Advances in innovation over the last 20 years

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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