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Dockmate: Fingertip Docking

Dockmate allows you to park your boat from anywhere on deck, so you can always see from the best vantage point.

Dockmate wireless control system

Dockmate is a wireless control system that allows the skipper to control the boat from anyplace on board — helm, bow, stern, midship. About the size of a large cellphone, the wireless controller has a range of 150 feet and allows the user to operate bow and stern thrusters, main engines, even the horn and windlass. Compatible with most electronically controlled engines, the system is available in four models: Single, Twin, Twist 3-axis joystick with proportional control, and Twist IPS for POD drives such as the Volvo IPS.

The compact receiver measures 8.75 x 8.75 x 2.5 inches, allowing for discrete installation, is compatible with both 12- and 24-volt systems with power redundancy for added safety, and sports a modular construction for quick customization and installation of additional control modules.

Watch the video to see Dockmate in action.

Dockmate is the only wireless control currently on the market that features Frequency Hopping Spectrum System (FHSS), a two-way, five channel wireless technology that spreads the signal over rapidly changing frequencies to prevent interference from other radio transmitting devices (e.g., cellphones, walkie-talkies) and is difficult to intercept. It has a range of 150 feet.

This is a pretty cool gadget that's likely to prove popular for the larger boat owner and remove some of the stress from docking, but we tested one out on a 24-footer and came away impressed with being liberated from the helm while docking. A five-function Dockmate system (two engines, thruster, anchor, and horn) has a suggested retail price of $6,800. Dockmate.us

Mark Corke

A marine surveyor, and holder of RYA Yachtmaster Ocean certification, Mark has built five boats himself — power and sail. He was senior editor of Sail magazine's hands-on "Boatworks" publication, worked for the BBC, written four DIY books, skippered two round-the-world yachts, and holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest there-and-back crossing of the English Channel, in a kayak! He and his wife live on their Grand Banks 32.