Mercury introduces joystick piloting for outboards with bow thrusters

Mercury Marine, today introduced Joystick Piloting for Outboards (JPO) with Bow Thruster, the industry’s first outboard joystick system with full and seamless integration of a bow thruster. With Mercury outboards now being used on very large boats, this innovative, integrated new system provides the ability to precisely maneuver those large vessels with the same authority and intuitiveness as smaller joystick-controlled boats. The system is also an enabler for future implementation of more automated vessel control as part of Brunswick’s ACES (Autonomy, Connectivity, Electrification and Shared access) strategy. 

Joystick Piloting for Outboards (JPO) with Bow Thruster offers a single joystick control for simultaneously operating both Mercury’s JPO and a compatible bow thruster from Sleipner® or Vetus®. 

“JPO continues to evolve, offering boaters even greater control and customization for their preferred vessels,” said Rob Hackbarth, Mercury product category director. “For large boats powered with multiple Verado outboards and equipped with JPO and a bow thruster, controlling both JPO and the thruster has traditionally required the user to manage these systems independently. This innovation enhances vessel maneuverability and authority by integrating bow thrusters into the JPO control system.”

This is the second innovative joystick technology that Mercury has put into market this year following the successful launch of Mercury’s Joystick Piloting for Single-Engine Pontoons in January. Both innovations advance Mercury’s position as the provider of the most advanced and integrated propulsion systems, simplifying boating and making the experience more intuitive for all boaters. 

“With the integration of bow thrusters into JPO, all the user has to do is point the joystick where they want to go,” said Tyler Mehrl, Mercury category manager for controls and rigging. “The system will automatically and simultaneously apply the thruster power and outboard throttle, shift and steering to move the boat in the proper direction. For certain situations that might warrant independent control of the bow thruster, the user may operate only the bow thruster using the thruster manufacturer’s control.”

The system is ideal for use on large vessels equipped with two or more Mercury Verado outboards and Joystick Piloting. It’s easy to install, with no changes to existing Mercury joystick hardware needed. 

JPO with Bow Thruster will be available in March 2022. For a full listing of compatible thrusters, contact your local Mercury Authorized Dealer.

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