It’s 2020 so let’s talk about the coolest new boat tech

It’s 2020, which is utterly ridiculous. To cope, we’re writing about the future of boating, because nothing says future like being in the year 2020. Also, it’s fun and exciting to take a look at what’s on the horizon in the world of boating innovation.


This is the second blog in our two-part series on amazing boating. Our first was on the most influential boating inventions in history. Today, we’re looking ahead because marine tech really does advance at a rate of knots. (Sorry not sorry.)


Here’s what made the cut.


  1. Digital switching

Digital switching is all the buzz in the boating tech world. Soon, we’ll be saying goodbye to massive switch and breaker panels, and welcoming integrated digital switching control systems as the status quo.


Associate Editor of BoatUS Mark Corke sees greater integration as the future of boating.


“The world of boat electronics is changing at a head-spinning pace, and I see the boat of the future as a fully integrated entity with everything monitored and controlled from a touchscreen display at the helm,” he said.


“The real game-changer is going to be in digital switching and control of peripheral devices — from entertainment to bilge pumps and everything in between.”


  1. Autonomous boats

This month China successfully sent its first driverless cargo ship from Zhuhai’s Dong Ao Island to Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. Researchers from MIT have also designed a fleet of driverless boats, which feature high levels of manoeuvrability and control.


These autonomous ‘roboats’ can be made through 3D printing, at a relatively low cost, which makes mass production feasible. MIT says the boats could function as taxis for people, to ease traffic on the street, or to deliver goods.


Director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) Daniela Rus told MIT News.


“Imagine shifting some of infrastructure services that usually take place during the day on the road — deliveries, garbage management, waste management — to the middle of the night, on the water, using a fleet of autonomous boats.”


  1. 3D printed yachts

MIT is already developing 3D printed autonomous boats, but Gregory C Marshall, a leading Canadian Yacht Designer, believes entire yachts could be developed using 3D printing sometime in the future.


Marshall told Boat International:


“Simply put, this technology will disrupt virtually every aspect of the industry. It’s a lot closer than you think — I’d say 2050 — and we will see large component parts before that.”


  1. Electric boats

Electric boats were used way back in the 1800’s before internal combustion engines hit the market. It’s likely that 2020 and beyond will see a renaissance in the electric boat, with the rising cost of fuel, and the desire to lower carbon emissions core drivers.


Even within the electrical boating tech, we’re seeing some amazing innovations emerge.


This month, French start-up FinX showcased an electric boat motor that did not function with a propeller. The CEO and founder of FinX, Harold Guillemin said the motor is a membrane pump, inspired by the way a fish fin moves through water.


The mechanical and electrical engineer told the Electric Boat Association of France:


“We replace the propeller with a membrane that ripples like a fish fin. It’s a technology that comes from industrial and medical pumps that we have licensed to the nautical field.”



Hello 2020

Thanks for reading our take on the next boating innovations to watch out for beyond 2020. If you have any to add, please leave a comment below. We hope you had an amazing New Year, and look forward to sharing more pieces with you in the year ahead.


Oh, and if you need to shake up your marine cover, contact us to review your existing insurance. We can also recommend a comprehensive solution, if you’re looking to cover a vessel for the first time. All of our quotes are obligation-free and free of charge.


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