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Old 05-17-2021, 12:29 PM   #1
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External Bow Thrusters

We are looking at adding bow thrusters to our boat and was wondering if anyone has any experience with external types like those in the following links:

https://www.yachtthruster.com/overview/

https://sideshift.com/

Even though where we currently keep our boat bow strikes with floating debris is really not an issue, our plans are to take our boat to the San Juan Islands in the near future.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Chris
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Old 05-17-2021, 01:36 PM   #2
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I have one as in the first link. I love it. Because it sits lower in the water it has more kick. Others sound like dishwashers as they are closer to the surface and what you are hearing is cavitation, air mixed with water, I'm talking the traditional tunnel type problem. You can use the bow thruster longer as they are water cooled versus a tunnel type.

When I was selecting a type, I chose a tunnel type but my hull is glass over wood, original build. Because of the wood keel a tunnel type would not work. Now that I have my external thuster, I prefer it.
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Old 05-17-2021, 01:40 PM   #3
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I have one as in the first link. I love it. Because it sits lower in the water it has more kick. Others sound like dishwashers as they are closer to the surface and what you are hearing is cavitation, air mixed with water, I'm talking the traditional tunnel type problem. You can use the bow thruster longer as they are water cooled versus a tunnel type.

When I was selecting a type, I chose a tunnel type but my hull is glass over wood, original build. Because of the wood keel a tunnel type would not work. Now that I have my external thuster, I prefer it.
Any concerns about damaging it and/or the hull by hitting debris while under power?
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Old 05-17-2021, 01:49 PM   #4
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I had the sideshifts (bow/stern) on my last boat. They were a fairly easy DIY install. Pulled the boat on a Friday afternoon and had it back in the water on Monday. Did the install by myself. Just make sure you buy all the accessory/supplies you will need for the install and it's fairly straight forward. I would suggest going a size up if you can. Always better to have extra boost than not enough...
We also cruised to San Juans, never had an issue with log strikes. The Sideshifts are designed to come out of the water when you're moving at speed. So unless you're going very slow, logs shouldn't be an issue (other than the fact that you hit a log in the first place)
Either options, you will probably be very happy with and save a TON vs. a through hull option. I did bow/stern all the wiring, batteries, controllers, etc. for less than the cost of JUST a through hull bow thruster. Also did it 2-3 days vs. weeks or longer, depending on availability of the yards...
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Old 05-17-2021, 02:31 PM   #5
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I think Pau Hana has the external thruster on his boat. Maybe PM him.
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Old 05-17-2021, 03:29 PM   #6
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I had the sideshifts (bow/stern) on my last boat. They were a fairly easy DIY install. Pulled the boat on a Friday afternoon and had it back in the water on Monday. Did the install by myself. Just make sure you buy all the accessory/supplies you will need for the install and it's fairly straight forward. I would suggest going a size up if you can. Always better to have extra boost than not enough...
We also cruised to San Juans, never had an issue with log strikes. The Sideshifts are designed to come out of the water when you're moving at speed. So unless you're going very slow, logs shouldn't be an issue (other than the fact that you hit a log in the first place)
Either options, you will probably be very happy with and save a TON vs. a through hull option. I did bow/stern all the wiring, batteries, controllers, etc. for less than the cost of JUST a through hull bow thruster. Also did it 2-3 days vs. weeks or longer, depending on availability of the yards...
Thanks. I feel confident that I can install. Good thing is my boat is on a trailer and has to be out of the water from Oct 15 until May 15.
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Old 05-17-2021, 03:30 PM   #7
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I think Pau Hana has the external thruster on his boat. Maybe PM him.
Thanks
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Old 05-17-2021, 05:23 PM   #8
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Hitting debris in the water. Yes I am concerned but I also have a gasser stern drive, same worry. My refit guy created kind of a fiberglass cradle to cuddle the unit, instead of just using the collar that was designed for it.
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Old 05-18-2021, 06:24 AM   #9
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Build an over the bow mount for a 25+hp electric start / shift outboard and you will not be limited to electric timeouts for cooling , or want for power.
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Old 05-18-2021, 07:36 AM   #10
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If you feel you need a bow thruster get a thru hull installed. A stern thruster can be a "hang on" unit but go with quality for the bow.

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Old 05-18-2021, 06:38 PM   #11
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The Exturn thrusters are a quality unit. Pau Hana put one on his boat and says he loves it.
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Old 05-18-2021, 11:45 PM   #12
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The Exturn thrusters are a quality unit. Pau Hana put one on his boat and says he loves it.

Thanks
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Old 05-29-2021, 06:22 AM   #13
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Side Shift all they way

I have bow and stern thrusters from Side Shift. Go with their largest and you won’t regret it
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Old 05-29-2021, 07:16 AM   #14
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Thanks
Yes, we installed the Exturn external bow thruster in 2015, and love it. Touch base with any questions.

Here a write up:

https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...ays-22979.html
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Old 05-30-2021, 09:12 AM   #15
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Other than being butt ugly the external bow thrusters seem to work well. They are like a large growth on the end of your nose.
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Old 05-30-2021, 10:03 AM   #16
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Other than being butt ugly the external bow thrusters seem to work well. They are like a large growth on the end of your nose.
It’s unseen, quiet, and efficient- all good things.
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Old 05-30-2021, 08:36 PM   #17
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So in further research I found the following thrusters that will probably work better for me due to the fact that our boat goes on a trailer half the year and we plan on trailering it to the San Juans in the near future.

If anyone knows anything about these please let me know. They are very interesting.

The batteries can be changed and the company says they have quite a few that are close to 4 years old in use without issues.

https://www.dockstarthrusters.com/
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Old 05-30-2021, 08:47 PM   #18
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Other than being butt ugly the external bow thrusters seem to work well. They are like a large growth on the end of your nose.
Sorry, but if you are referring to the Exturn external bow thrusters, they are completely underwater. And BTW, my nose is quite handsome... Just kidding.
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Old 05-30-2021, 10:37 PM   #19
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So in further research I found the following thrusters that will probably work better for me due to the fact that our boat goes on a trailer half the year and we plan on trailering it to the San Juans in the near future.

If anyone knows anything about these please let me know. They are very interesting.

The batteries can be changed and the company says they have quite a few that are close to 4 years old in use without issues.

https://www.dockstarthrusters.com/
What a brilliant idea for retrofitting yourself..!
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Old 05-31-2021, 04:04 PM   #20
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I have the external bow thruster that is under my boat and no one knows I have, sight unseen, and as I said before I quite like it.

But.... I have decided if I do need a stern thruster, and I'm not sure I will need one, I thought the dock star stern thruster would be ideal. The batteries good for 10 minutes but in reality the thruster at most would be used for only a minute or two. And it can be recharged while the boat is underway.
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