Wireless remote control technology takes the stress out of docking your boat.
Just about everyone who’s docked a boat knows there are many forces that can really screw things up—wind, boat wake, current, engine throttling, and no one to help, to name a few. It can be a very stressful moment—one that’s unwanted before and after you’ve spent an enjoyable day out of the water. There are solutions, and Dockmate offers wireless remote control technology to a docking system that takes those forces out of
“Dockmate is a wireless remote control that will control your engines, your thrusters, your anchor, your horn, all from a small handheld device,” says Marc Curreri, CEO and co-founder of Dockmate US. “It gives you the freedom to leave your helm and maneuver your boat from the aft deck, the bow, or somewhere where you have greater visibility to see the dock.” If you’re single-handed or have non-boating guests on board, it’s really a game changer to have the freedom to snuggle up to the dock and tie-off the lines by yourself, no running back and forth from the helm to position the boat in a manner so you can catch and hold on to the dock as you secure the boat…much less stress.
There are three Dockmate remote controls to fit boats with a single engine to those using the Volvo pod system, or the Yamaha Helm Master, or Mercury’s Joystick Piloting for Outboards, and their Zeus pods as well as Skyhook and other dynamic positioning systems.
Dockmate is designed to work with boats equipped with electronic controls, but if a boat has mechanical or hynautic control systems, then the installation of an electronic-to-mechanical interface will work.
Installation is easy for a trained Dockmate dealer because the system is primarily plug-n-play whether through an engine or electronic control manufacturer’s controller area network (CAN) bus or gateway. That doesn’t mean it’s a DIY project any boat owner can do. Yes, it’s generally a plug-n-play install, but it’s the proprietary software that requires exact knowledge in order to setup and customize each system to the owner’s particular boat based on his or her preferences. The throttle, the thrusters, the anchor, etc., all behave a little differently, so each Dockmate dealer is a certified installer who has gone through extensive practical and personalized training.
“All of our dealers are certified by us,” says Curreri. “We make the investment to go to their location and do a regimented classroom training and then go to the boat and do the installation. The dealer does the installation with me and the chief tech on board.” Dealers have to have a technical as well as a boating background in order to ensure the Dockmate system works with the boat’s characteristics.
The system operates on 12- or 24-volt setup and consists of the remote controller, a cradle for it, and the receiver.
Every Dockmate receiver is programmed for a specific boat and connects to the boat’s engine and electronic controls. It translates the remote control’s commands so the controls can respond accordingly. New this summer is the receiver’s aluminum construction and IP67 rating. It’ll be the most waterproof unit installed under your helm.
A Remote for You
As mentioned, there are three remotes designed for the Dockmate system: The Single/Twin, the Twist, and the Vector. The Single/Twin remote has touchpad control to operate one to two engines along with bow and stern thrusters, one or two anchors, and the horn.
The Twist and the Vector incorporate joystick control for forward, backward, sideway, and diagonal control of the boat’s direction. The twist of the joystick knob will rotate the vessel.
The Vector is designed specifically for boats using the Volvo Penta IPS or Zeus pods and is also compatible with Mercury’s Joystick Piloting for Outboards and Yamaha’s Helm Master. Additionally, it can run dynamic positioning systems or Mercury’s Skyhook when installed. Like the Single/Twin controller, the Twist and Vector also operate anchors and bow thrusters with separate buttons, if desired.
A unique feature of Dockmate is the proprietary Dock Control software, particularly the proportional engine throttle. “The more you move your joystick forward, the more throttle you get. It’s not incremental, it’s like stepping on the gas pedal,” says Curreri. “We can adjust that throttle and how much throttle you can use.”
It’s not a one-size-fits-all—each boat is customized based on the weight, forward and aft thrust, etc., so it can really dial into the customer’s needs, like balancing thrusters with engines to make it walk sideways. The joystick gives the same feeling and response time as if you’re working with the boat’s controls directly.
The Dockmate system uses frequency-hopping-spread-spectrum technology (FHSS) to avoid interference and to prevent eavesdropping. It is the same technology used with cell phones, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc. FHSS controls multiple different channels at the same time with the code changing several times a second.
“Dockmate uses six channels simultaneously, and the code changes six times a second,” says Curreri. In other words, if there are two boats or a hundred boats utilizing the Dockmate system at the marina, they’ll never interfere with the other when the boat’s remote is paired to its receiver. The remotes are transceivers and communicate both ways with the receiver within a range of up to 165 feet. They are also waterproof and float, and if accidentally dropped, all systems immediately default to neutral.
The Dockmate wireless remote control docking system can remove the stresses of docking your boat and make that day on the water as you intended…fun. dockmate.us