Do electronic engine shift and throttle controls fail? Absolutely. I’ve had four failures in 20 years. But mechanical systems, be they cable, hydraulic or pneumatic, have failed me half a dozen times. Mechanical controls require diligent maintenance — tending to small leaks or stiff cables promptly. If they fail, it will likely be in gear. Electronic shifts and throttles, on the other hand, self-monitor to offer warnings before they finally give up and return to neutral and idle. Just like mechanical shifts and throttles, however, electronic controls require maintenance, particularly as boats age.