Bow thrusters to have or not?

Written by Roel Jansen
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A lot of posts go about the difficulties encountered by wind when maneuvering in tight waters. 

Not very often the use of a bow or stern thruster is mentioned to help boaters to overcome some of those difficulties. And imho that's a pity as for a lot of those cases, they are a very good help. First they are a help and don't expect miracles out of them but that goes for Duo props too. When we bought our first Cruiser I refused to put a bow thruster in. We got a BIII Mercruiser drive and that should according to a lot of people solve the problem, for docking stern in. Not our experience how ever. When moved up to the Bayliner 340 the Admiral insisted on having a bow thruster or no new boat at all. So we got one. And now I must admit that I was stubborn not to have one in the previous boat. We boat in a country that is flat and almost every day there is wind blowing. We have lots of locks and bridges and tight waters in Marinas. That's were the benefit of a thruster is shown. In a lock where the wind is blowing the bow away from the wall, a small correction with the thruster brings the bow back. It also prevents the bow and a part of the hull being smashed to the wall when the wind comes from the wrong direction. Docking back in what we do in our and the most Marinas over here, gives  (as he we have remote) the Admiral the possibility to get us between the two poles of (our)  a slip.  Laying and waiting for a lock or bridge to open also is done with small corrections of the steering in combination with the thruster. Also when we need to part from the wall and wind is blowing from the wrong side mostly there is no room to part back wards out and so we use the thruster. Our experience is that you should have a thruster that has more power than the one that is advised for your boat. Also the power of the batteries is very import and and should be higher than is strictly needed for your boat. The price tag over here is about € K5. to let a Marina pro install it. In our opinion that price shouldn't withhold any boater that wants to have his or the Admiral's peace of mind and get one installed. Heck thrusters at boats with Stern drives unfortunately will only give some help but not that much that it makes an extra investment worth the money, imho. There are different Bow thruster systems on the market. We have chosen for the proven solution and went for electric.

And as said never I will have a boat without a  bow thruster any more.

Roel Jansen.

 

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