Outboard Joystick Control: It’s a Brave New World

Boaters and builders with twin and triple outboard rigs have been introduced to a whole new concept in steering control in recent months, thanks to advanced electronic and hydraulic controls from Yamaha, Mercury, and SeaStar/Teleflex with BRP/Evinrude. Picture being able to control the dynamics of forward, reverse, and sideways thrust vectors all with one hand, with a joystick. Picture being able to approach a tight docking situation with confidence. Backing into a slip in a cross-current? Can do. Sidle into a dock space beam-on? It’s now possible, and without bow thrusters or magic. Not every boat can be retrofitted with the new gear, but a lot can. And if you’re repowering or buying a new boat and have a choice of powerplants and steering options, there are very big things on your side of the horizon right now, and more coming.

The Yamaha Helm Master in action.

The Yamaha Helm Master in action.

Three joystick steering systems for outboard motors made a public debut at the Miami International Boat Show. From media intros held months ago, we’ve previously reported on the Yamaha Helm Master and Mercury Verado joystick controls, and a collaboration between SeaStar (formerly Teleflex) and BRP/Evinrude was news that broke just before the show.

Read more about these joystick control systems.

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