Boat Seat Pedestal Safety

ABYC Boat Seat Pedestal StandardsWhen you are looking at replacement boat seat pedestals you will often see “Class AD” or “Type B” used to describe the seat hardware. What exactly do these classifications mean? Beginning in 1996 the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) recommended seat hardware safety codes. These ABYC standards help boaters select safe seat pedestals for different applications around their boat.

There are three boat seat pedestal classifications: Class AD (sometimes called AO), Class AP (sometimes called AN), and Class B. A designation of Class A designation (AD and AP) means it can be used while the boat is underway at any speed. Class B hardware should only be used on seats occupied while the boat is moving at 5 mph or less.

Class AD hardware is designed to be used at a boat helm/driver position. To achieve this class it must meet the most stringent requirements as described below:

  • Must have positive locking swivels which withstand 150 ft. lbs. of torque
  • All seats interchangeable with the operator’s seat must meet the requirements of this section
  • A seat designed for occupancy while the vessel is underway at any speed
  • Employ a locking mechanism for each plane or axis of movement
  • Seats with fore/aft adjustment must sustain static load of 300 lbs. for 3minutes, in mid position
  • Seats with a vertical adjustment feature shall have a positive locking mechanism
  • Sustain 10 impacts of 225 lbs.

Boat Seat PedestalClass AP pedestals are designed to be used while the boat is underway, but not in the driver position. This seat hardware for passenger boat seats must meet the following requirements:

  • Swivel locking mechanism must sustain torque of 30 ft. lbs.
  • A seat designed for occupancy while the vessel is underway at any speed
  • Employ a locking mechanism for each plane or axis of movement
  • Seats with fore/aft adjustment must sustain static load of 300 lbs. for 3 minutes, in mid position
  • Seats with a vertical adjustment feature shall have a positive locking mechanism
  • Sustain 10 impacts of 225 lbs.

Fishing Seat Pedestal
Class B seat hardware has the fewest requirements. This hardware is typically used on fishing seats and other seats that are not used while underway. It must only meet the following two requirements:

  • A seat designed for occupancy only at boat speeds not exceeding five miles per hour
  • Sustain dynamic loads at ½ the velocity required for Type A seats

Boat seat pedestals from quality manufacturers will meet or exceed the ABYC standards for strength and safety. Grouping seat pedestals into the ABYC categories helps to keep boaters safe and also assist in narrowing the selection of boat seat hardware.

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