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>

Don’t Overlook your Hydraulic Steering System – Routine Maintenance is Imperative even if there is no sign of problems

We were recently contracted to perform routine maintenance or general service on the hydraulic steering system on a 121 foot Heesen yacht. It is recommended that this type of service be performed every 5 to 7 years to ensure the yacht continues to run at peak performance. A steering failure can be extremely inconvenient.

Hydraulic steering system tank

Hydraulic steering system tank

As part of the process, we drained and flushed the hydraulic tanks containing the steering fluid, removed and rebuilt the steering cylinders and replaced the old hoses with newly fabricated ones that were made on site in our shop.

Part of the general refit on this yacht included installing new hard hydraulic lines. To ensure that the lines were clean prior to filling the tanks with fresh hydraulic steering fluid, air is blown through the lines starting at the tank and ending where the hoses meet the cylinders.flushing the hydraulic lines v2

While the yacht was in for service, it also required work on the rudder system and for that we turned to our sister company High Seas Yacht Service. The technicians at Yacht Service removed the rudders and replaced the bearings and seals before re-installing the units.

Having a Hydraulic shop and experts in running gear under one roof, can often time save the owners, captains or engineers’ time and money.

Maxwell Windlass Rebuild

About every 10 years, it is a good idea to remove your windlass for a full rebuild.  Some windlasses get a full-time work-out while others sit idle and are rarely used.  Either way, time and salt water will take a toll.


A typical full rebuild includes full removal of the unit, sending the motor (electric or hydraulic) out for testing, draining the oil and splitting the gear case, replacing thrust bearings, seals and plastic plugs with O-rings, sending the parts out for powder coating or paint, test load checks and replace if needed, and replacing break springs and plungers.


Windlass before repair

Windlass before repair

Since the shaft driving the capstan and gypsy (or wildcat) sits vertically, it is inevitable that water gets through the deck seal and sits on top of the lip seal on the gear case.  This causes corrosion of the gear surface where the lip seal runs.  Corrosion on that surface eventually fails the seal and lets water in – gear oil out.  We see this on 50% of our rebuilds or more.  The two lip seals ride on the main gear’s top and bottom.


The remedy, order a new main gear from the supplier at a understandably high cost and long lead time or perform a machine shop repair.  In our machine shop, Straight Line Marine, we put the gear in a lathe and machine away the corroded area 1” down.  We then machine a 0.0125” thick ring out of stainless steel.   The ID of the ring is slightly undersized requiring heat for a fit.  Once fit, it is final machined to the original gear OD and blended in.  A new lip seal surface is fabricated out of stainless steel.

Windlass after machining and polishing

Windlass after machining and polishing


The cost of the repair is only a fraction of the new gear and we can get this done in a day – keeping on track with the schedule and launching the vessel on time.


When performing any kind of maintenance on your vessel’s hydraulic components, make sure the company you select has resources to tackle all of the little things that can arise during a project.


High Seas Hydraulics Adds Factory Trained and Certified on ABT•TRAC Systems to its List of Credentials

abtAt High Seas Hydraulics and High Seas Yacht Service, we take pride in the high level of service we provide our customers. One way to continue that tradition is to make sure our technicians receive the latest training on new and emerging marine systems.

We recently sent two of our hydraulics technicians to ABT•TRAC training in Rohnert Park, CA. ABT•TRAC is a leading manufacturer of world class yachting products. The Company specializes in stabilizers, bow and stern thrusters, and hydraulic systems.

During the training, our technicians honed their skills on re-building bow and stern thrusters, stabilizers and other hydraulic systems. Part of the training focused on installation and service for ABT•TRAC’s STAR and ReTrac systems. STAR is an option on all of ABT•TRAC’s stabilizers and provides vessels roll stabilization while at anchor or laying to. Introduced in 2013, ReTrac is the Company’s first retractable thruster.

After completion of the training and passing a comprehensive exam, our technicians are now Factory Trained and Certified to work on all types of ABT•TRAC systems. An added bonus of the training session, our technicians arrived back at our shop with comprehensive schematics for a number of hydraulic systems.

We firmly believe that to remain a trusted partner to our customers, we must remain on the cutting edge of technology.


High Seas Hydraulics Now Factory Trained and Certified on WESMAR Hydraulic Systems

wesmar logoOn August 25 and 26, we sent two of our Hydraulics technicians to Woodinville, WA, to attend WESMAR’s annual Sales and Technical Service Training Seminar. The seminar consisted of two days of intense classroom work along with time spent on the manufacturing floor assembling, testing and operating WESMAR’s stabilizer systems, bow and stern thrusters and hydraulic systems.

WESMAR is the inventor of the dual prop counter-rotating bow thruster and the electronic gyro powered roll fin stabilizers.

Wesmar training 2 At the end of the course, our technicians were awarded with a Certificateof Achievement for Successful Completion of the Mechanical Seminar on Installation, Maintenance and Operation of Bow Thrusters, Stabilizers, and Hydraulics. They are now Factory Certified to work on WESMAR Hydraulic Systems.

“This was one of the more comprehensive training classes I have attended,” commented Jeremy Short, High Seas Hydraulics Foreman. “Not only did we have the opportunity to learn in a classroom setting, but being able to actually breakdown and rebuild the stabilizers and thrusters gave me real world experience that I can bring back to my customers.

At High Seas Hydraulics, we believe that the investments we make in our people are investments we make for our customers. We will continue seek out new courses and certifications to help guarantee we can offer our clients the best service in the industry.