Boaters are brave souls, whether you are in a canoe, cruising sailboat, or motor yacht. You venture into the unkown at the mercy of the elements in order to fulfill a dream of life on the water. Until you are faced with docking . . . in an unknown place . . . with a beam wind. Blood pressure skyrockets, partners yell at each other, and without fail, a group of onlookers forms.
Wouldn’t it be great – if only just sometimes, maybe when you are tired – you could just press a button and forget about docking. Instead, you could focus on where to get dinner.
Volvo Penta has taken a (spendy) step in this direction with its developent of a self-docking system. They have set a goal to perfect this technology by 2020. Until then, take the meds for your blood pressure.
Here’s a video that shows pretty simply how it works. The first thing you’ll notice is that this system requires sensors at the dock, so it’s not like you can show up in some exotic location, press a button, and go check your look. It’s a bit complicated.
Now for some (slow motion) entertaingment, check out this “first ever demo” of the system. The actual demo is pretty unremarkable. What is remarkable is that there are announcers hyping the event as if we are about to see a rocket launch. The excitement is over the top – and then you watch a megayacht self-park in what seems like slow motion. For this reason we like the video because it has the weird tension between “tech launch world premier” and watching grass grow.
In spite of it all we like it because any techhnology that makes boating easier and more accessible is ok by us. We can easily see this system eventually making it down the food chain. In fact, it’s down the food chain where it might be needed the most. As one commenter on YouTube put it, “If you find it a challenge to dock a boat that has both bow and stern thrusters then you probably shouldn’t be the captain.”