Bow thruster mounted through a tunnel in hull of a boat

How to choose the right thruster for your boat

If you are considering installing a bow thruster on your boat, there are some things to consider before choosing the type and manufacturer. Here are the essential factors to contemplate in your planning.

A big investment requires careful consideration

Bow thrusters come in many types and sizes. They are usually placed in a tunnel that is set right through the hull but can also be mounted externally or installed so they can be retracted when not in use. You can get more familiar with the different types in our dedicated article linked below. 

Things to consider when investing in a bow thruster
 

  • The boat's profile: The longer and taller bodywork your boat has, the more pressure the bow thruster need to push against the wind

  • Bow shape and interior space: The deeper your bow is in the water, the more interior space is available - the more straightforward the fitting of the thruster

  • Capacity: The more wind and current there is where you are boating, the more power you need from a bow thruster. You can learn more about power in our dedicated article linked below. 

  • Power: Smaller boats usually use DC power, while larger vessels use AC or hydraulic power. If your boat is over 60 feet, check if it already has an AC generator or hydraulic system

  • Budget: The size, power, and refined details of the various thrusters available to your boat will vary depending on the price and installation requirements

You get what you pay for

When it comes to products and installation of accessories in the boating industry, it is often said that you get what you pay for - and this applies as much to bow and stern thrusters as it does to anything else.

Established brands and high-quality bow thrusters go hand in hand

Established manufacturers have built their reputation on offering high-quality products with a reputation for reliability. These manufacturers are usually concerned with serving customers' long-term needs with a great supply of spare parts and follow-up, even for old or obsolete models.

My advice is to consider the factors mentioned above along with guidance from manufacturers, dealers, and installers to find evident reasons why a type of bow thruster will be the right investment for you.

Follow the big fish

Manufacturers who supply bow thrusters as standard fit for the large boatbuilders are often a good sign. These boats are constructed by some of the best boatbuilders in the world. They will have undergone rigorous testing and substantial procedures by hired yard procurement managers when it comes to performance, cost, reliability.

Talk to experts

Look for participation in boat fairs and visit the booths of the manufacturers you are interested in having a chat with face-to-face. Manufacturers and their employees will enjoy every opportunity to demonstrate and discuss their products. Here you can get excellent guidance on what you need for your boat specifically. 

Safety in research and design

Another aspect you should look into is if the manufacturer you are considering has made en effort regarding safety when it comes to research and design. Types of detail features you should be looking for include: 

  • Ignition protected models for use near gasoline engines
  • Features such as child safe on/off operation
  • Automatic deactivation, and so on

Keep in mind that even if you specify the make, model, and size of your boat, an installer would not be able to guess which bow thruster that will fit. Which bow thruster you need depends on where and how you are planning on using your boat. Hopefully, this article has been helpful on your way to making a decision.