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Old 07-16-2013, 04:37 PM   #21
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[QUOTE=Larry M;168507][QUOTE=bligh;168474]I was taught to maneuver boats without thrusters unless in an emergency...
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Same here. When we started boating, I didn't even know what a bow thruster was. After 50 years of running single engine boats I never used one. Now that we have one we don't depend on it to get us in our out of a slip. If we can't get into a slip or to the dock, without using the thruster, we don't go there.
What a waste!
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:42 PM   #22
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Well, perhaps we almost all think we're better than most everyone else. ... Perhaps the most experienced helmsman of multi-engine boats are multi-engine-airplane pilots.
Lets see one back a 747 into a slip agaist current with a crosswind
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:47 PM   #23
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I'll offer up a fairly contrarian opinion:

There is no need for either a bow or stern thruster.

Island Eagle is 60 feet, single screw, and has plenty of windage as you can see from my avatar. With that said, I have never encountered a situation where I have not been able to dock her in complete safety. Yes, you have to plan it out. Yes, you have to get your spring lines in place. Yes, you have to practice. Yes, you have to know your boat.

Here's my advice: try living without a thruster, and practice! One really great way to practice is to throw a life jacket overboard and then go around and put the boat right beside the life jacket. Your partner in the cockpit should be able to grab it with a boathook. The other great way to practice is by approaching a mooring buoy. You should be able to just kiss it.

For "normal" boats in the 30 to 40 foot range, learning to handle the boat is actually a lot of fun. Try it!

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Old 07-16-2013, 04:50 PM   #24
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[QUOTE=markpierce;168512][QUOTE=Larry M;168507]
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Originally Posted by bligh View Post
I was taught to maneuver boats without thrusters unless in an emergency...

What a waste!
Mark: I never said I didn't use it, I just don't depend on it.
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:53 PM   #25
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With a 50' boat that has a lot of windage I have been struggling with the same question and have received several quotes for a bow thruster installed.

The cost of $13,500 + haul out etc is alot for us and that money can go along way in our cruising kitty so for right now we are going to keep it in our nice to have but not essential line item.

When I spoke with the owner of the stabilizer company that installed our stabilizers for the PO he said that he installs alot of thruster systems, he recommends going with a 48v system that is designed for continuous use. He also said spend time aboard and in different situations and most people can get use to working their boat fine without them.
Mark X2

On your DF a 24 Volt unit will work just fine, say around 8KW. Like so many boat toys, it likely comes down to allocation of resources as to whether one wants a bow thruster on a trawler less than 40'. On larger trawlers it sure is nice during those tough current and wind times and helps a bunch on resale.

Many decades ago I ran for years without AC in my cars, it is common place now.
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:54 PM   #26
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... Perhaps the most experienced helmsman of multi-engine boats are multi-engine-airplane pilots.
You didn't have to say that, Mark, but thanks, anyway.
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:28 PM   #27
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I gotta go with Bligh and Boat poker on this. Thrusters are great! No doubt. But should not be a must have. I'm old school but in my opinion, if you can't dock without a thruster, maybe you shouldn't be docking at all.
In my 1960s and 1980s sailboating days (in the same geographic environment I boat now), I didn't have electronic charts, GPS, radar, depth finder, or VHF. They were not "must haves" or I wouldn't be here. Now I use them constantly because they are available.
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Old 07-16-2013, 06:15 PM   #28
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The bottom line:

IF you can afford them (bow and stern) they are great!
If you can't afford them, practice a lot!!
Knowing how to dock WITHOUT them is a MUST wether you have them or not.

We have a single screw that came with a bow thruster.
It was very helpfull, but the time came when it failed on a very gusty night and knowing how to dock without it SAVED the night.

We could afford a stern and we added it.
It's called COMFORT, not NEED.
It too has had an issue now and then... Knowing how to dock without one, the other or either: PRICELESS!

Our tipping point was not price as much as COMFORT.
If you can do it without...great!..... BUT... Trust me: with one or both it's just JOY!

Our boating goal is to enJOY the entire trip.
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:18 PM   #29
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Wow, thanks for all the great input to my question. I did not mention that I will be single handed on the yacht. I think I will try to find my first yacht equipped with one and practise without it.
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:21 PM   #30
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Can someone comment on bow thrusters or stern thrusters as to the necessity of them. Are they an item that someone with little experience should consider getting when they purchase a boat.

They are a necessity imo for a single engine trawler. Either one will do just fine. Your transmission will thank you and so will your significant other.
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:28 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by IslandEagle View Post
I'll offer up a fairly contrarian opinion:

There is no need for either a bow or stern thruster.

Island Eagle is 60 feet, single screw, and has plenty of windage as you can see from my avatar. With that said, I have never encountered a situation where I have not been able to dock her in complete safety. Yes, you have to plan it out. Yes, you have to get your spring lines in place. Yes, you have to practice. Yes, you have to know your boat.

Here's my advice: try living without a thruster, and practice! One really great way to practice is to throw a life jacket overboard and then go around and put the boat right beside the life jacket. Your partner in the cockpit should be able to grab it with a boathook. The other great way to practice is by approaching a mooring buoy. You should be able to just kiss it.

For "normal" boats in the 30 to 40 foot range, learning to handle the boat is actually a lot of fun. Try it!

Scott Welch
Island Eagle

Honestly, have you ever had transmission issues? I can dock my boat just fine without my stern thruster, but man, I do have to use my transmission 90% more than I do when I use my thruster.....and I almost never have to fling it in reverse to get the prop walk. I'm convinced that a thruster is better for an engine's transmission.
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:40 PM   #32
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I would agree they are completely unecessary on a twin engine boat. With a single, if your boat was built with a large rudder and you have a lot of room in the fairway they are unecessary. However, If your boat is like mine, with a relitively small rudder, an loa of 39'8" and a fairway that is less than 39' wide, the bow thruster is pretty much required. I can get out of the slip without it by backing and filling multiple times, playing with spring lines, etc. Being able to do that and HAVING to do that are two different things. If I wanted to really work at boating I'd trade the trwaler for a sailboat.
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:03 PM   #33
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Yes, I have a bow thruster and know how to use it. Had it installed when the boat came off the truck in New Orleans. But, the day will come when it fails like all boat stuff does, and I'll get Old School docked, no problem.
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:21 PM   #34
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If you are reasonably agile and really understand and practice with spring lines...thrusters are on the desired but not needed list.

If not and single handling a single a lot...spend the money and enjoy your boating.
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:40 PM   #35
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They are a necessity imo for a single engine trawler.
I disagree. They might be a "nice to have", but "neceessity"? No way. I've had Island Eagle ten years and have never once felt that it would have helped to have a bow thruster. And let you think that I never dock -- last week I had to dock bow-out BEHIND the 158 footer here, right where the 50 footer and the little boat are: http://goo.gl/maps/05SWq

Ease in slowly down the channel past After Eight (the 158 footer), favouring the starboard side. Back and fill to port and get the bow 6 feet off the dock. Throw the bow line down and lead it to the aft (shore-most) cleat on the dock. Use that line as a spring and using full port rudder bring the stern in against the dock. Throw a bow and stern line down, and you're done in less than 10 minutes.

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Either one will do just fine. Your transmission will thank you and so will your significant other.
First, transmissions are designed to be shifted. A few back-and-forths at idle are not going to hurt anything. And second, when you take it nice and slow, your S. O. will thank you as well.

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Old 07-16-2013, 08:44 PM   #36
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Honestly, have you ever had transmission issues?
Nope, never.

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I can dock my boat just fine without my stern thruster, but man, I do have to use my transmission 90% more than I do when I use my thruster.....and I almost never have to fling it in reverse to get the prop walk. I'm convinced that a thruster is better for an engine's transmission.
Well, I'm not sure that shifting is bad for the transmissions... in any event, I have a massive Allison MH tranny rated at about 500 HP, it weighs half a ton, and I'm running about 180 HP through it, so I think it should last about forever.

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Old 07-16-2013, 08:44 PM   #37
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I disagree. They might be a "nice to have", but "neceessity"? No way. I've had Island Eagle ten years and have never once felt that it would have helped to have a bow thruster. And let you think that I never dock -- last week I had to dock bow-out BEHIND the 158 footer here, right where the 50 footer and the little boat are: http://goo.gl/maps/05SWq

Ease in slowly down the channel past After Eight (the 158 footer), favouring the starboard side. Back and fill to port and get the bow 6 feet off the dock. Throw the bow line down and lead it to the aft (shore-most) cleat on the dock. Use that line as a spring and using full port rudder bring the stern in against the dock. Throw a bow and stern line down, and you're done in less than 10 minutes.

First, transmissions are designed to be shifted. A few back-and-forths at neutral are not going to hurt anything. And second, when you take it nice and slow, your S. O. will thank you as well.

Scott Welch
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Correct...not a necessity...

And transmissions can take a HUGE beating....I know I'm in the assistance towing business and the Borg-Warner in the tow boat sees a rougher life in one week of ungroundings than most trawler trannys see in a lifetime (with a decent skipper of course...)
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:51 PM   #38
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We have a single with both bow and stern thrusters. Maybe not necessary, but we boat more because my wife is much more confident. For us it's about being comfortable in using our boat when we want to.
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:55 PM   #39
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My 2 cents...

I beat this issue around in my mind for weeks while boat shopping. Both sides of the coin make sense to me, these are pleasure boats. If a thruster brings you pleasure get one. If not, don't worry about it.

We bought our first larger boat about 6 months ago, single engine - no thruster. The first time putting it in the slip it woulda been nice to have one. Every time since then I haven't given it a second thought. There are plenty of times it would of been nice but got by fine without it, and I haven't used a spring line yet. I'm in a reasonably tight fairway with a teeny tiny planing hull rudder and have thus far managed to park the boat every time with the gelcoat still intact.

Everybody is instructed to stay seated while docking and it's just me at the wheel until the boat is in the slip or adjacent to the dock or other boat. Sure I've looked like a fool a few times and taken a second shot at it a few as well but that's how we learn.

Bow thruster, stern thruster, harbor tug, use whatever you feel you need to enjoy your boating experience. I only ever spend 5 to 10 minutes per day maximum docking the boat the rest of the time we're out enjoying it.
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:47 PM   #40
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I would agree they are completely unecessary on a twin engine boat. With a single, if your boat was built with a large rudder and you have a lot of room in the fairway they are unecessary. However, If your boat is like mine, with a relitively small rudder,.....
My sentiments exactly!
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