New propulsion system intended to grow boating

OSHKOSH, Wis. – A new propulsion system expected to be launched next year may be just what Brunswick Chairman Dusty McCoy’s had in mind when he shared his dream of making boating easier and safer last year (See Fragmentation to Integration in Boating Industry’s March 2006 issue).

The system was created through Project Zeus, a collaborative effort between MotoTron Corp., Cummins diesel engines, Mercury Marine and other Brunswick Corp. subsidiaries, according to a Friday, Oct. 6 article in The Northwestern.

Among the abilities of the system are the equivalent of parallel parking (through use of a joystick control) and what’s called “station positioning,” holding a boat’s position despite wind and current.

“When we take this into production in 2007, this will be targeted at larger boats with diesel engines, the so-called early adopters, those who have to have the newest technology,” Mercury Marine spokesperson Steven Goldsmith told the newspaper. “When we commercialize it and start to create economies of scale, we’ll make it available for smaller, runabout boats.”

The electronics systems offer features Mercury and its partners believe will open the marine market up to a lot more people, the newspaper reported.

“If you can maneuver your boat easily, that removes a huge hurdle for many people who otherwise might be afraid of crashing into a seawall or something,” MotoTron President Jeff Ehlers said. “It really does revolutionize the experience.”

The new system, which the partners say increases fuel efficiency, cruise speed and top speed, initially will be available on Sea Ray boat models.

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