Your Marine Parts Analysts Encourage You to Think About Using a Joystick Maneuvering System
Raritan Engineering your marine parts experts would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding how to perfect your joystick docking skills.
Your marine parts specialists know that joystick maneuvering systems are now available for every type of marine propulsion, whether your boat is powered by inboards, outboards, sterndrives, pod drives or water jets. For all that, joysticks still present a learning curve — albeit a shallow one. Use these tips en route to becoming a joystick pro.
Joysticks can be quite sensitive, responding to the simple weight of your hand. Learn the feel of neutral for your system and consider removing your hand from the stick when stopped. Mercury Marine’s Joystick Piloting now incorporates a color LED ring to indicate operation mode, which is helpful for this very reason.
Stationkeeping is the generic term for the ability to push a button and allow a joystick system, when interfaced to GPS, to hold a boat in place without operator input.
A rocking moment can be induced when moving sideways. For instance, as you make the boat move to starboard, a bit of list to port can occur.
Just like when operating a boat using conventional controls, it’s often best to use bursts of power, returning often to neutral, when maneuvering in the confines of a marina or around other boats or structures. The boat will continue to move once the stick is returned to neutral, so learning how much “way” your boat carries — and how long it will carry that way for — still ranks as important to successful docking.
The ability to move a boat sideways proves helpful in docking. But don’t just lean on the ’stick. Use it incrementally. The sideways motion induces a rolling moment:
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Twist and Shout
Joystick operation can be summed up by the phrase “push and twist.” Your marine parts specialists say to push the stick in the direction you want the boat to move. Twist the stick to point, or orient, the boat. While there are times when pushing and twisting simultaneously are the order of the day, caution is best exercised until experience is gained.
The name may change depending upon which manufacturer’s joystick controls your boat’s engines, but some joystick controls offer “station-keeping.” This is simply the ability to hold the boat in one place at the touch of a button, thanks to integration of the control system with GPS.
A little-touted advantage of joysticks is that the provide a second, redundant set of engine controls and so enhance safety and reliability.
Just as the bow lifts while a boat accelerates and drops after speed is attained, so the side of a boat can rise and fall when it moves sideways.
The mere weight of one’s hand can cause the stick to lean while twisting. So instead of spinning in place, the boat spins and moves out of position.
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