Turn docking into a total joy

Turn docking into a total joy.

Joystick-activated Cat® Three60 Precision Control delivers ultra-responsive slow-speed maneuverability.

For a new boat owner, the first few times you try to dock in a tight slip can be real nail biters. As Caterpillar Product Manager Bruce Strupp says, “You don’t want to damage your big investment, and you want to look cool and collected in front of your boating friends. Toss in a current or a stiff breeze and docking can get pretty dicey for even an experienced captain.”

 Whether you’re new to yachting or an old salt at a ship’s wheel, Cat Three60 Precision Control makes slow-speed maneuvering easier than ever. Using simple-to-operate but highly advanced joystick technology, the Cat Three60 system delivers ultra-precise control over your craft’s primary driveline and thrusters.

“The Cat Three60 technology really cuts down on the level of skill that you needed in the past if you were trying to dock a boat,” Strupp says. “All you have to do is line up with the slip, push the joystick to port or starboard and the boat will crab sideways right into place.”

Precise Control at Any Speed or No Speed

Unlike other joystick-control technologies, the Cat system delivers intuitive proportional speed control. Strupp explains, “With a lot of other systems, you move the joystick and the thruster is either on or off. With our system, how far you push the joystick determines the response you get. If you just nudge it, the boat’s only going to move a little bit, but if you push hard port, hard starboard or anywhere in between, it’s really going to move in that direction.

“Plus,” Strupp adds, “you also have the ability to spin the boat completely around its center axis. There’s a knob on top. When you twist it, the boat will spin around in place.”

 Integrated GPS technology makes station keeping just as easy. “Say you come up to a drawbridge and have to wait 10 minutes,” Strupp says, “or maybe you want to fish over a fragile reef without dropping an anchor. You can just engage the Three60 Hold feature. Using a combination of GPS positioning and automatically controlled power from the thrusters and driveline, the boat will maintain its heading and position.”

Five-Minute Learning Curve

Three60 Precision Control is a boon for new boat owners, Strupp says, because it’s simple and intuitive. “It’s a very easy technology to learn. In about five minutes you’ll be comfortable docking your 60-foot, $2.5 million yacht.”          

 As easy as the learning curve is, Strupp reassures new owners that they won’t be on their own the first time they cast off. “For every engine installation in a new yacht, Cat dealers always do what we call a First-Owner Sea Trial. Someone from your Cat dealer will go out on the water with you and show you how to operate all the controls and properly maintain all the Cat products on the boat. It’s a great way to help build your comfort and confidence.”

Reliability in Every Situation

The joysticks are only part of the story. Strupp says the reliability of the Three60 system’s hydraulic thrusters adds another level of confidence.

 “The Cat system uses hydraulic thrusters because they’re never going to time out. If your system is sized properly with the right kind of oil cooler, they’re never going overheat like electric thrusters can. They’re always going to be there for you. When you’re in a situation where you’re really depending on your joysticks to maneuver, that constant reliability means a lot.”

One Big, Happy Package

 Strupp adds that you’ll always have the right oil cooler because the entire system is included as an optional package with a new Cat engine installation.

“Along with the engine, your Cat dealer supplies your boat builder with the thrusters, the hydraulic manifold, the pumps and the coolers. On the electronic control side, Caterpillar supplies all the lever heads, the joysticks, the harnesses and the computers that make everything work together. The whole driveline is sourced by your Cat dealer, plus you get a standard Caterpillar warranty—the best in the industry—which you can extend up to 10 years after purchase.”

 With five available thruster sizes, along with multiple lever head and joystick configurations, the system can be customized for vessels from 35-foot sport boats to 200-foot mega yachts.

  It can also be tailored to the boat owner’s operating preferences. “We’ll do a custom design depending on the length and weight of the boat,” Strupp explains.  “And if you have an area aft where you handle your lines, you can put port and starboard joysticks back there to make docking even easier. Whatever you need, it’s a very flexible system. And our staff will handle the configuration and sizing.”

The Last Word in Control and Confidence

  “Pretty much everybody that’s had this system installed absolutely loves it,”Strupp concludes. “If you want to get into yachting and you’re somewhat uncomfortable operating the boat in tight or sensitive conditions, or if you just want to make the whole operating experience easier and more fun, Cat Three60 Precision Control is the perfect technology for you.”


“You can put this in print,” says Mr. Audet emphatically. “If anybody has a boat of any size and doesn’t have Cat Three60 Precision Control, they are really missing something!” He will never build another vessel without it.

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Cat Three60 Product Line

Enjoy fast and easy docking, fingertip maneuvering control, and much more. The Three60 suite of solutions from Caterpillar Marine offers several options for maneuvering of vessels with conventional and pod drives.

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