Technological innovation and eco-conscious practices are shaking up the marine industry and forever changing the boating experience for those who love to hit the water.
From energy-efficient propulsion options and 3D click-and-print parts to artificially enhanced skipping, boating components and systems are becoming more advanced in order to make daily operation and upkeep much simpler. These advancements are especially helpful for boaters who are new to the industry and may lack the experience to navigate the complexities of boating.
Let’s get into what you need to know about emerging marine trends.
AI-Assisted Navigation and Docking
Artificial intelligence is poised to revolutionize the boating experience.
Forward-thinking manufacturers have already adopted AI systems that allow your boat to dock without a skipper’s input. This same intelligence assesses everything from wind speed to docking distance and even objects in the path to allow for a smooth and steady docking experience.
AI-assisted navigation allows owners much more freedom. Of course, this freedom may not be something everyone wants as for some boaters, the joy is in the navigation itself. At this point, AI navigation and docking is just an option on a small number of boats, but that number is likely to continue to grow as newer boaters purchase boats.
Autonomously Driven Boats
Taking it one step further from AI-assisted navigation is the autonomous boat.
You will soon be able to take your boat on the water, program your destination, and let your boat navigate for you. This technology is not something long off in the future—it is available right now. Autonomous land vehicles have already been tested on the road and similar technology is on the way for boats, meaning more and more people will be able to purchase and own boats without ever having to skipper themselves.
For those who are new to the experience, this level of autonomy is a game changer.
Green Propulsion Solutions
Sustainable propulsion that minimizes the negative impact on marine ecosystems with electric and hybrid systems is becoming more common on newer boating platforms. Electric and hybrid systems provide a green solution to combustion engines that are cleaner and quieter. Additionally, the integration of solar power as a renewable source of energy for boaters is helping reduce a boat’s carbon footprint on the water.
Plug-in Options at Berth
With attention to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and implementing sustainable solutions, more and more shore power connections are being opened up at marinas. These connections allow boats to plug into an electric grid on land while they are docked, thereby reducing engine use.
Most boats spend a lot of time alone without the supervision of their owner, which means anything from theft to a system failure can occur without the boat owner’s knowledge.
However, thanks to the Internet of Things (loT), real-time vessel management is now possible from anywhere. Currently, this is done by mounting or hardwiring sensors to different devices which then transmit data to a smart device. Operators can check everything from fuel consumption to conditions of mechanical systems and even weather at all times.
3D Printed Marine Products
3D printing technology has revolutionized the way many things are built and has also found a home in the marine industry.
While initially viewed as a more environmentally friendly way to produce spare parts, 3D printed boats are now hitting the water due to their overall flexibility of design and execution. How advanced is this technology? Boating enthusiasts can expect complete print-to-order boats not too far in the future.
Exciting Times Are Ahead for Boating Enthusiasts
It’s an exciting time in the marine industry with great changes happening now that will have a massive impact on generations of future boaters.
From green engine solutions to the integration of AI for increased safety and ease of navigation, the marine industry is already much evolved from what it was a decade ago, and the future looks like it’s going to lean towards eco-conscious, AI-enhanced marine experiences that allow boating owners to experience the pleasure of being on the water with family and friends, but with much less hassle and worry.