IBEX 365 News
Suzuki Marine USA Focuses on Environment During 2021
Suzuki Marine USA’s “Homecoming” IBEX
There’s no doubt that 2021 was a tumultuous year for the worldwide boating industry. Manufacturers faced a range of never-before-seen challenges, from Covid-related manufacturing slowdowns to raw materials shortages to shipping and delivery issues. All during a period of unprecedented boating participation and market demand.
Despite these challenges, 2021 has been an exciting year for Suzuki Marine. Most notable was a separation from Suzuki’s motorcycle division in Southern California and the formation of a new company — Suzuki Marine USA, LLC — to be headquartered in Tampa, Florida. Suzuki officially opened its new U.S. Marine headquarters in April; a few months after the company had announced the acquisition of 20 acres of waterfront property in Panama City, Florida, with plans to develop the area into a state-of-the-art Suzuki U.S. Marine Technical Center. With these two facilities in place and staffed with talented industry veterans, Suzuki Marine is proud to now be fully based in Florida.
“It is very important for our business to be based in the state that’s at the heart of the U.S. boating industry,” said George “Gus” Blakely, Executive Vice President Sales & Service for Suzuki Marine USA. “Our new facilities in Tampa and Panama City will allow us to work even more closely with boat builders, dealers, and the factory to develop the innovative outboard motors of the future. We’re particularly excited to have the 2021 IBEX Show in our new hometown — and we plan on pulling out all the stops,” added Blakely.
This process of moving into the future has already begun. Earlier this year, Suzuki became the first company to introduce a micro-plastics collection system designed for installation on outboard motors. This innovation has been undergoing testing and evaluation around the world, especially on vessels at Suzuki’s U.S. Technical Center. In addition to running these filters on Suzuki test vessels, the company is also working with the Tampa Bay-based water taxi L ‘Attitude Lindsey, installing the micro-plastics device on its twin Suzuki DF140 outboards. This boat sees a lifetime of typical recreational use every year, making it an ideal candidate for Suzuki to study the performance and long-term durability of its filter system, as well as to establish recommended cleaning intervals in real-world conditions.
Micro-plastic pollution is created when bottles, bags, wrappers, and other trash thrown into the sea are broken down into smaller and smaller pieces by the sun, saltwater, and wave action. Because they are so tiny, micro-plastics are hard to remove and threaten the health of entire marine ecosystems.
“Micro-plastics pollution is a global problem that harms fish, marine mammals, turtles, birds, and all types of marine life,” said Blakely. For some time, Suzuki has been working on practical ways to use the cooling systems of boats operating on the water to help clean up this pervasive problem.
Suzuki plans to make this filter available soon as an optional accessory for outboards 40HP and up, and eventually to include the system as standard equipment on compatible outboards. This innovation gives Suzuki owners a practical way to become part of the solution to this global issue.
This water-cleaning solution is just one facet of Suzuki’s Clean Ocean Project — a global effort to raise awareness and take action to help the marine environment. Suzuki Marine has taken action to reduce the use of and reliance on plastics in the packaging and shipping of motors and parts. So far, Suzuki Marine has eliminated about 2.3 tons of plastic waste annually and is working harder to do even more.
“As a Florida company, it is our duty to help protect the marine ecosystem and coastal environment right here at home,” said Blakely. “As avid boaters and anglers ourselves, we know the importance of protecting the environment for future generations to enjoy. As businessmen, we also recognize that healthy waterways and sustainable fisheries are vital to our future success,” added Blakely.
While much of the focus will be on environmental issues during this IBEX “homecoming” for Suzuki, there will be plenty of new technology to talk about, too. For example, Suzuki Marine will be debut its 2022 MY Suzuki Precision Controls — a line of advanced drive-by-wire shift/throttle controls compatible with new Suzuki outboard models from 115 to 350 horsepower. This system is offered in single lever binnacle, dual lever binnacle, or single lever flush mount versions to fit a variety of popular boats. It allows for synchronized control of up to six outboards using a single binnacle lever. Boaters can select to have one lever controlling one outboard, one lever controlling multiple outboards, or two levers independently controlling multiple engines for docking and close quarter maneuvers. Dual levers can also be set for single lever operation of multiple engines for versatility.
Boaters can start from two to six engines using a single key. One push of the button built into the control box will start engines in a user-designated sequence, and one push again will stop them in the same order. This smart system also allows for starting individual engines in multiple installations. By integrating Suzuki Precision Control with the new SMG4 Multi-Function Gauge or Multi-Display and activating Auto Trim, the Power Tilt and Trim settings will automatically adjust to a pre-set position at planing speed.
From becoming better stewards of the environment to exciting new product launches, Suzuki Marine has big plans for IBEX and for the year to come.