Single-Engine Joystick Control

Mercury Marine’s new system is compatible with V-8, V-10 and V-12 Verado outboards up to 600 horsepower.
Mercury Steering Joystick
Mercury now has a joystick system for single-outboard-powered boats. The system works for engines ranging from 250 hp to 600 hp. Courtesy Mercury Marine

Mercury Marine, a division of Brunswick Corp., has introduced Mercury Joystick Steering for Single-Engine Vessels. The system is compatible with V-8, V-10 and V-12 Mercury Verado outboard engines from 250 to 600 horsepower.

This is far from the first Joystick Steering system that the company has brought to recreational boaters. The systems are now available for vessels powered by sterndrives, inboards, Zeus pod drives, multi-outboard installations, multi-outboards with an integrated bow thruster, and single-engine pontoons with deployable thrusters.

“This new joystick steering system is unique in that it is specifically designed for single-engine vessels. It features a simple, single-touchpoint user interface for throttle, shift and steering, facilitating ergonomic one-handed operation,” Tyler Mehrl, senior category manager, joystick, steering, and throttle and shift controls, stated in a press release.

Joystick steering has become increasingly common aboard powerboats and superyachts alike, with systems from various manufacturers available for several decades now. In some cases, boatbuilders no longer even bother to install a traditional ship’s wheel at a boat’s helm, instead having the skipper rely exclusively on joystick control for steering. The crew aboard commercial ships, too, now frequently rely on joystick controls to maneuver through the world’s oceans and ports.

New boaters, in particular, tend to find joystick operation easier to master. Using these systems can be quicker and easier than traditional setups at the helm, and the systems are often compatible with other systems on board, helping to ease additional tasks as well.

Mercury’s new Joystick Steering for Single-Engine Vessels, for instance, eliminates the need for boaters to use both hands to throttle, shift and steer during low-speed maneuvers such as docking. The joystick’s design is sleek, without any physical buttons. It allows for proportional forward and reverse movement, and the twist function provides intuitive steering.

When Joystick Steering for Single-Engine Vessels is integrated with a compatible multifunction display incorporating GPS and Mercury SmartCraft Connect, it also offers autopilot features.

“There are two autopilot features: heading and route,” Mehrl added. “You easily can set up a route on the MFD by dropping waypoints. When the heading function is activated, you can make 1- or 10-degree adjustments to your heading on the MFD, or 10-degree adjustments by twisting the joystick, so you can use it to really fine-tune your direction of travel.”

When will Mercury Joystick Steering for Single-Engine Vessels be available? The system will be available starting April 15.

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