Can Mercury Joystick Piloting and Skyhook Be Added to Older-Model Mercury Engines? - 05/14/2018
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The Mercury Joystick Piloting system has a green light ring around the joystick that shows it’s got control of the boat.

One reader wanted to know if he could add some of the new features available today to his existing boat. He asked, “Is it possible to retrofit the docking and Skyhook system on older model engines?” We went right to the source to find out.

According to Mercury, the answer depends on how old we mean by “older,” and, more importantly, what kind of controls are on the boat. Mercury says, “Only for recent MerCruiser DTS (Digital Throttle and Shift) applications is a joystick retrofit possible. Outboard applications require specific Joystick engines.”

Since our reader didn’t specify outboard or inboard power, we figured we would provide the answer for both.

Mercury Single-Engine Joystick Piloting

We tested the Mercury Single-Engine Joystick Piloting system on a Sea Ray SLX 230W, a wake boat powered by a single 6.2 liter 370-hp Mercury Towsports engine, plus bow and stern thrusters.

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Our test captain made side-to docking look even easier than usual on this Sea Ray SLX 230W with Mercury’s single-engine Joystick Piloting system.
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The single-engine joystick system from Mercury coordinates the power of the main engine as well as bow and stern thrusters.

See our test of the Mercury Single-Engine Joystick Piloting here.

Mercury Joystick Piloting for Outboards

When trying the joystick for outboards, our test captain maneuvered a SeaVee center console powered by a pair of 350-hp Mercury Verado outboards. The system required the electronic controls, as well as the electronic steering system that accepts steering input not just from the wheel but also from the joystick control. The joystick has an LED ring around it that lights up to indicate the direction of thrust applied, and while our test captain didn’t think he would use it, he found himself glancing at the indicator to confirm that the boat was doing what he expected.

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Docking the SeaVee center console was simple with the Mercury joystick control.
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The outboards move independently thanks to the electronic steering system, directing the thrust where it’s needed to follow the Mercury joystick commands.
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This green light ring around the joystick shows it’s got control of the boat…
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And it lights up on the side of the joystick where the control is applied, indicating the boat’s movement.

See our test of the Mercury Joystick Piloting for Outboards System here.

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