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Author Topic:   Whaler Introduces Shock Aborption System for Boats
jimh posted 02-26-2003 10:07 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
With all the attention focused on the 320-OUTRAGE, this development, introduced at the Miami Boat Show, appears to have been overlooked. Many thanks to Aaron Sacks for bringing it to my attention.

The Boston Whaler company has developed a shock absorption system for cushioning the impact of landing in large waves! The link to the press release will take you to all the information I have on this at the moment.


witsendfl posted 02-26-2003 10:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for witsendfl  Send Email to witsendfl     
For those of you who cannot read a PDF file go to [] and download the free PDF reader

witsendfl JimK

ShrimpBurrito posted 02-27-2003 12:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
That's very impressive. I wonder if they can design something smaller, like maybe an air bladder instead of pneumatic cylinders, for the 17-19 footers.
dgp posted 02-27-2003 03:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
How about a poor man's ADSS?
Lagged posted 02-27-2003 07:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for Lagged  Send Email to Lagged     
I would rather some more deadrise at the transome to soften the ride but I guess this is a good thing.
kglinz posted 02-27-2003 09:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
To offer this system Whaler must really have a lot of faith in the strengh of the boat.
hooter posted 02-27-2003 09:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for hooter    
This ought t'help Whaler sell more boats in France.
Bigshot posted 02-27-2003 09:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Can't wait till that malfunctions.
AllanR posted 02-27-2003 09:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for AllanR  Send Email to AllanR     
I saw the system in Miami on the 32 Outrage and also saw it at the display. I don't know. It seems like something that is a little overengineered. Something else that could go wrong and be very expensive to fix. I am just not sure the supposed benefits outweigh the complexity. I mean, if you are standing up in the boat, your legs are your shock absorbers anyway. I did talk to someone who brought the 32 down from Edgewater, and he said that it helped a lot as they ran the boat. I guess you would have to run it in a pretty good chop and then see if it worth it.
kingfish posted 02-27-2003 09:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Hooter, you're a rascal...
InHerNet posted 02-27-2003 11:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for InHerNet  Send Email to InHerNet     
What keeps the water out around the edges of the deck moving up and down?
baybug posted 02-27-2003 11:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for baybug  Send Email to baybug     

They may need something that aids in back support. I guess something happend to their spine...

DaveH posted 02-27-2003 01:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for DaveH  Send Email to DaveH     
My list of things I'd rather not see on a new Whaler:
Heated seats or "Bun warmers"
Tissue dispensers
A "place to put your purse"
Cappuccino maker
Gold plated hardware
Jimm posted 02-27-2003 01:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jimm    
Just something else to go wrong...K-I-S-S
jimithing posted 02-27-2003 02:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimithing  Send Email to jimithing     
sound like a very expensive option(even if standard your paying for it) and even more expensive if it stops working. Hey, but I hope I am wrong....A for effort. We would still be riding bikes if it wasn't for ingenuity and progress.
lhg posted 02-27-2003 02:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
To me, having a sprung floor would change the feel of boating. Why not just slow down a little? And we think we have crud problems under the floor deck of the old Outrages!!
I can see the rusted out, leaking shocks already. How do you wash down the deck and fish blood (isn't the 32 being billed as a fishing boat?) with a sprung floor? I can see the mess under it already.

And, I can just see myself pulling into Midas for the 50% off special on boat floor shocks.

This sounds like an automotive style improvement, ala computer controlled suspensions. Why does Brunswick/Sea Ray, and many others, insist on making boats in the image of cars and cocktail lounges?

Who will be the first to introduce a power sun roof in the tee top? When do we get anti-lock disc brakes on the trailer?

Who dreams up these crazy ideas? Just give me a good old fashioned boat. And leave the special suspensions to the autos.

Arch Autenreith posted 02-27-2003 02:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     
I wish I could remember who it was that was telling me (via email) about Birdsall Marine and their leaning post for the Montauk. He has since sold it and I think has an Outrage.

The gist of it was they (birdsall) had a 1 inch think floor mat that, combined with the leaning post made the Montauk a completely different boat. Took up a lot of the shock.

I don't know but to me when I go that route (leaning post )I will definitely do the same. Maybe the 320 option is a little overkill but the benefits seem to be on the right track.

Was it you, vdbgroup , that told me?

Bigshot posted 02-27-2003 02:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Power sunroof has been around for's called a bimini top.
kingfish posted 02-27-2003 03:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

I have one of those from Birdsall - well, I had one until it blew away on a high speed run - but I have another one ordered. I've got bad knees and that mat really made a difference. The next step would be the footcush that dgp talks about above.


InHerNet posted 02-27-2003 03:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for InHerNet  Send Email to InHerNet     
Bigshot, you are wrong about the spec.'s on that. The bimini is a manual sun shade. The only power is loss of power when up. :)
AC posted 02-27-2003 03:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for AC  Send Email to AC     
Maybe an anti-sway bar and air bags on your hull would change your philosophy regarding auto-type improvements? ;) Now that would be somethin'!
Bigshot posted 02-27-2003 03:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Sure would be something when that airbag pops and you are standing instead of sitting, talk about a headache.

Don...I thought about that "manual" issue after I hit send.

If you guys want antilock brakes on a boat, get a jet. Full forward to full reverse without letting off the throttle. That kind of negative G force might deploy an airbag....or your lunch.

lhg posted 02-27-2003 03:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
This whole thing reminds me of one of the better comments posted on this site over the years:

"Whalers don't ride hard, people just drive them too fast for conditions".

I like the simplicity of my un-sprung Classic Whaler floors!

Bigshot posted 02-27-2003 05:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Kinda reminds me of when I was a teenager...and older;) "Yeah honey, you sit up front on this cushion and face backwards. It is a softer ride up there!"
diveorfish posted 02-27-2003 05:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for diveorfish  Send Email to diveorfish     
If I read that correctly, it seems like only driver and maybe the person beside the driver benefits from this contraption. If that’s the case, there isn’t any shock absorption for the passengers and they are ones who usually get the beating because they are usually sitting down. At the risk of sounding like a classic guy :), this thing seems to fall under the “too weird for me” category.
roofer posted 02-27-2003 06:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for roofer  Send Email to roofer     
I think the idea of a softer ride is always more appealing all thing being equal. The execution of this idea to solve the problem seems like a bit of overkill, how much does this system add to the price of the boat?

However as with most things time will tell in 2-5 yrs we will have a very good sense of whether BW hit a homerun with an off the wall idea, or built a gimmick that went away.

caddis posted 02-27-2003 06:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for caddis  Send Email to caddis     
A little early, but there's got to be an April Fool's joke in this somewhere.

Why not just design/build a catamaran instead? After the Impact, that's certainly the next logical progression. Wait a minute- actually, I'd like to see that. You know, since we are talking about automobile type improvements, it could be Whaler's version of a "concept vehicle."

And ShrimpBurrito has a point. If they think the 32' pounds, why don't they come out with me on the 22' on a windy Door County (well, Lake Tahoe, now) day. Or better yet, the 13'.

Ye gods.

boxers posted 02-27-2003 10:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for boxers  Send Email to boxers     
Ditto to the CATAMARAN idea!!!!Boston Whaler seems to try alot of crazy ****. The answer is right in front of them! I have been asking BW dealers for the last 5 years when will they produce a twin hull design? The origonal 13 looks like a cat as do the Everglades models that were just introduced by the Edgewater Co.

Heck they have tried sail boats,jetboats, runabouts and now 30 footplus sportfishers with suspension systems. I wonder how many other folks would like to see a catamaran line offered?

jimh posted 02-27-2003 11:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I must say I am quite surprised at the reaction to this new technology. It seems almost universally negative.

Brunswick has plans to make all their boats "better" with more technology, yet this group seems to be saying they would prefer simplicity.

vdbgroup posted 02-27-2003 11:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for vdbgroup  Send Email to vdbgroup     
Arch, it was me.

I bought another one from Birdsall a few months ago as I forgot to stash my first one and donated it to the highway. I even use when its slick conditions, it feels like wearing some cushy flip flops.

Still have the Montuak with bench seat, the 18' OR w/ Lean Post built by Birdsall and

the 1961 HIN #2084 13'

ShrimpBurrito posted 02-28-2003 12:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
It may not be something many of us would want for our own boats, but I think it's a very innovative and unique idea. People whose knees are weak from surgery or have pain from arthritis, etc., may find this option very attactive, and allow them to boat longer.
DaveH posted 02-28-2003 09:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for DaveH  Send Email to DaveH     
Capt. Ahab didn't need it (ADSS). He is the original classic Whaler. Therefore, I don't need it either.
Arch Autenreith posted 02-28-2003 09:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     
Thanks, vdbgroup. I thought it was you. Again, I was being too lazy to search to make sure. And I'll be a-gettin' one of those mats for sure. Do you use it on your Outrage? (This spelling everything out is getting to me.)

John and vdbgroup: the 1 inch thick Birdsall mat is palatable but do you think the 1 1/2 inch Footcush might start to become a nuisance stepping 'up' and 'down' to/from it?

Arch Autenreith posted 02-28-2003 09:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     
Forgot to say also that many of us already wear shoes or the like vs. bare feet when in the Whaler to soften the shock. Sometimes I even wear tennis shoes (our generic term in these neck of the woods) b/c of the added sole thickness vs. the traditional boat shoe. Be honest now. Some of you do also.

Almost any shock absorbtion system is a plus to me. Especially if there is one that is level with the deck.

kingfish posted 02-28-2003 10:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

A lot of pros and cons both ways for me. The Birdsall mat really does make a difference for me on a long day in chop with my arthritic knees, and I can roll it up and stow it in a cooler or in the console. I don't know if the Footcush is that rollable or not. The Birdsall mat can blow away, because it is not anchored to the deck. The Footcush is snapped to the deck, but that means that there are snap studs left underfoot when the pad is not there. I'm not sure if the extra thickness of the Footcush would be a problem or an advantage. (I'm the guy that didn't like the idea of a septic system and flushing toilet at our camp in Canada until I put it in and used it, so maybe I'm not a good source.)


BMR posted 02-28-2003 11:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for BMR    
I guess you would like to still be driving a model T Ford and reading by candel light and getting your news from the town square. By the way, this thing we all enjoy to share our thoughts is called the internet. With out innovation like this and others, we would still be digging holes in the wood to take a you know what!

Just my 2 cents worth.

DaveH posted 02-28-2003 12:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for DaveH  Send Email to DaveH     
Just trying to be amusing. I am all for innovation; but not at the potential high cost with diminishing returns. I am truly amazed at the needless expense of development manpower for something no one really asked for.

I understand that boats will sometimes ride rough and it may take a little out of your knees. I just cannot envision anyone purchasing this as an option if the operational description in the hyperlink above is correct.

I would guess that the cost for the ADSS option on the Outrage 320 would be $5K-$8K or more. Would you buy it for a heavy 32 foot boat which should ride fairly smooth to begin with? If not, at what price point would you feel it was worth purchasing?

Most spartan fishing machine center consoles are form created by function. This ADSS adds no value to the function. I'd rather spend the money on engine upgrades.

Arch Autenreith posted 02-28-2003 01:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     
Good points, Dave.

I would think that's why it's an option. I'm not trying to be a smart-a**. You're just stating your preferences. And you're right again wherein price will have an influence also.

I can't believe I'm saying this but I've never ridden in anything powered but my Montauk outside Pittsburgh’s 3 rivers. However, with all the reading I do my impression is that there will always be a compromise with ANY boat.

Even in the 32 foot range, and indeed at any length, if it’s going to be used for fishing, stability at rest would suffer the further towards deep-V you move. Therefore, anything less than (29-degree @ transom?) the less it will cut through the waves and pound more. And just because a boat is designed for ‘whatever’ you’ll always want to go faster. Other than a houseboat or trawler I guess.

With an ADSS system one could move towards a more efficient planning hull without so much of the harder rides associated, at lest for the pilot and co-pilot.

And it’s not so bad for the passengers as they don’t sit or stand forward but aft where it’s a softer ride.

Just me thoughts.

lhg posted 02-28-2003 03:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
In response to Jimh's comment, I don't think any of us are against new technology, although the accusations have existed here for some time from the Post Classic people.

There is new technology and then there is new technology! Some make it, and some do not. They are all not created equal. Just because it is new, doesn't mean it will fly. A company has to know where to invest it's R&D.
Like the Defiance, I think this is not where.

This sprung/shocked boat floor idea strikes me as ridiculous, but EFI on an outboard, or even supercharging a 4-stroke for acceleration, does not. Take Whaler Outrage construction lately. Is a conventional (old) Whaler 2 skin foam sandwich hull inferior to the triple lined boats now being made? I'm not sure the "new" technology is better than the old, given the energy use, weight, extra required HP, performance tradeoff, etc. Then there was the new "high tech" Defiance, with diesel exhaust improvements, etc. Look what happened to that new design. In all fairness to Whaler, this floor idea is evidently not theirs, but from a supplier. Perhaps some slippery salesman talked them into demonstrating it. Let's see if the other manufacturers run with it.

Just look at West Marine catalog if you want to see new boating technology. Some is very interesting and improved, but much are just gimmicks and ridiculous ideas that would clutter up your boat.

PMUCCIOLO posted 02-28-2003 04:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for PMUCCIOLO    
Where is the bubble podometer?

lhg, I agree with your statements entirely. Keeping it simple is the way to go!


James posted 02-28-2003 07:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for James  Send Email to James     
I remember the early Cigarette boats having shock-absorption on their seats to soften the ride. So the idea of shock-absorption devices is not really new. Like some here, I feel that the saltwater environment and the pounding that an offshore hull takes will eventually wear out any poorly designed moving parts. Salt, fish guts and loose bait will find their way into anything. And keeping it simple is always a good, reliable idea. I do not know if this system is up to the rigors of the ocean. But apparently BW does. They must know what they are doing because they have already sold out all 2003 and part of the 2004 320 Outrage production.

Contender has a reputation for being among the better offshore running boats today. They reduce their pounding with a steep 24.5 degree V-hull. Maybe not the most stable thing at rest in the world, but great for offshore running in the rougher stuff. The 320 Outrage hull design does not appear to be as sharp. BW may be trying to circumvent any apparent hull design shortcomings with this feature. And if you have the financial resources to purchase a 320, then whatever the added cost of this feature may not be a significant issue.


lhg posted 02-28-2003 07:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Well, maybe I have been too hard on Whaler.

I did occur to me that maybe this idea is for boats larger than 30', whereas most of us are coming from the point of view of 28' and less.

For the bigger Sea Rays & Whalers, maybe it makes some sense. The marketplace will ultimately decide, and prove us right or wrong.

frostbite posted 03-01-2003 04:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for frostbite  Send Email to frostbite     
I believe that the controlled deceleration of the air ride system will make for a considerably more comfortable ride for the helmsman.
The technology involved should be fairly simple and proven. For example, over the road semi-trucks have used air ride suspension and seats for decades. The system used to keep crud from under the platform may be a problem, but I would guess BW has thought of that.
Moving parts, the need to keep the air lubricated and dry, and squeaking will be maintenance problems, but when the system fails, there will not be a life threatening situation.
Increased deadrise for smoothing the ride requires more horsepower at speed and is less stable at rest.
Would I buy it? Moot point, but I would like to have a ride.

Shadowcatcher posted 03-03-2003 11:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for Shadowcatcher  Send Email to Shadowcatcher     
I'm all for it as an option, and, it won't be cheap. This looks like something that might appeal to some the old whaler market of well-heeled buyers. If options make someone buy a Whaler instead of something else, it's good for all of us.


BillB posted 03-03-2003 01:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for BillB  Send Email to BillB     
Hey, Does anybody remember the Float-N-Ride seats on the Yellow Jacket runabouts of the 50's ? The seats sat on what amounted to a laminated wood buckboard springs.

With no real damping it was a VERY interesting ride to say the least.

What's old is new again.


logjamslam posted 03-03-2003 01:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for logjamslam  Send Email to logjamslam     
For a fishing boat forget it.
For government agencies, military, EMS, water cops, maybe.
If fully utilized and needed looks like stress cracks looking for a place to happen for the rest of the boat.
etstmeb posted 03-03-2003 09:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for etstmeb  Send Email to etstmeb     
I have the custom interlocking foam blocks under my feet in an '89 Outrage...smooooooth ride. Because they're custom cut--they don't fly away and they cost about $1.50 a piece.


cvye posted 03-04-2003 03:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for cvye  Send Email to cvye     
Seems like a kluge for a bad hull design...a new cat design seems obvious, but even more so would be a sled - taking the classic hull to a new level. In 6inch waves, my Montauk acts like a sled, so they're almost there..they just need to enlarge it for 2-4 foot seas.
where2 posted 03-06-2003 12:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
I figured this would show up some day... I'm glad I took a ride on the bucking hull display at the Miami show. The display bucks more than a real boat would, because a real boat is cushioned by real water. However, the concept in and of itself is a good idea.

For those who said that the passengers are the ones getting beaten to death. Let me ask: where are the passengers sitting on a 32' center console? They have to stand, and if the chop is up, they are going to stand behind you at the helm, holding on to the leaning post, which puts you on top of the active floor.

AllanR talked to the rep who ran the boat down, and I talked to that rep also. The day they ran the boat down, they were running in 3-4' in the atlantic. Anyone who can step off a boat after running it for 4 hours and say "that wasn't bad" has got some sort of good engineering. Most of us would have trouble standing up the next day, let alone standing at a trade booth all day!

vdbgroup posted 03-06-2003 10:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for vdbgroup  Send Email to vdbgroup     
Arch, the Birdsall mat works better w/o shoes. You never bottom out.

The footcush is made in my hometown. I have a friend who has one. When its wet, good luck staying on- It is slicker than owl @#$% on a wet limb.

The foot cush pad does not roll up. Go with Birdsall!

Arch Autenreith posted 03-07-2003 03:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     
Will do.

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