Joystick control has been available for pod drives for a long time now, but the advent of outboard joystick controls is relatively recent. In fact, the European launch of the Suzuki Optimus outboard joystick control system was only last year, so this really is one of the hottest new gizmos on the block.
Lenny Rudow, one of the boats.com editors in the US, was keen to see if docking an outboard boat with a joystick was just as easy as it is with pods. In the video below, he gets to grips with the system aboard a Sportsman 312 centre-console rigged with a pair of 300 HP Yamaha outboards.
The seriously clever part is the computer's ability to steer and throttle each engine individually. The sideways joystick command turns one engine to port, the other to starboard; one in forward and one in reverse. Imagine how many hands and sets of controls you would need to do that manually!
For more on outboard joystick control systems, try reading: The joy of outboard joysticks – a report from Miami boat show.