For many boaters, the idea of approaching a crowded dock can be anxiety-inducing. We’ve all seen the beads of sweat form on a captain’s brow as he or she maneuvers into a tight slip, mere inches to spare on either side of the boat. Shouts ring out as fenders are flung over railings, dockhands scramble to grab ropes and cleats, until finally the engines are cut and the flurry of activity dies down.
That anxiety is about to be a distant memory, thanks to new technology that makes the whole process effortless:
It’s called DockSense™, a revolutionary assisted-docking system that reflects a collaborative effort between Raymarine and Boston Whaler. Unveiled at February’s Miami International Boat Show, DockSense promises to improve the overall boating experience by making docking easier than ever before. Not to mention worry-free.
“Interest and adoption of autonomous technology is growing across most mobility applications, and this path is a natural next step for Boston Whaler, which has brought a steady stream of advanced technologies to the recreational boating marketplace,” said Whaler President Nick Stickler.
“Boston Whaler was an early adopter of close-quarters handling technologies like Mercury Marine’s Joystick Piloting for Outboards (JPO), providing boaters previously unattainable confidence and control on the water,” Stickler explained. “The adoption and seamless integration of advanced technology are among the many reasons supporting our strong growth and the well-earned reputation of the Boston Whaler brand heritage.”
At the Miami Boat Show, DockSense was featured on a 330 Outrage with twin Mercury Verado engines, JPO and additional controls.
DockSense is designed to complement a captain’s boat-handling skills using the system’s Virtual Bumper™ zone technology around the vessel. The Raymarine system uses advanced vision technology to sense and identify potential obstacles in the vessel’s path, providing the necessary inputs to allow the boat’s JPO system to autonomously respond and ensure a smooth docking process.
“We are pleased to continue the longstanding relationship with Boston Whaler to provide their customers with innovative solutions that make docking easier and their boating experience more enjoyable,” said Travis Merrill, FLIR Commercial Business Unit President. (Raymarine is a brand of FLIR Systems, Inc.) “By combining FLIR navigation, machine learning, and sensing technologies, Raymarine DockSense provides assisted steering and throttle commands to help captains make a smooth arrival.”
“At Boston Whaler, we consistently strive to offer our owners the greatest boating experiences,” said Stickler. “Investing in the pursuit of the next great boating innovation is consistent with our goal of providing the best boats and newest technologies on the water.”
While DockSense isn’t available in the marketplace today, the companies are using the valuable consumer feedback captured during the Miami Boat Show demonstrations to help guide further refinements.
“Through such collaboration and focusing our considerable technical skills, companies such as Raymarine and Boston Whaler will continue to work toward the adoption, integration and commercialization of these advanced technologies,” Stickler concluded.
In other words, bringing a whole new level of calm to even the most crowded marinas.