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Bow Thruster


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2 weeks today i will be on route to Richardsons to hire a boat for the week, not hired with them before so looking forward to it.

We have never had a boat with a bow thruster and dont remember ever having any problems with mooring up. What are the benefits of using this system and when am i likely to use it.


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If you can manage fine without a bow thruster, then simply avoid using it.

They're best used when you're stationary, or moving very slowly. I only tend to use them is when reversing into a stern on mooring.

They should only be used for a couple of seconds at a time, otherwise the motor can burn out, or you drain your batteries. They are NOT good for turning the boat around whilst someone else holds the back of the boat in to the bank, as I've witnessed before. Use the ropes for this.

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They should only be used for a couple of seconds at a time, otherwise the motor can burn out, or you drain your batteries. They are NOT good for turning the boat around whilst someone else holds the back of the boat in to the bank, as I've witnessed before. Use the ropes for this.

Hi Pete,

I've never had or used one but assumed they were useful for getting on/off moorings when the wind is either pushing you on/off. From what you say above I wonder how efficient they are?

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Hi Mark,

Bow Thrusters are a very useful tool and the vast majority of ships these days are fitted with them as a manouvering aid.

Please dont view one as a further complication and if you can handle a boat without one you will only find that they will make your life easier not harder.

Any time you are coming into a side on mooring and you are coming in a bit too quickly sideways a short burst of the BT will cushin the controlled collision that any berthing is. If you make the approach and find you are too far out then a burst towards the quay will save any requirement for the rope handeler to have long legs (never Jump).

Leaving a berth there will be no requirememnt for a push off as a burst away from the berth will send the bow out or a burst towards the berth will kick the stern out.

Reversing will be so much easier as you can steer the boat in reverse by using the BT instead of sawing back and forth on the throttle. BT ' s as mentioned earlier are better when moving slowly fwd or when stopped. They are best when moving astern. Take my word for it otherwise I may have to dredge up a long tome on the pivot point of vessels and how it moves around when changing from headway to sternway :naughty::naughty:

So thats everyday berthing operations covered.

When these things really come into their own is when there is any wind.

Broads boats being generally flat bottomed will blow around all over the place in any wind and while this can be counteracted by using the rudder and throttle to control the stern the bow tends to do its own thing. The BT gives you control over the pointy end. This is most useful when stern mooring in a crosswind.

As mentioned earlier they can get you off the berth when pinned on by an onshore wind without having to resort to using boathooks mops etc to get the bow away from the quay, and can save the risk of a broken leg by some well meaning folk using a well placed boot to fend off when being blown alongside.

Contrary to what is said above they are ideal for turning boats around in tight spaces and if its really tight then using the ropes and the BT is really useful.

With practice you should be able to move the boat sideways with no fwd or aft movement by juggling the ahead and astern movements and applying the BT but as I said this will take some practice. (yes its easier with a stern thruster as well but it can be done).

Getting in and out of tight spaces becomes a much more relaxed manouver as you are in total control of the boat even if it is windy.


Battery drain is not normally a problem as the engine is usually running when the BT is in use. You cannot burn out the BT motor as thay are protected and the BT will stop working before you get anywhere near burn out. Anyway they are only used for short periods when mooring anyway. The ones that have given problems are when Hirers use them to steer the boat when underway normally as this is certainly not what they are for.

The only one I can think of is if you dont realise that by applying the BT one way the stern will go the other but that is basic boat handeling and as you have already said you had no probs in the past without a BT so you will know this already.

Oh and you will have a few Traditionalists who will accuse you of cheating but I think thts more to do with the green eyed monster :mrgreen: rather than any thing else.

Few who have actually had a boat with a BT will want to go back to one without.

Enjoy Your Holiday and I hope you have found this helpful.


I did Rod,as i have only just got mine and have not used it yet looking forward to the extra help and keeping my stress levels down. :party2::party2::party2:

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Once again, fantastic detail - thanks.

I have been thinking about getting one fitted to our boat, for ease of mooring instead of battling the tide and wind, especially when coming into our mooring and risking hitting Pete's boat (only joking Pete :pirate ).

Can anyone recommend the best / cheapest place to get one fitted?

Are there many different types / makes or any to avoid?

ANy other help will be useful.


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He isnt that bad is he Pete :naughty::naughty::naughty::naughty:


We had a Sleipner unit marketed as Side Power fitted to ours by JPC (Moores) at Wroxham and although fitted in 06 was quoted (and honoured) at 05 prices so I am a little out of date as far as current prices go but the BT was just less than 2K.

Best ask Barry about current prices as he has just had his done.

There is another thread on here somewhere but I am too dumb to put up a link as to why we chose JPC for the work but briefly they were the only ones that quoted that identified a problem with our Hull form as they had retrofitted BT's to their own Braemores which is the same boat as ours.

Perhaps someone who knows what they are doing could post the link to the old thread.


Hi,Rod,Just had a Volvo BT fitted by broom boats of Brundall,it is a CT600 which equates to a 4kw power unit and to get it into a bounty because there is only about 10 inches under the floorboards it is a horizontal engine and cost £2,850 fitted and situated only about 5 feet from the bows so gets maximum advantage and there is also a dedicated 100amp battery situated about 4 foot from the engine.The engineer Bringing the boat back to its mooring remarked how pleased he was at the power shown by the BT very responsive.It is the first and maybe not the last to be fitted to a bounty 37 by them due to its very shallow hull shape.It was a very profesional job done and am made up,less stress for me and the wife now.


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People who know me will often see me coming alongside with my stern into the tide instead of turning around. Again this is a simple manouver but you really have to know the techneque before it should be attempted.

I could do that in our ship port side to and it would look very professional the stern would tuck in virtually within the boats length. Starboard side to however would see the stern pirouetting to port and out into the centre of the river (not that I would try it starboard side to). The moral for me with the kick Kiki has is to wherever possible and unless there is no chance... go port side to. :?

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Nigel and Julie, Hi

I'm not too sure about libel laws and so I won't name the one I wouldn't use again... but it's the one fitted as new to our Beneteau Antares 760! It doesn't have a shear-pin fitted and when we ingested a passing rope it bent the shaft and we had to have a replacement. (about £1000...). It relies on the fuse blowing but this obviously didn't happen quickly enough. BTW it's a good idea to keep a spare fuse for your B/T as they are not universally available.

We had a Vetus B/T fitted to our previous boat by Goodchild Marine at Burgh Castle and they were very competitive with other yards we tried.

With the B/T when mooring alongside we always motor astern into the prevailing wind/current. I then step off and tie down the stern and Mary-Jane just uses the B/T to bring the bow in for me to reach the fore-line. The following Utube links help.

Good Luck!

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You’ve already named it John, it’s easy to find out whose thrusters Benny use as O/E. :naughty:

As it happens all you’ve done is give an factual account of what happened which will be documented by whoever replaced it so you’re safe. :grin:

Rest easy that the fragrant Mme’s or her purveyors of O/E’s lawyers will not be troubling you. :)

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