Mercury Outboard Joystick Piloting
Boating was granted exclusive access at Mercury’s test facility to demo the new joystick system for outboard motors. I found it as intuitive and user friendly as the joystick controls fitted to Axius sterndrives and Zeus pods. The joystick enabled the twin-engine Boston Whaler demo boat to maneuver sideways, spin on its own access and more in one-handed fashion.
I applauded the safety cable Mercury installed between the tiller arms of the outboards—this prevents the props from colliding with each other should the system have a hydraulic failure. There is no tie-bar in this system; the engines are linked by hydraulic lines and software, and each is fitted with its own power steering pump.
The system is available with new boats and motors, and repowers with new 250- and 300-hp Verado engines, according to Mercury, so you repower mavens with drool on your chins can get in on the action. Additionally, the system is intended for 250- and 300-hp Verado engines only.
As stated, our test run was a short preview. Mercury will officially launch the joystick piloting system for outboards in February 2013 at the Miami Boat Show.