Innovation continues to drive all aspects of the boating today, with major introductions to some groundbreaking new technology to look out for in 2016.
Thermal & Infared Sensors
Feel safer than ever when hitting the seas with infrared-sensing thermal cameras that can see in the dark, utilizing slight differences in temperature and heat output to create video images on your chartplotter screen. A step beyond basic radar, these images appear simply as black-and-white video. Another advantage of thermal vision is its capability to spot objects floating just at the surface, something radar is incapable of doing.
GPS-Assisted Boat Motor
Driving a motorboat can be a bit hair-raising at times. Despite all that power, we still find ourselves at the mercy of the wind and the waves, making it difficult to keep the boat steady. Luckily, there’s a new technology growing in popularity that will help captains keep their boats steady with docking or waiting for a bridge, that is, GPS technology imbedded in the boat motor. These GPS-assisted boat motors keeps the boat steady and on course thus preventing the craft to drift. Even if you’re a pro, this hardware makes boating life easier and frees you up to do other things, like hobnob with passengers.
For those of us who grew up playing PacMan, this next technology will be a thrilling development. You’ve mastered the joystick at the arcade but now joysticks there’s a huge push for joystick technology in boating. The number of boats that offer joystick helm control is astounding and there’s a variety of power options, from outboards and sterndives to pod drives and straight-shaft setups. In addition, joystick technology has also been developed for boats with conventional shaft-drive inboards. These joysticks provide a new dimension for operators that allow the captain to perform maneuvers that aren’t possible with conventional controls, such as a sideways motion that proves useful when docking.
The inland surfing trend has become a global sensation and now surf-centric technologies are being introduced to vessels. Through aspects of design, technology and the user interface, these boats create a customizable experience. These specialized wakeboarding boats are outfitted with features that maximize the experience such as Malibu’s Surf Gate. The Surf Gate comprises of two tabs that produce surf wave on either side of the boat using hydraulic and electric power and can be deployed through a touch command screen. Now, you can instantly switch which side of the boat you want your wave.