Pedestal helm-seating systems offer a wider range of features than any other type of boat seating, including the ability to swivel as well as adjust the height (on certain models) to suit the helmsman. You can add a footrest and seat bases that slide fore and aft, as well as the type of helm seat that suits your taste and budget.
These seating systems are available from a number of brands, including Garelick, Todd and Wise. For this project, we chose the Garelick EEz-In full-featured, top-of-the-line Commander II 4.0 model 78325 pedestal system, which features a 4-inch-diameter pedestal, 12-inch-diameter base, and anodized aluminum finish for corrosion protection, and adjusts in height from 211/8 inches to 251/8 inches using a gas-rise lift system. It also includes a seat base that swivels and has sliding adjustability. The Commander system includes a footrest as well.
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All components meet or exceed the requirements recommended by the American Boat and Yacht Council for static load, and lateral, vertical and horizontal impact, according to Garelick. Here’s how to install this type of pedestal seat.
Skill Level: 2 of 5
Finish Time: Approx. 3 hours
Tools and Supplies
• Garelick Commander II 4.0 model 78325 pedestal system/seat base/footrest ($1,352.95, starmarinedepot.com)
• Garelick model 4885015 deluxe helm chair ($1,214.95, starmarinedepot.com)
• Measuring tape
• Power drill and bit set
• Six 1/4-20 stainless-steel oval-head bolts, fender washers and nyloc nuts
• 3/8-inch 12-inch-square aluminum plate to fashion backing plate
• 3M Marine Grade Silicone Sealant ($24.99/10-ounce cartridge, westmarine.com)
• Phillips screwdriver
• Socket or box wrench set
While the pedestal system we chose adjusts from 21 1/8 to 25 1/8 inches in height, your helm-seating situation and personal height might require a taller or shorter pedestal. The Garelick EEz-In Commander II 4.0 is also available in a shorter model that adjusts from 14 3/8 inches to 18 3/8 inches. If replacing an existing seat, use that height as the starting point. Remember that the seat you choose will add height beyond the pedestal itself (see next step).
Tip: If the available models are not tall enough to suit your helm, add a 3- to 4-inch hardwood base to the helm deck to serve as a riser.
Choose a chair that provides the comfort you desire. Garelick offers a wide range of pedestal chairs ranging from spartan-like folding seats to luxurious models with richly padded upholstery, and features such as armrests and flip-up bolsters that serve as leaning posts. Seat bases are universal among many brands, and if you don’t find a Garelick chair to your liking, check out offerings from Todd, Wise and others. We chose the Garelick model 4885015 deluxe helm chair.
With the chair installed on the pedestal, place the entire assembly on the helm deck, in line with the steering wheel, and carefully take a seat. Adjust the base fore and aft until you find the position that lets you easily and comfortably pilot the boat. Check to ensure that there is sufficient space forward for the bolt-on footrest and that the seat has room to swivel and slide fore and aft. Once satisfied, mark the mounting holes for the base, using the base itself as a template.
Check under the deck for interference before drilling. For a deck less than 3/4-inch thick, use a backing plate, which can be fashioned from a 3/8-inch-thick plate of aluminum, pre-drilled to the hole pattern on the base. Drill the six 1/4-inch mounting holes through the deck. Bed around the base and dab each hole with marine sealant. Secure the base with 1/4-20 oval-head bolts, washers and nyloc nuts (hardware not included). Tighten securely. Install the footrest.