Questions & Answers: Cat® Three60 Precision Control

Quick answers to some of the most common questions about the Cat® Three60 Precision Control system and boat controls

The Cat Three60 Precision Control joystick system delivers unprecedented low-speed maneuverability on a wide range of vessels.  But if you’ve never used a joystick system, you probably have a few questions about how it works and what it can do.  Here are answers to some of the most common questions about the Three60 boat control system’s basic functions and operating procedures.

Q: How aggressive can I be with the boat controls in Three60 mode?

A: You can be as aggressive as you want and you’ll get full power from the thruster. Tilt the joystick full forward, full starboard or in any other direction and you’ll get all the thrust you need. (FWD & ASTERN direction activates the engines only) *If you move the joystick into the astern direction, make sure you are looking astern and have a clear path behind the boat.

Q: How do I switch from lever-head control to the joysticks?

A: To enter Joystick Mode, with the levers on the lever-head in neutral, press down on the Station Select button on the joystick for more than two seconds. When both LED lights turn green, you’re ready to take over with joystick command.

Q: How does movement of the joystick translate into movement of the boat?

A: Cat Three60 joystick control is very natural and intuitive. Your hand movements translate directly into commands to the boat. Move the joystick in the direction you want to go, further forward for more speed and back to slow down. Just be sure to maintain constant pressure on the joystick.

Let’s say you’re approaching a dock. If you’re too slow, push the joystick further. When you want to slow down, don’t let go—just move the joystick toward the center. You’ll experience smooth, predictable command from full stop all the way up to full thrust.

Q: So I can move the joystick (and the boat) forward, aft, side-to-side or any combination?

A: That’s right. Forward moves the boat ahead. Back moves it astern. Anywhere in between will cause it to crab in the chosen direction.

Q: Can I also twist the joystick to turn the boat?

A: Yes, twisting the joystick turns the vessel on its axis, causing it to spin in place if desired. The joystick manages the thrusters and the engines simultaneously to give you the precise movement you’re looking for.

Q:How long does it take to get used to the system?

A: It only takes a few minutes to get comfortable with Cat Three60 Precision Control. If you’re a first-time user, you should go out of the slip and away from marine traffic, find a reference point to get a feel for the relationships between the movement of the joystick and the response of your boat—every boat will be slightly different because of size and thruster configuration. Once you get comfortable, you can dock the boat easily.

Q: How do I switch back to my normal lever controls?

A: Make sure that the levers are in the neutral position, and then press the Station Select button on the lever-head. That will take you out of the Cat Three60 Joystick Mode and into the Lever Head Mode.

Q: Sounds simple. It’s really that easy?

A: Cat Three60 Precision is just that easy to use. It will help you feel more confident, in control and safer on the water than ever before. Always keep your mariner intuition on, look where you are directing the boat and not directly at the joystick while operating.

For more information on Cat Marine power and Three60 Precision Control, visit


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