Both Zipwake and Seakeeper Ride are automated trim systems for powerboats that offer underway roll and pitch control with devices mounted on the transom in place of traditional trim tabs. Zipwake’s devices are called interceptors, while Seakeeper calls their transom-mounted devices “controllers,” which are similar in design, though technologically different, to the rotary interceptors first introduced to the marine industry by Naiad in 1996. While both systems aim to accomplish the same goal of helping the boat ride steadily in its most comfortable and efficient state by automatically reacting to changing conditions and generating lift on the transom, there are some significant differences between the two products.
Zipwake interceptors have been around for nearly a decade now, with the Series S product first launching 2014. The product line expanded in 2020 with the introduction of Series E interceptors intended for larger boats in the 40-100’ range, while Series S is made for boats in the 20-60’ range. The first Zipwake kit left the assembly-line in April 2015 and since then more than 45,000 systems have been delivered around the world and are in use on boats ranging from 16-feet to over 100-feet in length. To date, over 100 boatbuilders in North America are installing Zipwake systems on new builds.
Seakeeper as a company is better known for their gyro stabilizer, a much different product utilizing entirely different technology to stabilize a boat, which hit the open market in 2008. Seakeeper Ride has not been around as long, with the product launching in the summer of 2022. To date, they are being used by a dozen boatbuilders in North America.
Compatibility with Different Boats
Currently, Seakeeper ride offers 3 models, all named for their width in millimeters: 450, 525 & 600. The 450 is for boats up to 26’, the 525 for boats in the 27-30’ range, and the 600 for boats in the 31-35’ range. At this time there is no option for larger vessels as all of their models have just a 25mm stroke length, limiting the amount of potential lift generation, though the website indicates that Seakeeper is developing models for larger vessels, but no timeline or specifics are laid out. Seakeeper Ride is also not compatible with 30-35' boats that have stepped hulls or boats with more than two outboard motors. Both Seakeeper ride and Zipwake require a flat transom surface for mounting the interceptors/controllers.
Zipwake offers eight different standard interceptor models, also named for their width in millimeters: 300S, 450S, 600S, 750S, 400E, 600E, 800E & 1000E. In addition, they offer chine interceptors in the 300S, 450S, 400E & 600E sizes which are designed to mount on the outermost edges on the transom of boats that have a reverse chine. Zipwake also offers V-interceptors for mounting on a V-shaped hull providing lift at the very center of the hull, intermediate interceptors designed to be mounted between two outboard motors without being affected by ventilation, and tunnel interceptors for mounting over propeller tunnels on larger boats. In all, they offer 24 different shapes and models which include Series S interceptors with a 30mm stroke, and Series E interceptors with a 60mm stroke for providing more lift.
Zipwake’s wide selection of interceptor sizes and shapes make it compatible with just about any powerboat in the 20-100’ range, making it a strong option for an aftermarket refit if the transom is already cluttered with outboards, transducers and underwater lights. Because the interceptors can be mixed and matched throughout the product range, and a single system can run up to 6 interceptors at a time, multiple smaller interceptors can be installed to achieve the same performance as the larger ones. Similarly, the Series E interceptors with a 60mm stroke generate more lift than the Series S interceptors (30mm stroke) making them a great option for the larger boats or for generating more lift in a smaller housing when transom space is limited.
Zipwake sells their systems in kits which come with two interceptors of the chosen size, the distribution unit, a control panel for mounting at the helm and standard cabling to connect the system together. Additional interceptors, control units, and cabling can be purchased separately. Zipwake also offers an integrator module, which can connect your Zipwake system to 8 different Multi-functional displays (MFDs) from different manufactures or wirelessly to smart devices.
Seakeeper Ride also comes in kits which include two "controllers", a software module and a distribution module. Seakeeper Ride does not come with a control unit for the helm included. It is meant to be controlled with select MFDs from Simrad, Garmin or Raymarine. There is a keypad with no screen that can be purchased separately in addition to the system if the boat does not have a compatible MFD.
This table shows the listed retail price for a standard system from each manufacturer and does not include any add-ons. The boat size column is an estimate of the size of boat each system is intended for, but is only a general guideline and exceptions apply.