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Thrust and Ferry

The time for joystick-controlled pontooning has arrived with Mercury’s new piloting system for single outboards pontoon boats.

Bow Deployed on Pontoon

The new Joystick Piloting for Outboards system from Mercury Marine uses two thrusters that make maneuvering simple and stow when not in use.

Docking problems? What docking problems? With Mercury Marine’s new Joystick Piloting for Outboards (JPO) for single-engine pontoon boats, close-quarters maneuvering just became, well, a joy.

Single Engine Pontoon Joystick Front Tip

The joystick makes close-quarters maneuvering a cinch.

The system incorporates a joystick with two deployable thrusters — one forward and one aft — that drop down into the water and work with the outboard to deliver dockside control that’s unheard-of in the pontoon boat world. Take a look for yourself.

Compatible with 175- to 600-hp Mercury outboards with digital throttle and shift, JPO will allow you to spin a pontoon boat 360-degrees, slide it sideways, and fine-tune your approach to a dock or slip in every way. When used on boats with electronic steering, the “Premium” system also gains auto heading and route functionality. The system is expected to be available on new boats this spring. Price: $12,000 to $17,000 as an upgrade to most boats.

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Lenny Rudow

New Boats, Fishing & Electronics Editor, BoatUS Magazine

Top tech writer and accomplished sports fisherman, BoatUS Magazine Contributing Editor Lenny Rudow has written seven practical boating books, won 30 awards from Boating Writers International — many for his marine electronics articles – and two for excellence from the Outdoor Writers Association of America. He judges the NMMA Innovation Awards, and is Angler in Chief at FishTalk, his own Chesapeake-based publication. A great teacher and inspirational writer, Lenny hosts many of BoatUS Magazine’s very-popular how-to videos, which can be found on the BoatUS YouTube channel, or at