.
By Christine Carpenter
SB: What exactly is Seakeeper and why is it important in the marine industry?
AS: Seakeeper manufactures actively controlled gyroscopic stabilization systems that reduce resonant boat roll by up to 95% to mitigate seasickness. Our internally mounted gyros counteract wave and water motion to stabilize a boat when it’s underway, resting at zero speed or at anchor. Revolutionary advanced aerospace and automotive technologies are used, but the concept is basic: spin a flywheel at high speed inside a vacuum chamber to generate powerful righting force. Seakeeper gyros can be refit into an existing vessel or incorporated into a new build, with flexible installation options. Even though Seakeeper gyros produce many tons of powerful righting force, our units are compact, lightweight, quiet, and draw little power. We currently have 3 gyro models, suited for boats as small as 35′ and up to 200′ or larger yachts when installed in multiples.
SB: What sets Seakeeper apart from other competitors in the field? How has it accomplished this and how do you feel it can/will continue to do so?
AS: There are two competitive products—stabilizing fins and other gyros. Seakeeper gyros are installed within the hull to eliminate drag-producing, damage-prone, external appendages that accompany fins. Our gyros don’t require centerline mounting, draw far less power than fin systems, and are very quiet. They are effective in any sea condition at any speed, and can be mounted virtually anywhere on board. A passive gyro system must be turned off in the roughest sea conditions to keep it from damaging itself, but Seakeeper gyros continue to operate when most needed. Compared to other gyros, ours offer the lowest power consumption and weight, with the smallest footprint on a per angular momentum basis. We are dedicated to constantly evolve our gyro’s designs and advantages by scaling the technology to best accommodate larger and smaller vessels, and creating maximum righting force for specific applications in as small a package as possible.
SB: When was Seakeeper developed and how has the company grown over the years?
AS: The first Seakeeper gyro hit the market in 2008. The first year of business was dedicated to an exclusive supply agreement with Azimut. Seakeeper gyros are now found on more than 120 boat brands with more then 1,300 installations on boats from 35′ to 250′ worldwide. Our gyros are used in recreational boating, commercial marine, and military vessel applications. We are headquartered in Maryland with a design, research and manufacturing facility located in Pennsylvania. We recently opened a sales, service and parts facility near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to better serve the many customers in this important boatbuilding and boatyard region—especially since the area dominates in refit activity for yachts bound for Mexico and the Caribbean.
SB: How has Seakeeper made a difference in the marine industry? I’d love to hear more about the involvement that has directly positively impacted boating enthusiasts’ marine experience.
AS: We know we’re making an enormous positive impact on the boating lifestyle by enabling people to better enjoy their time on their boats and yachts. The growing list of boat builders to offer Seakeeper gyros attests to its acceptance in the market. We hear from many customers about how the gyro changed their boating experience drastically and some of their stories say it best.
Before a Seakeeper gyro refit on the 1979 Hatteras Finders Keepers, a 59′ yacht owned by Tiana and Lt. Commander Scott Armstrong, Tiana said, “Our saloon looked like a scene from The Exorcist with everything moving around. After the Seakeepers were installed, a ‘magic carpet ride’ is a far more apt description. It allowed my 70-year-old mother-in-law to move about safely in conditions that would have prevented her from doing so before.”
SB: Has Seakeeper had any recognition or awards in the industry?
AS: In 2011, Seakeeper won the prestigious American Superyacht Forum Innovation Award. Just a few months ago, industry leaders named gyro stabilization technology one of the Top 10 Innovations in boating in the past 20 years.
SB: What attracted you to work for the marine industry? Can you tell me a few things that specifically ignite passion and excitement in working for Seakeeper?
AS: I grew up boating and working at boatyards. Boating is my passion and I’m lucky to have developed a career that taps into that. After college I worked for Viking Yachts, where I learned the importance of quality and customer service. I found those same key elements in place when I joined Seakeeper. Our gyro stabilization systems are a true innovation and it’s taken a lot of hard work from all of our team members to get us to where we’re at today. It’s been rewarding for all of us to see not only the company grow, but also the industry grow as a result of Seakeeper technology. It’s inspiring new boat designs and letting people enjoy the passion of being on the water without the hindrances of seasickness or the inconveniences of an unstable vessel.
SB: What is your company’s biggest accomplishment? What do you love most about what you do?
AS: We’re trying to push the envelope; create a new norm. As with any new technology, we constantly strive to evolve our products while keeping customer support and service our top priority. As a small, privately-owned company, we all share the passion of changing industry trends. Personally, I love being able to change people’s experience on the water. I enjoy working with boat builders, naval architects, captains, and owners around the world. Being involved with many types of boats—from superyachts to production models—and all the relationships that come with that, adds a well-rounded perspective to what we’re doing at Seakeeper.
SB: How involved in the boating and marine community are you personally? Do you own a boat yourself? If so, what is the name and what do you love the most about being a mariner?
AS: I own a 28′ Scout. If I am not working, I am on the water fishing or cruising with family and friends. I live in a small New Jersey waterfront community where nearly all residents own a boat and share my love for the water. My town had a rough year following hurricane Sandy but the marine community came together to help restore local marinas and clean debris from the bay and canals. Come boating season—just four months after the storm—we were all once again on the water and used boating as an escape from everything else we had to deal with in the aftermath of the storm.
SB: How might an interested customer go about getting Seakeeper for their vessel?
AS: The website seakeeper.com has a directory of its extensive worldwide network of dealers and servicing installers. Owners can also contact Seakeeper directly at 410-326-1590 or firstname.lastname@example.org.