As modern technology advances year after year, we are seeing interesting changes in boats. We’ve already witnessed the evolution from wood to fiberglass and sail to power, and new evolutions in boat construction and features appear every season.
So, what’s coming in 2023? While we can’t predict the future, there are definitely some technological developments that may indicate what’s ahead.
A gyro stabilizer is a control system that decreases a watercraft’s tilting movements. It can sense orientation using a small gyroscope and then counteract rotation by adjusting the control surfaces.
Gyro stabilization is becoming more and more common on boat builds. It began appearing infrequently on yachts and large ships over the last two decades. The earlier versions could reduce some rocking, but not all. Modern versions, however, can reduce rocking by 90- to 95-percent.
Most new boats are sold with a gyro stabilizer, with Seakeeper dominating the marketplace. Mitsubishi has also designed anti-roll gyros for the sport-fishing market. As time goes on, more models will be designed and built by major manufacturers.
Electric Powered Watercraft
The production of electric vehicles is becoming increasingly popular among big car companies. The same trend is happening among boat and PWC/jet ski manufacturers. With electric power, toxic fumes and disruptive noises disappear. These models also leave a minimal carbon footprint compared to fossil fuel engines.
Most recreational vessels currently on the market are hybrid models (the vessel is equipped with both diesel and electric propulsion systems). But more manufacturers are coming to market with an electric-only approach. This trend will continue to emerge in 2023 and beyond.
Carbon Fiber Construction
A boat’s construction - including hulls, structural reinforcements, and interior hardware - has seen some big shifts in recent years. Most boats aren’t produced with a wooden construction (with few exceptions) or unnecessarily thick fiberglass anymore.
Many manufacturers now use strong, yet lightweight materials like carbon fiber. Some boats even have computer-designed hulls for increased hydrodynamics and superior structural strength-to-weight ratios. In 2023, we bet builders will continue to find new ways to improve performance, speed, and weight.
Smart Boats and Solar Panels
As solar panels and integrated photovoltaic systems become more accessible, they are being installed on more hybrid-electric vessels. For example, the Sea Ray SLX-R 400e outboard uses light battery banks and advanced monitoring systems. Its cutting-edge technology enables high-performance propulsion and elevated design elements.
These “smart boat” capabilities are not limited to electric-powered boats only. Major builders are expected to incorporate robust tech in 2023 models as advancements develop and consumer interest increases.
Up and coming advancements don’t stop with monitoring systems and electronics. More efficient and innovative outboards are on the horizon as well.
For example, Mercury’s V12 600-HP outboard has a stationary powerhead where only the lower unit moves. It also has an industry-grade, 2-speed transmission on a recreational outboard. Yamaha and Suzuki are also pushing the envelope with efficiency, durability, and reliability.
This next year is bound to bring some groundbreaking technology and new features that disrupt the world of marine propulsion.