Mercury Marine, a division of Brunswick Corporation, introduced Joystick Piloting for Outboards (JPO) for Single-Engine Pontoons. For boaters driving a pontoon powered by a single 175-600hp Mercury outboard with Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS) controls, this new system provides the confidence of precise 360-degree control for low-speed docking and other close-quarters maneuvers.
“For several years, pontoon boats have represented one of the fastest-growing segments in the market, but until now, only multi-engine boats were able to enjoy joystick capabilities,” said Tyler Mehrl, Mercury category manager for controls and rigging. “Mercury JPO for Single-Engine Pontoons opens up new opportunities for pontoon owners to glide effortlessly into a slip or ease up to a fuel dock without worry.”
Available in March 2022 on new boat builds, JPO for Single-Engine Pontoons is compatible with hydraulic or electro-hydraulic steering and uses integrated bow and stern thrusters that are positioned under the deck, deploying and stowing as needed. Once deployed, the thrusters work in coordination with the boat’s single outboard to provide unprecedented control. The driver simply moves the joystick in the desired direction — sideways, diagonally, forward, backward or rotating in place — and the system takes the boat where the driver wants it to go. Plus, the system enables combined commands, such as simultaneously rotating and moving sideways.
“We are rapidly seeing more builders enter the pontoon market as this segment is attracting first-time and seasoned boaters due to their versatility and advanced technology,” said Nick Stickler, Mercury Marine vice president of global category management and strategic planning. “We are excited to work with our OEMs, offering a joystick option that will greatly enhance the pontoon experience.”
This product will be available in two configurations. The Basic version is available on Mercury FourStroke, Pro XS and SeaPro outboards with DTS controls. It pairs with a traditional hydraulic helm, making it accessible to an even wider array of boats.
The Premium version uses an electronic steering helm and can be rigged with 250-600hp Mercury Verado outboards. The Premium system can also be paired with a VesselView multi-function display to provide access to advanced features such as Auto Heading and Route.