You can “drive” the boat from either the external view or from inside the wheelhouse (I really want to call it a cockpit!). I’ve found that I end up using a combination of both on most missions. The view from the wheelhouse (or bridge) is nicely done and you can use the mouse to pan around and look in any direction you wish. You’ll soon find that, just like in aviation, keeping your head on a swivel is essential to successfully navigating the hazards that threaten your ship. The various vessels have different wheelhouses and they vary in quality from superb to good. Unfortunately, the actual displays (MFD-type), buttons, and controls are non-functional with the exception of the map window which is mirrored on, well, all of the displays in the wheelhouse.
Controlling the ships is very simple: push forward on your controller to put the engine(s) into forward, pull back to reduce power through neutral and into reverse. Left and right move the rudder and the bow thruster is moved by moving the bow thruster stick with the mouse. The throttles can be moved independently, allowing for differential thrust maneuvers, but you’ll have to use the mouse to do this due to the lack of split throttle controller support. Combining all of the controls is sometimes necessary to get your vessel doing what you want it to do while wind will conspire to make your job even more difficult.