Category Archives: Boating Industry

What’s happening to the boating industry in 2014

Cleantech and 2015 Traction

2015 has been a good year for us. And we are now alumni of the Cleantech Open Pacific Northwest.


We feel we can contribute to solving the global impact of fast boats and ships, in recreational boats, military and unmanned applications. We particularly look forward to working with the electric motor community.

Please see our one-page 2015 Progress Report  –
  • March:  American Society of Naval Engineers Click Here
  • April:  Marine Propulsion Magazine (UK) –  IntelliJet nominated for Innovation Award by editors
  • July: Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) –Click Here
  • August:  Office of Naval Research Poster  Click Here
  • September:  2015 Defense Innovation Challenge – Approved and ranked “high-interest” for Showcase Display at
  • October: Cleantech Accelerator Program, Pacific NW Region
    Accepted into program in May, 2015 and “graduated” October, 2015. Paper – Boats: Technology Laggards of Transportation Industry – Click Here

IntelliJet Featured by RINA

RINAThinking Outside the Box

One of the major advantages of computer simulation is that it enables designers to think outside the box. Thanks to the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, London, UK, for making this point while calling attention to IntelliJet’s innovative features in their recent article below.

“Increasingly affordable CFD, computer simulation and 3D packages are enabling marine engineers to design more accurate solutions than is the case with building and testing, argues IntelliJet’s Jeff Jordan.”

Download the article:
Ship & Boat International July/August 2015

Computer Simulation, Design and WaterJets


IntelliJet Nominated for Innovation Award

Marine Propulsion & Auxilliary MachineryAfter careful review by the editors of Marine Propulsion and the advisory panel, the 2015 awards shortlist has been decided.”

We’re happy that IntelliJet propulsion technology for fast boats and ships is nominated for the “Innovation Award” to be presented at the Annual Marine Propulsion Conference April 15-16 in London.

Trends toward

  • fuel efficiency,
  • reduced emissions,
  • electronic control,
  • safety, and
  • reduction of damage to marine life

are making IntelliJet technology increasingly relevant.

Jet Boats/Ships Don’t Have to be Fuel Hogs

I will present a paper on this subject at
ASNE Day 2015: Engineering America’s Maritime Dominance
March 4-5, 2015 in
Arlington, VA

Military Jet Boats Now Dominant, but Not Sustainable
Valued for their high speed capability and shallow draft, marine jets beat out propellers as the dominant propulsion in commercial and military craft, even though jets consume more fuel at lower speeds. Yet lower speeds are where they spend most of their time.

Water Jet Pump CFD

Office of Naval Research
Water Jet Pump CFD

Automotive and Aircraft Technologies to the Rescue
By incorporating technology from modern aircraft and cars, jet boats can be much more fuel efficient at low and mid-range speeds without sacrificing high-speed capability or the other operational advantages of current technology.

Simulation Saves Time and Money.
My technical paper and presentation also demonstrate the incorporation of variable geometry and electronic controls in computer simulations to test systems and accurately predict performance.  The models developed in this process are directly useful in rapid prototyping.

The graphic above is an example of the development of a marine jet pump using computational fluid dynamics.

My technical paper details computer design and simulation methods, which allow fast, accurate and economical prediction of performance and fuel consumption in any operational profile. The process produces files for use with the latest part prototyping and pilot production methods.


The LCS – A Smaller Ocean?

Testing Fuel Consumption the Hard Way


7th Fleet suggests the Littoral Combat Ships, particularly LCS-1, would be more suitable for service in a smaller ocean, where it is not so far between fueling points, according to the US Government Accountability Office report GAO-14-749, Jul 30, 2014.

Fleet users expressed uncertainty about LCS’s
potential capabilities and attributes, or how they
would best utilize an LCS in their theater. Several
7th Fleet officials told us that they thought the LCS
in general might be better suited to operations in
the 5th Fleet theater (headquartered in Bahrain)
than to 7th Fleet due in part to the smaller area of
responsibility in 5th Fleet that would make range
less of a consideration.

In its first service with the 7th Feet, the LCS proves to have

  • excessive fuel consumption and
  • inadequate range.

Here is the most modern ship in the US Navy using fixed-jet technology, which cannot benefit from modern electronic controls to reduce energy consumption. Such controls have long been common on household appliances like washers, dryers, refrigerators, and toasters.

An IntelliJet-based system would make this type of ship much more practical by reducing its mid-range fuel consumption.  And the whole IntelliJet ship could be modeled and tested in computer simulation to accurately predict its performance in any scenario that it might find in the fleet.  Then the same files could be used to quickly generate pilot production parts for demonstration.

The “Jet Propelled Brick”

Efficient propulsion can’t overcome bad hull design.

The most extreme example of this may be the Amphibious Assault Vehicle, commonly referred to as a “jet propelled brick”.

I even took a shot at redesigning the brick as a submersible vehicle that would be more efficiently propelled and would offer better performance as an armored vehicle.  I presented a peer reviewed paper on the subject at ASNE Day 2012. See below.

Amphibious Assault Vehicle approaching beachWith the demise of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), the requirement for getting troops from ships over-the-horizon to shore in an environment of changing threats remains.

The ever greater availability of surface-to-surface missiles is effectively moving the horizon well beyond the historical 12-mile planning distance. The evolving Improvised Explosive Devices (IUDs) are driving Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) designs to heavier armor, which makes them lower and slower in the water, and easier to target.

Even an EFV planing over the surface at 30 kts might be detected and targeted with small missiles.

To mitigate these threats, the AAV of the future must be more effectively armored and designed for increased stealth. In my paper I explore the development of such a solution, the Submersible Amphibious Assault Vehicle (SAAV), and its appeal in an environment of economic constraints.

Amphibious Assault VehiclePresentation:
 Adapting AAVs to Changing Threats

Submersible Amphibious Asssault Vehicles (SAAVs).pdf



Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle

Marine Jet Variable Power Transmission

Never Bet Against a MicroController

Race car with computational fluid dynamicsMarine propulsion has lagged behind other transportation products because it has failed to integrate new technologies to produce innovative benefits in sustainability, safety, reliability, operating costs, manufacturing costs and lifetime ownership costs.

These failures stem from routine reliance on familiar methods of product design, development and manufacturing.  Doing it the same old way is comfortable, but produces too much of the same old results.

Simulation for Performance & Efficiency

Example of computational fluid dynamics image courtesy of Pointwise

Example of computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Image Courtesy of Pointwise.

How different would it be if marine propulsion design was not limited by these familiar product design, development, and manufacturing processes?

Let’s say the design process made maximum use of computational methods and simulation to define the mechanical dimensions and requirements of the optimum propulsion system over the expected range of operating speeds and loads.

If motor efficiency, lower emissions, and longer operating life require a variable power transmission as they do in trucks, buses and cars, why not make that part of the design?  

It seems natural that such a system would be best made using design, development and manufacturing methods commonly used for autos, trucks, and large construction equipment.

Fortunately, these methods and services are highly developed, widely available, and ever more economical, which makes this whole approach more practical than traditional methods.

Why Not Boats?

Electronically controlled components, similar to those long found in aircraft, automobiles, and even home appliances, can enhance marine propulsion.

These controls, programming methods, and associated development services are readily available.  This development path is highly automated for very large markets, so is the fastest, most exact, and most economical one available.

The only remaining question is
why has it taken so long for marine propulsion to get here?

Have Sterndrives Run Their Course?

Is the Sterndrive at the End of its Product Life?

The boating industry has relied on small evolutionary changes to justify the higher cost of new boats. This has been a losing struggle. Sterndrive boat sales, the heart of the industry, have dropped to 20% of their 1996 levels and are recovering poorly, even with the improving economy.

Sport Jet Sales Chart

Example of disruptive innovation in an otherwise flat mature boat market. This is the SportJet boat segment, starting in 1991.

Innovative Propulsion Fuels Sales Booms
Historically, the industry’s sales booms have been fueled by disruptive propulsion innovations, like outboards, sterndrives, and jets. These innovations enabled boats with new features and benefits to meet the unsatisfied needs of consumers.

For example, look at how the market has rewarded disruptive innovations in an otherwise flat mature market.  This is the SportJet-boat segment, starting in 1991.

Consumer Demand  The opportunity is now available to do this again on a larger scale.  JD Power surveys have long shown unsatisfied demands for improved performance, fuel-economy, operating costs, safety, and ease of operation, which have not been met by the industry’s evolutionary innovations. Commercial markets are looking for better sustainability and reduced operating costs.

The Basis for New Products – IntelliJet uniquely meets these demands by incorporating electronic control of power transmission and other methods commonly used in aircraft and autos.  Like the SportJet, IntelliJet is the basis for new products with much more consumer value than used boats or conventional new boats.

With the economy rising out of the recession, this IntelliJet disruptive innovation is poised to enable the sale of a lot of motors and boats. Remember that sterndrive boat sales peaked at 150,000 in a pattern similar to the one above six years after the end of the last big recession of 1982.

This is a concrete example of an immediate opportunity to innovate.

Too Many Used Recreational Boats

Many boat manufacturers have the same problems:

  • Excess capacity,
  • High mfg costs,
  • Too many used boats, and
  • Too much cutthroat competition for new boat sales by
  • Too many competitors.  

The following slide from the 2013 Boating Industry State of the Industry webinar shows the scope of the problem:

Slide from the Boating Industry and Marine Retailers of the Americas MDCE Webinar 2012 showing New 15+ Powerboat sales

The only path to significant profitability is a proprietary advantage in a class of boats that has no direct competitors, a class of boats that offers unique benefits that are prized by a significant segment of boat buyers.  

IntelliJet offers a unique combination of performance, fuel economy, safety, sustainability, reliability, and convenience, which answer needs cataloged in JD Power and industry surveys.

IntelliJet Marine, Inc. logo