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Advances in innovation over the last 20 years

Here is our list of the top 10 and honorable mention innovations in recreational boating during the past two decades, compiled through interviews with leading designers and engineers:

Top 10

1. GPS and electronic charts

2. Computer-aided design

3. Pod drives and joystick helm control

4. CNC routing

5. Gyro stabilizers

6. 4-stroke outboards

7. Modern diesels

8. Vacuum bagging, resin infusion and all-composite construction


10. LED lights

Honorable mention

• Proliferation of the stepped hull

• Inflatable life jackets

• Night vision cameras

• Automatic Identification System

• Switch from mechanical to electronic engine/steering controls and controller area network, or CAN bus technology

• Lighter and stronger fiberglass fabrics

• Panoramic sliding glass doors and hull-side windows

• Adoption of compound curves in boat parts, windshields and hardtops

• Transition from cotton to Dacron sails

• Boat storage: dry stack and boat lifts

 • PWC braking systems

See related articles:

- The Golden Age is now

- No more rock 'n' roll

- A peek into the future

May 2014 issue