Mercury Marine, a division of Brunswick Corporation, announced that it is introducing joystick piloting for single-outboard pontoons.
For pontoons powered by a single 175- to 600-hp Mercury outboard with digital throttle and shift (DTS) controls, the system provides 360-degree control for low-speed docking and other tight maneuvers.
Mercury’s Joystick Piloting for Outboards (JPO) for Single-Engine Pontoons product, which debuted the 2022 Minneapolis Boat Show last week and won an NMMA Innovation Award honorable mention, supports Mercury’s initiative to bring more intuitive boating experiences to all boaters.
“For several years, pontoon boats have represented one of the fastest-growing segments in the market, but until now, only multi-engine boats were able to enjoy joystick capabilities,” Tyler Mehrl, Mercury category manager for controls and rigging, said in a statement. “Mercury JPO for Single‐Engine Pontoons opens up new opportunities for pontoon owners to glide effortlessly into a slip or ease up to a fuel dock without worry.”
Available in March 2022 on new boats, JPO for Single-Engine Pontoons is compatible with hydraulic or electro-hydraulic steering and uses integrated bow and stern thrusters positioned under the deck.
Once deployed, the thrusters work with the boat’s single outboard to take the boat where the skipper intends — sideways, diagonally, forward, backward or rotating in place. The system also enables combined commands, such as simultaneously rotating and moving sideways.
“We are rapidly seeing more builders enter the pontoon market as this segment is attracting first-time and seasoned boaters due to their versatility and advanced technology,” said Nick Stickler, Mercury Marine vice president of global category management and strategic planning. “Offering a joystick option will greatly enhance the pontoon experience.”
Mercury’s “Basic” system is offered on the company’s FourStroke, Pro XS and SeaPro outboards with DTS controls. It pairs with a traditional hydraulic helm.
The company is also offering a “Premium” version using an electronic steering helm that can be rigged with 250- to 600-hp Verado outboards and paired with a VesselView multi-function display.
Brunswick’s pontoon subsidiary Harris Boats also announced that the company will offer JPO for Single-Engine Pontoon with digital throttle and shift (DTS) controls. The system will be an option on the Harris Crowne, Grand Mariner and Solstice Pontoon model series.
See the Harris configuration at the Discover Boating Miami International Boat Show in February.