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How to Choose the Right Bow Thruster

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May 1, 2018
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How to Choose the Right Bow Thruster
Side-Power SE40 Thruster Imtra

Imtra thruster expert Peter Nolet explains the most important factors to consider when planning to install a new bow thruster on your boat.

Bow thrusters come in many styles and sizes. They are often located in a tunnel that’s set right through the hull, although sometimes they are mounted externally or installed so they can be retracted when not in use. Before choosing a thruster for your boat, many factors should be considered with guidance from knowledgeable dealers and installers.

Consider these factors when choosing the best bow thruster:

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  • Strength of winds and currents – The more the wind and water move in your environment, the more power you’ll need from your thruster.
  • The boat’s profile – The higher and longer your boat’s superstructure, the more pressure a thruster will need to push against a cross wind.
  • Bow shape, interior space – The deeper your bow is in the water, and the more interior space is available forward, the more easily a bow thruster can be fitted.
  • Power options – Typically, smaller boats use DC power, and larger ones use AC or hydraulic power. But two 60-footers of the same make and model may or may not already have an AC generator or a hydraulic system.
  • Budget – The size, power and sophistication of thruster available to you will vary depending on price and installation requirements.

The example shows the different wind speeds that two different thruster installations can encounter and the increased leverage gained when the thruster is positioned further forward.

How to Choose the Right Bow Thruster
Thruster Positioning Graphic Imtra
Thruster Model SE170/250TC SE170/250TC
Thruster Position A 23.9 kn 23.9 kn
Thruster Position B 25.2 kn 25.2 kn

The example shows the different wind speeds that two different thruster installations can encounter and the increased leverage gained when the thruster is positioned further forward.

In the last 25 years, since thrusters began to take hold in the recreational market, manufacturers have created a variety of configurations for most types of boats from 20 feet long to superyacht. (Side-Power, the company IMTRA represents in the US, offers more than 160 models of thruster). Even when you know the exact make, model, and size of boat, the bow thruster you select will often be different depending on who the owner is and where they plan to run it.

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For more information about Side-Power click here, or for more information on all Imtra products go to www.imtra.com.

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