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Old 06-16-2018, 09:45 AM   #1
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Bow Thruster installations

I could use some guidance from the Trawler Brain Trust regarding a Bow Thruster. I’m considering installing one on a 35’ Chien Hwa single engine and would like to get some comments as to its value in docking and budget costs. All comments would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old 06-16-2018, 10:25 AM   #2
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It will probably cost as much or more to install a bowthruster as the component itself.


If you don't have twins then I consider a thruster (either stern or bow) essential.


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Old 06-16-2018, 10:48 AM   #3
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Dick, my suggestion is to find out what size thruster they recommend for your boat,, then go up two sizes. That's what I did on my boat and I've never been sorry. You'll never hear anyone say "Geesh, I wish my thruster didn't have so darn much power."
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Old 06-16-2018, 11:25 AM   #4
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Why not go crazy and thrust bow and stern?? I am also looking at adding a bow thruster to my 55. I'm leaning toward a 24v Sidepower.
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Old 06-16-2018, 02:17 PM   #5
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We added a stern thruster last year. Love it. Simple installation. My wife handles the bow lines and after she gets the bow line on I would climb down from the flybridge to get the stern line. By the time I would get down without jumping the stern usually would blow off the dock and I would have to go back up and maneuver the stern back to the dock and try to get down faster. Decided it was asking for trouble trying to do it faster so I added the stern thruster. Now I have a wireless remote that I can use standing at the stern to bring it back to the dock, no more jumping down or rushing. It took two of us two days to install it. I am going to eventually add a pod bow thruster since I don’t have room inside to install a tunnel.
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Old 06-16-2018, 03:05 PM   #6
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Lots of great thoughts, thanks guys! Any comments on budgets?
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Old 06-16-2018, 03:19 PM   #7
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When I was shopping for a boat, my broker told me to use $4K as a budgetary number for installing a bow thruster. Bought a boat with one, so I can't say how accurate that is. Also I agree with the "go up 2 sizes" idea. Only increases the cost by the equipment, install is the same.
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Old 06-16-2018, 03:26 PM   #8
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I would think 7k or so,installed.
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Old 06-16-2018, 04:16 PM   #9
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Stern thruster installed is just under 5K.
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Old 06-16-2018, 04:28 PM   #10
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I spent about $4K on my stern thruster and I installed it myself. I also went oversize.
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:24 PM   #11
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I've heard from multiple owners to budget $10K for a bow thruster installed by a yard and approx 60% for a DIY installation including a dedicated battery.
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Old 06-16-2018, 07:06 PM   #12
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Strongly urge consulting Florida Bowthrusters. Excellent work, great reputation and, as I learned, life time customer support.
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Old 06-16-2018, 07:08 PM   #13
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If I were having someone do the install, I would figure 8 to 10K for a bow thruster. Unless you do a pod thruster then the labor would be less but the thruster itself would cost more.
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Old 06-16-2018, 09:41 PM   #14
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FWIW, I like the suggestion to find out what the recommended thruster size would be and then upsize from there. If you noticed the photo of my boat that I posted in the “feeling inadequate” thread, I returned to that dock this afternoon as the current was really coming in with the 16’ tide change today. The current was pushing me directly away from the dock and the wind was at my stern pushing me forward. I have about 6’ of clearance from the boats fore and aft. The boat in front has a 17’ beam and the barge looks about 25’. Today was the first time I felt I could use stronger thrusters. The thrusters couldn’t overcome the current.

My first approach was a failure. My second approach I aimed at the dock right in front of the barge and then start to spin the boat so my wife could step off the swim step on the dock and get a line wrapped about a cleat. Then I put it in forward and the combination of that and the bow thruster were enough to get me close enough to step off with the bow line.

I’ve never had to use the thrusters more than in brief, short pulses. Today, was the first time I have ever been concerned about thermal cutout. Granted, the longest I probably ran the thrusters continuously was 30 seconds, but to me that seemed like an eternity.
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Old 06-18-2018, 03:38 AM   #15
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Had a bow thruster installed last November, all up cost was $6500 Australian. Don't use it much but stress levels drop on those windy days.
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Old 06-18-2018, 04:18 PM   #16
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Ditto, ditto, ditto what GFC said. I installed what was recommended an have regretted
it ever since. Also, if I had it to do again I'd go with a 24v system. 12 to 24v chargers aren't that expensive now.
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