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Old 07-30-2012, 05:29 PM   #1
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best bow thruster

I've deceided I could use a little extra help docking so I want to add a bow thruster. Our 38 Fu Hwa has a Dickson (?) hydraulic stern thruster. Would like to stay with hydraulic. So I was wondering if I could add the bow to the existing pump. I'll get the specs on the pump when we're on the boat this weekend. What brands should I consider .
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:43 PM   #2
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Have a Sidepower 10hp hydraulic bow thruster - 8 years of trouble-free thrusting!
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Old 07-31-2012, 05:51 AM   #3
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THE BEST?

http://www.omnithruster.com/Welcome.html
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Old 07-31-2012, 04:07 PM   #4
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I like it. 200 hp bow thruster. I could go faster sideways than forward.
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:57 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Pokey2 View Post
I've deceided I could use a little extra help docking so I want to add a bow thruster. Our 38 Fu Hwa has a Dickson (?) hydraulic stern thruster. Would like to stay with hydraulic. So I was wondering if I could add the bow to the existing pump. I'll get the specs on the pump when we're on the boat this weekend. What brands should I consider .

Since this isn't really a DIY project, I would contact companies that do this sort of work and ask for their suggestions and prices.
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:49 AM   #6
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The idea that not having thrusters as a badge of honor is crap. It seems guys always jump in to proclaim their skills are so great they just don't need them. They use thrusters on the ferries in Alaska. Probably don't need them ... of course they don't. What did they do before thrusters came along? What did we do? Obviously ther'e not really needed but they are great tools for maneuvering one's boat and I'd have one or two if I could afford them. This thread spills over into the "what does your boat say about you". It's obvious from these thruster threads that our boats say a lot about us. We're moving toward "wouldn't be caught dead w a thruster".
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:52 AM   #7
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The Eagle has an Omnithrust which I ma not to happy with, and I would not recommend for a pleasure boat under 60 ft. They are most on large yachts/ships. The reason are, they are very expensive, the body is make of steel, heavy for the bow of most boats, the thrust has to be 1 to 2 ft under the water which again many boats do not have, and they take a lot of HP, high PSI and flow required. Over the years I have made several modifications/changes to the thruster and still not satisfied. If I had to do over again I should have installed a different thruster.
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:32 AM   #8
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The idea that not having thrusters as a badge of honor is crap. It seems guys always jump in to proclaim their skills are so great they just don't need them. They use thrusters on the ferries in Alaska. Probably don't need them ... of course they don't. What did they do before thrusters came along? What did we do? Obviously ther'e not really needed but they are great tools for maneuvering one's boat and I'd have one or two if I could afford them. This thread spills over into the "what does your boat say about you". It's obvious from these thruster threads that our boats say a lot about us. We're moving toward "wouldn't be caught dead w a thruster".
Just remember there's a third possibility that some people are offering...sure ...have thrusters and use them whenever you want....just know the skills it takes to dock without them or when they are overpowered (which there isn't a lot of talk about but frequently happens).

As long as the skipper knows the vessels limitations with and without thrusters it's his/her business having/using them.

But it becomes MY business (literally as an assistance tower ) when some chucklehead takes his/her boat into a situation that I never would because of NO thruster...but they do and the thruster is overwhelmed/fails and they come crashing into my home.

So buy and use away...just remember the more you rely on...the harder the fall when something(s) fail(s)....granted it isn't often but you should be thinking along those lines...
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:58 AM   #9
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A lot will depend on what your pump can handle.
After that it is installing the tube and running hydraulic hoses.
The tube is the biggest issue as it requires fiberglass work and a template to cut the hole.
As Rwidman stated not really a DIY unless you are really handy.
several thousand just to install.

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Old 08-01-2012, 12:21 PM   #10
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Just remember there's a third possibility that some people are offering...sure ...have thrusters and use them whenever you want....just know the skills it takes to dock without them or when they are overpowered (which there isn't a lot of talk about but frequently happens).

As long as the skipper knows the vessels limitations with and without thrusters it's his/her business having/using them.

So buy and use away...just remember the more you rely on...the harder the fall when something(s) fail(s)....granted it isn't often but you should be thinking along those lines...
Agreed that the boat owner/operator should know how to operate their craft without all the bells and whistles (radar, charting software, thrusters, etc.) because if one or more components fail, you want to get home safely.
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:49 PM   #11
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I'm installing a Side-Power hydraulic unit. I did my research and for the money Side-power won hands down.
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:53 PM   #12
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Agreed that the boat owner/operator should know how to operate their craft without all the bells and whistles (radar, charting software, thrusters, etc.) because if one or more components fail, you want to get home safely.
A bow thruster is essential on some craft. Unless you never plan on docking the boat. Some vessels have enough windage that tight maneuvering in a crosswind can get very expensive!!
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:21 PM   #13
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A bow thruster is essential on some craft. Unless you never plan on docking the boat. Some vessels have enough windage that tight maneuvering in a crosswind can get very expensive!!
Then that is EXACTLY the type of boat and owner i am talking about.

I would be very cautious taking a boat into certain situations KNOWING that if the thruster fails or is overwhelmed it could be an issue.

I'm not saying you can't/shouldn't...heck if you are single screw you have the same problem...or more!!

I'm just saying you better not become so complacent that certain skills/knowledge shouldn't become too rusty....or worse...never attained.
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:37 PM   #14
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I don't want this to turn into a "Real men don't use thrusters" thread.
In my situation I would just feel more comfortable with thrusters. I bought my first boat in 1981 and have progressed from 16 ft to 38 ft with many in between. One thing I've learned in 30 years is a, stress free happy captain makes for a better journey.

I do plan on doing this myself. A friend is a fiberglass man and we're going to swap services. I have done most if not all of my own work, So I am plenty capable of doing it. It's also the only way I can afford boating. $3500 budget is what I'm thinking (hoping).

Plan is to do this during winter layup so I'm doing my homework now.
All replys are greatly appreciated.
Clay
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:47 PM   #15
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Ther glass work is actually pretty easy as long as the manufacturer supplies enough instructions about tube and reinforcement...I'd use epoxy or a really high bond strength vinylester...leaning heavily to epoxy as I have more enxperience with it.

I feel bow thrusters are in general an "easier see" for docking...meaning their action/reaction gives a clearer sight picture quicker to the average boater. Not that stern thrusters aren't good...I don't have a lot of experience with them but I think their use requires greater skills to begin with.

So adding a bow thruster if it makes you feel more comfortable is great...just try and learn the ropes without them occasionally, those same seamanship skills may come in handy some day when the thrusters aren't of any use.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:06 PM   #16
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Installing a bow thruster can be a DIY job, if you are familiar with f'glass work. It is very straight forward and SidePower even rents the tool to make the job of tunnel installation a breeze. Just mustering up the cajones to carve two monster holes in a perfectly sound boat would be the biggie. Kinda like bungee jumping or parachuting, jumping off is the hard part!

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Old 08-08-2012, 10:16 PM   #17
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I don't get the patronizing..... A thruster has NOTHING to do with getting home safely. Practicing without it (if you have one), is like practicing without one of your engines if you have twins. Should the average weekend boater with twins practice docking with just 1 engine (because you never know)? Is that really practical? Now, I am not slamming those who do, but reality is that it's not something that most boaters with twins do. So for some to say that others shouldn't get a thruster because they'll forget how to dock as a single screw vessel, is ridiculous.

Thrusters are a handy tool for those single engine vessels fortunate enough to have them. Are they always needed? No, but I am sure glad I have one.
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:23 AM   #18
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They use thrusters on the ferries in Alaska. Probably don't need them ... of course they don't. What did they do before thrusters came along?
Probably used tugs, or warped the vessels in, or used some other labor and time-consuming arrangement which in the end means more expensive. In the commercial world thrusters save time, reduce labor, and save money. I've related my experience on a 600-plus foot roll-on/roll-off ship in the late 1970s that used its bow thruster to get away from a pier. No tug necessary although the ports required one to be standing by.

A thruster lets you do things that you otherwise couldn't and these "other things" may well prevent an accident or damage.

While I agree in principle with psneeld about learning and practicing maneuvering without a thruster if you have one, I doubt we would do that if we did. Given the reliability of stuff these days--- particuarly of hydraulic thrusters that the OP is contemplating--- I suspect the risk of having a thruster fail is actually very low, particularly if the boat is fitted with a good one.

We have two engines and have had to maneuver to and dock in our slip on one engine twice. But we don't practice running the boat on one engine. We've run the boat enough to how it will react on either engine alone and so can plan our maneuvers accordingly should we have to operate on one.

In some ways I feel the same about practicing operating a boat like ours with some of the systems failed as I do about skydiving-- why practice something that has to work the first time? That's a kind of flip attitude and it's certainly the wrong one for commercial vessels where the consequences of making a major mistake can be pretty severe---- can you say Costa Concordia?

But I think thrusters have become every bit as standard equipment on new and newer boats as the main engines and rudders. So for the people who have these boats, using a thruster is the norm. Like power steering, it's not something they use if they "need it." It's something they use as a matter of course. If we had a few thousand bucks lying around with nothing else to spend it on we'd put a thruster in our boat, and once it was there we'd use it all the time in our maneuvering. The boat we chartered before buying our boat had a thruster and we thought it was just great. It saves time and it reduces the risk of damaging something. Sure, you can do just about everything you can do with a thruster without one. But if you have one, why deliberately make things more difficult or risky by not using it?

I think this topic keeps coming up because there are so many of us with older boats that don't have thrusters. Perhaps looking down on the people who do and who use them is a way of making ourselves feel better about not being able to afford that new Fleming or Nordhavn or Eastbay.

PS-- After re-reading this I should say that we don't operate our boat with the attitude that nothing will ever fail. We operate with the attitude that if something can go wrong it will so let's not set ourselves up for a major problem if it does. But we don't deliberately practice operating the boat with one or more systems down.
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:07 AM   #19
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They use thrusters on the ferries in Alaska. Probably don't need them ... of course they don't.
Having sailed on AMHS vessels as an engineer, and spent a lot of time working on the bow thrusters of several, I can assure you that the loss is a nuisance but that is about all.

The things make life much easier, safer, and faster around the docks but by no measure is it is disaster when one fails. I've never seen a master hesitate to use a bow thruster because he or anyone else onboard thought it diminished his skill or manhood.
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Old 08-09-2012, 05:55 AM   #20
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I don't get the patronizing..... A thruster has NOTHING to do with getting home safely. Practicing without it (if you have one), is like practicing without one of your engines if you have twins. Should the average weekend boater with twins practice docking with just 1 engine (because you never know)? Is that really practical? Now, I am not slamming those who do, but reality is that it's not something that most boaters with twins do. So for some to say that others shouldn't get a thruster because they'll forget how to dock as a single screw vessel, is ridiculous.

Thrusters are a handy tool for those single engine vessels fortunate enough to have them. Are they always needed? No, but I am sure glad I have one.
Some skippers DO practice with one engine just enough to see kow the boat handles under different circumstances.

Those that don't often have an assistance tower and use them...you would be flaberghasted at how many boaters call us as soon as they lose that engine..they say they can't control their boat....which is total BS.

If you don't practice something...you lose those skills to a point...not totally or the concept...but your skills are definitely reduced...rediculous? Then why do atheletes, the military practice all the time and professionals take recurring training? Brcsause....it is not rediculous. I live and work on the water...I would say at least 90 percent of boaters can barely handle their boats in benign conditions...thow in more than 10 knots of wind or a knot of current and they are just barely able to manuever in tight quarters.

Buy a thruster, use a thruster and don't ever practice if you don't want to. But as I said before it isn't about being a man or not...it's about being prepared and good seamanship. Enjoy....it's not worth getting all upset about.

(till something goes wrong...)
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