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Jan. 4, 2021

What is SmartCraft® and How Does it Work?

The technology behind the revolutionary onboard operating system from Mercury


Twenty years ago, a boat was essentially a collection of individual components, many of which operated independently. Then, in the early 2000s, Mercury Marine® introduced its revolutionary SmartCraft® digital technology suite, which integrated the engine(s) with other onboard systems and equipment, providing owners with a higher level of control over their boats. The SmartCraft suite has continued to grow ever since, with Mercury adding new functions and features that help make boating much easier and more enjoyable.

How does it work? Essentially, SmartCraft digital technologies comprise an elegant language spoken throughout the exclusive digital network crafted by Mercury. It’s a proprietary digital Controller Area Network (CAN) bus protocol that connects all the SmartCraft system components together with perfect understanding of each other, including the engine controller, helm controller, AutoPilot system, Joystick Piloting system, G3 diagnostic tool and more.

SmartCraft technologies enable boat owners to monitor and control these components from the helm via a variety of gauges and displays that serve as portals to the network. Sized and priced to ensure that there’s a perfect unit to fit any dash, they include the Mercury SC1000 series digital gauges, MercMonitor digital command center and the VesselView® series of full-color LCD glass control panels. A recent innovation, the VesselView Mobile® hub also wirelessly connects Mercury engine(s) with mobile devices through an app to share data with the boater and their preferred service dealer.

Rich VesselView functionality starts with engine monitoring, displaying data that includes rpm, speed, fuel flow and efficiency, temperature, trim and more for up to six engines. The larger VesselView monitors also incorporate touchscreen controls. Already have a compatible Lowrance® or Simrad® multi-function display at the helm? Install VesselView Link to get the same SmartCraft experience on those devices.

There are a host of features in the SmartCraft digital technology suite that have proven highly popular with owners because they deliver better, more intuitive control over a variety of functions, from automatically trimming the engine to fine-tuning the angle of approach to a dock.

Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS): Replacing old-school cables, DTS makes for ultra-smooth and precise shifting, along with instant throttle response and greater fuel efficiency. There’s no hesitation with DTS. Throttle and shift are seamless every time.

Active Trim: An integrated, GPS-based system, Mercury Active Trim continually adjusts engine trim based on changes in the boat’s speed. This intuitive, hands-free system effortlessly delivers optimal trim adjustments, improving performance and fuel economy across the rpm band.

Troll Control: Engineered for anglers targeting that prize fish, Troll Control allows you to dial in precise trolling speeds just by tapping a button. It can increase or decrease the speed in 10 rpm increments (while the competition only offers 50 rpm increments).

Smart Tow®: This innovative system lets you select pre-set profiles for your boat’s rpm and speed to create the perfect launch and ride experience for tubers, wakeboarders or water skiers. You also can set custom launch profiles for riders of any skill level.

Joystick Piloting: Joysticks are not just for jet pilots anymore. Now you can use them for 360-degree, fingertip control over the boat’s throttle, shift and steering, allowing you to move the vessel sideways or spin it on its own axis. Mercury offers Joystick Piloting for Outboards, Inboards, Sterndrives and Pod Drives, so almost no matter what type of propulsion your boat is equipped with, there should be a joystick option for you.

Skyhook® Digital Anchor: This feature of Mercury Joystick Piloting utilizes GPS to let you set and maintain your boat’s position and heading when docking or waiting for a bridge to open.

In short, the SmartCraft digital technology suite can make formerly challenging onboard operations easy and hassle-free. With SmartCraft onboard, you will look smart as you effortlessly operate your boat.


Lowrance is a registered trademark of Navico. Simrad is a registered trademark of Kongsberg Maritime AS, licensed to Navico Holding AS. All other trademarks belong to Brunswick Corporation.

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