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.
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.