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Joysticks, Joysticks, Joysticks

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Boat joystick

15+ Ways to Share the Gift of Boating

By the Editors of Power & Motoryacht

Shortly after the Millennium hit the rear-view mirror, Volvo Penta intro’d a game-changing, pod-propelled product—the Inboard Propulsion System or, as it’s more commonly known these days, IPS. The first version did not have joystick engine control—it had single-lever sticks, a feature that initially dulled public response. Within a short time, however, Cummins Marine had put its own pod-propulsion system on the market and both IPS and Zeus had joysticks, a big-time happening that made dockside boathandling forever easier for everybody. Boats could be made to walk sideways, rotate in place, and move diagonally with such intuitive ease that novices and even children were empowered. Today, there’s virtually no type of vessel, this side of a canoe, that can’t be purchased with a joystick. In addition to the pod-type powerplants, there are systems for straight-shot inboards, stern-drives, and outboards, from companies as varied as Twin Disc, Xenta, ZF, Mercury Marine, Yamaha, and Teleflex. How does all this play out with the younger set? After driving and maneuvering a Tiara with IPS, 12-year-old Taylor Ashcraft (shown above) says she wants a joystick boat of her own someday. “You can make the boat go side-to-side,” she adds, “or spin around in a circle—I guess it’s so much fun because it’s just so easy to do.”