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Boating Industry Front and Centre at CES

CES 2024 Brunswick Corporation
The Brunswick Corporation booth at CES 2024

More companies from the boating business are attending the world’s largest technology showcase each year.

Boats are becoming more sophisticated by the day, and the proof lies in the growing number of boating companies who exhibit each year at CES – the world’s largest technology trade fair.


Headquartered at the massive Las Vegas Convention Center each January and spread over a dozen different convention halls across the city, CES is enormous by any measure, with more than 4,000 exhibitors in all. That’s around eight times the size of the Toronto Boat Show! But among them are a small but growing number of familiar names from the boating sector, as they showcase their own sophisticated technologies for CES’s global audience.


One of the most prominent boating companies exhibiting at CES this year was Brunswick, which made its first appearance at the show in 2020 and has won no less than three CES Innovation Awards since.

For 2024, the parent to Mercury Marine, Sea Ray, Boston Whaler and about 60 other major boat and equipment brands showed off a bunch of new gear in its marina-like display booth, complete with docks and a full-scale boating simulator.


Mercury Marine Avator 110e
The new Mercury Marine Avator 110e

Among the new goodies were the newest Mercury Avator 75e and 110e electric outboards, announced the day before the show opened. Designed for use on aluminum fishing boats, compact pontoons, and small fibreglass runabouts, the two new motors generate 7,500W and 11,000W of power at the prop respectively, delivering about an hour of run time at full throttle using Mercury’s standard 48-volt battery. Cut back to 75% throttle and run time doubles.


Mercury generated even further buzz at CES with a mock-up of a concept 400-volt high power electric outboard. The company wouldn’t release any details, simply teasing the crowd and gauging its response. It’s a tactic we’ve seen before, as Mercury similarly teased the crowd at the 2022 Miami Boat Show with an electric outboard concept before launching the first Avator electrics 10 months later at CES 2023. So, it’s a good bet we’ll hear more about this new concept in the not-so-distant future. There's a good chance it has something to do with E-1 Racing.

Brunswick Corporation CES 2024
Inside the Brunswick booth

Anchoring Brunswick’s CES exhibit were no less than three boats, including a Boston Whaler 405 Conquest equipped with the company’s prototype assisted docking platform, and several models of Brunswick’s new FliteBoard electric foiling surfboard. “The big boats are impressive, and everybody wants to take selfies in front of them, but the reality is they’re just not within everyone’s financial reach,” said Brunswick CEO David Foulkes. “But FliteBoards are far more affordable. They’re fun, they’re carefree and they seem to defy physics by gliding over the water, so a lot of people are excited by them.”

More Stuff Every Year


Also putting on an impressive display at the 2024 CES was Garmin, which showed up with the company’s biggest display of boating product yet. The new 4k GPSMAP 9000 displays were of course front and centre, complemented by a range of ECHOMAP and Striker sonars to represent the depth of Garmin’s product line.

Garmin senior director of marine and RV sales Dave Dunn

“Each year we’re seeing more marine companies going to CES to learn about new technology,” said Garmin senior director of marine and RV sales, Dave Dunn. “Among boat builders, everyone’s looking at innovation and how they can differentiate their product. So they’re coming to CES to see what the future holds.”


That would include Garmin’s latest Force Kraken electric trolling motor, along with a wide selection of Fusion and JL Audio marine stereos. According to Dunn, customers aren’t there just to negotiate deals on sonars, they want to look after the whole boat in one shot, adding trolling motors, MFDs, radar, audio systems and more.


Thinking Of the Future


Volvo Penta took advantage of the immense press coverage around CES to formally introduce its new IPS Professional Platform into the North American market.


The IPS Professional Platform builds on Volvo’s popular Inboard Performance System (IPS) and Electronic Vessel Control (EVC) technology by adding the new IPS 40 marine drive. The result is a modular propulsion system that can switch from diesel inboards to hybrid or full electric power on the fly in order to cut fuel consumption and slice GHG emissions.

Volvo Penta IPS Pro
Volvo Penta IPS Pro

Since all Volvo Penta internal combustion engines can already run on renewable diesel or biodiesel today, boaters using IPS Pro can enjoy significantly greater sustainability immediately according to the company, then level up further once fully electric systems come to market by simply adding them in as a bolt-on option. The system is said to future-proof yachts, and that’s an apt description.


What’s more, a new smart Eco Mode feature that automatically starts and stops individual engines based on immediate power need can chop overall fuel burn by up to a whopping 30% – with a corresponding reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. And that’s just with the standard diesel power – Volvo says that adding an electric motor to the mix brings even greater gains, so there’s a lot to like about the IPS Professional Platform.

Las Vegas Convention Center
The Las Vegas Convention Center

While CES visitors expect to see big developments from the major companies, some of the most interesting new product was to be found at the Venetian Park Convention Centre, where more than 1,200 small start-up companies showed off great ideas while fishing for investors.


Among them were newcomers Valeo and WiTricity, which each displayed wireless EV chargers that work like the inductive pads people use to recharge their phones. Simply park your electric car over the charging pad, or tie up your boat beside it, and relax as the wireless charging pad takes care of the rest.


For boaters, the big advantage to having a wireless charging connection is that there is zero potential for corrosion. That’s a huge deal, since corrosion is the number one cause of short circuits and overheating in shore power plugs, resulting in numerous fires each year. In view of the higher power involved with rapid EV chargers, the ability to eliminate any potential for corrosion is a very big deal indeed. The CES crowds seemed to get that, and judging by the way they responded, it’s a good bet we’ll be hearing more about this at some point down the road. #news #producs #mercurymarine #brunswickcorporation #volvopenta

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