Archive | Hydraulics

Performing a Major Overhaul on NAIAD Stabilizer System

Continuing the work on the 135’ Broward, we have moved on to work on the NAIAD stabilizer system. While NAIAD does not specify an exact interval for performing a major overhaul, it does recommend replacing the lower seals every three years or 4,000 operating hours. Interim service and maintenance should be performed annually but a major overhaul is highly recommended anytime you find water in the grease beyond the outer shaft seals or signs of grease oozing from the inner seals around the shaft.  Once salt water compromises the grease the bearings will start to deteriorate and the grease needs to be replaced

For this project the customer wanted the major overhaul which encompasses removing the fins from the boat, removing the top plate, tiller arm, hoses and shaft. Taking apart the cylinders, inspecting the potentiometer. Basically, the entire system is removed and stripped down.

The upper and roller bearings are installed on the shaft. So when the shaft is removed the roller bearings stay with it. The roller bearings are cut off the shaft in our machine shop, Straight Line Marine. Next the shaft is polished in a lathe and inspected for corrosion or scarring in the lip seal area   . If we do find corrosion, we will clad the corroded area. In this case, we did find corrosion. Once the work on the shaft was complete, we installed new bearings using heat to avoid scoring the shaft.

Cladding shaft

Once the vessel is launched, we will bring up the electronic side of the system and test or reset the potentiometers. It is usually not until this late stage in the project that we can determine if the potentiometers need to be replaced. Once we completed all the steps for this major overhaul, we reassembled the unit and re-installed it back in the boat. The hydraulic stabilizer system on this Broward yacht is good as new and ready to take the captain and crew on more adventures and smooth sailing.

For more information on performing major overhauls on hydraulic stabilizer systems, check out our technical article on the process.

Manually Raising a Hydraulic Swim Platform After a Failure


Platform submerged

Our hydraulics team at High Seas Hydraulics was recently called out to help the captain of a 95 foot Technema yacht docked behind a private residence with a problem with the ship’s hydraulic swim platform. The hydraulic swim platform was stuck in the down position below the water line and leaking hydraulic fluids into the water. Before the team started to work on raising and securing the hydraulic swim platform, they needed to contain the leaking hydraulic fluids.  Upon arriving on site, they quickly deployed a special containment boom and secured it to the transom of the boat. They also used absorbent pads to filter the hydraulic fluids that had already leaked into the water. Once the boom was secured, the work could commence to start to raise the hydraulic swim platform so that the yacht could be moved to a yard for repair.

For this job, we hired professional divers to deploy air bags under the platform to raise it enough to use a pulley and ratchet system to hoist the hydraulic swim platform back onto the the locking hooks on the transom of the boat where it would normally rest. We first needed to

Divers with air bags

secure the hydraulic swim platform with straps that we could attach to the ratchet system in order to help raise it after the air bags
were inflated.

Once the hydraulic swim platform was raised a couple of inches with the air bags, we disconnected the hydraulic hoses on the inboard side of the unit to alleviate back pressure to help stem the flow of any additional hydraulic fluid into the water.  Relieving the back pressure also allowed the hydraulic cylinders to move more freely in order to raise the hydraulic swim platform. After the hydraulic swim platform was aligned and snug to the boat, it was further secured with straps and the locking hooks for its journey to the boat yard.

Platform secured to transom

One of the primary reasons for a failure of this type is wear and tear and prolonged exposure to sea water of the hydraulic cylinders and hoses that are located on the outboard side of the yacht. To avoid this type of problem, it is a good idea to inspect the hydraulic cylinders and hoses every time the boat is hauled and refurbish or replace them at the first sign of wear on the components. Spending a little time and money to keep the parts of the hydraulic swim platform that are exposed to sea water in top operating condition can ultimately save you big money in the future, not to mention potential fines and citations should your vessel leak hydraulic fluids into the waterways. While this type of failure is not prevalent, the day after we performed this job we were called out to perform the exact same thing on a 64 foot Azimut.

Refurbishing a Hydraulic Steering System on a 135 foot Broward Yacht


As part of the refit of the 135 foot Broward, the new owner wanted a complete overhaul done on the hydraulic steering system. We started by removing the steering cylinders for tear down and reseal before sending them out to be painted.

We next disassembled and removed the hydraulic power unit (HPU). The HPU consists mainly of a pair of motors, a reservoir tank and a hydraulic pump. These units can generate a tremendous amount of power to drive most any kind of hydraulic ram. Hydraulic Power Units are based on Pascal’s law of physics, drawing their power from ratios of area and pressure. In this case, the HPU takes the commands from the helm to push the hydraulic rods in the right direction to steer the yacht. A failure of the hydraulic steering system at sea or just about anywhere could prove to be catastrophic.

Once the unit was out of the boat, we cleaned the tank, check the values, sent the electronic motors out for testing and tested all of the pumps to ensure they were in good working order. We also made all new hoses for the unit in our hydraulics shop.

Once all parts were examined for quality control purposes, we reassemble the HPU and installed it back in the boat. A completely refurbished hydraulic steering system to like-new specifications will help to provide peace of mind that this yacht and her crew can safely navigate through any waters.





Whether you need hydraulic repairs, running gear work or shafts straightened – High Seas Family of Companies is here to serve

It’s not unusual for mega yachts to haul out at Lauderdale Marine Center requiring extensive work on multiple parts of the boat. That was the case for a 135 foot Broward yacht when she came into the yard. The Captain of the yacht approached High Seas with a laundry list of requirements that included hydraulics and running gear jobs. High Seas is unique in the sense that we have the expertise to work on both areas, providing a central point of contact that can help to design the most efficient work flow through coordinated schedules.

For this yacht, we were hired to:

  • Perform a full NAIAD 505 service with shafts out and new bearings
  • Do a full rebuild on the Hydraulic Steering System including removing the HPU and replacing hoses
  • Reinstall PTOs on new generators with new hoses
  • Refurbish the steering cylinders
  • Remove rudders for a bearing inspection and repack stuffing boxes
  • Remove shafts for new bearings, packing and alignment
  • Complete removal and rebuild of Maxwell 11000 windlasses

In coming posts, we will walk through the steps we took to make this yacht ship shape again.

Stabilizer shaft cladding to repair corrosion found during 10 year service process

A 130 foot Westport Yacht was recently hauled at Lauderdale Marine Center for routine service and maintenance. While in the yard, High Seas Hydraulics was contracted to overhaul the stabilizers and perform a standard 10 year service process on them.

Stabilizer shaft cladding

Once the stabilizers were removed, we found that the stabilizer shafts were corroded to the point that we needed to call on our machine shop, Straight Line Marine, to perform a process called shaft weld-overs, also known as cladding (or incorrectly “metalizing”). Shaft weld-overs or cladding is the process of repairing a worn or damaged area on a shaft.   Stainless steel shafts can be damaged by excessive wear in contact areas, such as bearings or seals, due to long life or misalignment. Shafts can also be damaged from crevice corrosion or stray current corrosion.

Typically, if the wear is smooth and less than 0.010″ deep it is acceptable. Any crevice corrosion, stray current corrosion or wear in a lip seal area must also be repaired since lip-seals such as Naiad or Tides Seals need a smooth surface to maintain water tight integrity.

Stabilizer shaft on lathe

When repairing a shaft, it must be placed in a lathe and have the damaged area turned down to remove the damaged area.  Never more than 0.125″. The area is built back up using semi-automatic MIG welding while slowly turning in the lathe. After cooling, the shaft is turned back down to close to the original shaft diameter.

Expert weld-overs cannot be detected by eye or feel once complete.

Finished product

Maintaining your stabilizer systems – what to look for before they fail!

A 100 foot Marlow yacht was recently hauled at Lauderdale Marine Center for routine maintenance that included her running gear, hydraulics, topside paint and other services. The captain turned to High Seas Yacht Hydraulics for the ship’s hydraulics inspections on her stabilizer and our sister company, High Seas Yacht Service for her running gear.

marlow v2The boat had a Naiad stabilizer and hydraulic system. During our inspection of the stabilizers, we found evidence of grease passing through the inner seal housing. This is a maintenance requirement that should be performed every 2-3 years or sooner based on the grease pushing past the inner seals. That is a sign of the outer seals failing and allowing water to pass through into the bearing housing. Typically, this is due to normal operation, wear and tear, but can be the result of inferior seals that were used when the technician is not properly trained in the servicing of these stabilizers. 

To remedy the situation, you must first hydraulically remove the fins, top plate assemblies, upper and lower seal housings and actuators. The next step is to clean and inspect all bearings and races, replacing bearings if needed. The actuators would then need to be reassembled, pack seal housings with grease and install upper and lower seal housings. Finally, we re-install the fins, top plate assemblies and set fin indicators (potentiometers) to the proper level. 

Generally, hydraulic systems should be inspected before any significant trip. Service, oil and filter changes should be completed at least every 2-3 years. Hydraulic oil breaks down even when the boat is sitting idle and not being used often. As far as major service goes, we feel that depends on operating pressure and temperature readings while the systems are engaged. Also another indicator of a potential problem is when filters are changed and debris is found in them.  This could be a sign of pumps possibly starting to fail. 

 It is vital to follow your manufacturer’s recommended service intervals and use quality parts and trained technicians to service these highly-used and valued pieces of equipment. 




Fabricating new hydraulic rods for Quantum Stabilizer cylinders

Fine Scores In Rods

Fine Scores In Rods

A customer walked into High Seas Hydraulics with three leaking Quantum Stabilizer cylinders from a 150 foot Trinity motor yacht. Upon close inspection, it was determined that there were fine scores or scratches in the hydraulic rods that were causing the fluid to bypass the seals. These scratches could not be repaired or polished out so new hydraulic rods would need to be installed.

Raw material for rods

Raw material for rods

That is when our hydraulic teams turned to our sister company, machine shop Straight Line Marine. Through our procurement department at High Seas, we were able to source raw materials to fabricate new hydraulic rods within a day.

The Straight Line Marine machinist went to work and crafted new rods to exact specifications including intricate thread machining.

Finished rod

Finished rod

The ability to bring the stabilizer cylinders back to top working order with new hydraulic rods fabricated on-site in our machine shop saved this motor yacht’s owner and captain both time and money and was completed from a one-stop company.

Re-fitting Transom Door Hydraulic Cylinders

Transom Door Hydraulic Cylinders

Transom Door Hydraulic Cylinders

Our Hydraulics team from High Seas Hydraulics was recently hired by the captain of a 150 foot Palmer Johnson that was at Lauderdale Marine Center for maintenance to work on its hydraulic transom door. The hydraulic cylinders were leaking and the placement of some of the hydraulic lines were causing them pinch during routine operation.

We removed and reconditioned the cylinders, replacing the seals. We specialize in re-building and stress testing custom hydraulic cylinders with the help of our machine shop, Straight Line Marine. We also fabricated new hydraulic hoses for this project and transom door 1upon installation re-routed many of them to alleviate the pinching problems. We have the ability to make hydraulic hoses in-house, on-site at Lauderdale Marine center up to 1-1/4 inches in diameter and stock common hoses and fittings.

This particular vessel is a repeat customer for us, having worked on many other hydraulic systems for the boat. When you deliver quality work and focus on providing good customer service, the clients keep coming back.


Team Work Makes Short Order of this Job

Hydraulic boarding ladder

Hydraulic boarding ladder

A 156′ Custom Motor Yacht was hauled at Lauderdale Marine Center for a new paint job and other routine maintenance. As part of the painting process, the hydraulic side boarding ladder was removed by our Hydraulics team at High Seas Hydraulics for disassembly in order to paint the parts. The mechanical project was fairly straight forward. We made new pins and bushings in our machine shop, Straight Line Marine to replace some that were corroded in place and to provide for smoother operations of the ladder.

Forklift to carefully position ladder for installation

Forklift to carefully position ladder for installation

The tricky part of the job was getting the ladder on and off of a boat of this size with the vessel blocked in the yard and surrounded by scaffolding. Careful use of a forklift and skilled technicians not only on the part of our hydraulics team but also from our High Seas Yacht Service running gear team made the job a success.

Our on-site services ranging from hydraulics work, machine shop capabilities and skilled technicians from all three of our companies define team work in getting the “big” jobs done right.


High Seas’ Straight Line Marine Featured in Professional BoatBuilder Magazine

Professional Boatbuilders cover_Page_1High Seas Hydraulics sister company, Straight Line Marine, was featured in a cover story in the January/February issue of Professional BoatBuilder Magazine. The article titled “The Necessity of Straight” provides an in-depth look at the art of shaft alignments. The author visited our facilities at Lauderdale Marine Center for a refresher course in the practice and precisions required to get running gear alignments right. The article also touches on our Hydraulics business and our capabilities. <Read More>