Bow/stern thrusters

Discussion in 'Modifications/Customizations' started by susanandlance, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. susanandlance

    susanandlance Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Feb 10, 2011
    2007 Sea Ray 36 Sedan Bridge
    8.1 mercruisers
    Hey Guys, Any of you had bow and or stern thruster installed and what kind of price for complete package? I found the ONLY 36 Sedan Bridge with no thrusters, gas engines, does it really need them? Thanks!!
  2. superwa

    superwa Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jul 27, 2013
    Rhode Island
    2001 Sea Ray Sundancer 380
    Mercruiser horizon 8.1S
    I installed a bow thruster on my 380 and I never looked back. I can dock it without just about every time, but there have been a few times when the the right wind gust takes the boat where it shouldn’t and I just love having that backup. It’s just another tool available. Mine was around 6K installed and worth every penny.
    Chris-380 likes this.
  3. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars

    Depends upon your boat, the ambient winds, your experience and your ability to handle the boat in changing conditions.

    I've been running 40' to 60' boats in coastal waters for about 30 years, so I have some experience in variable wind/tide conditions. My own boat is a 450DA without a bow thruster and I have never considered adding one, but the 450DA is an unusual design for Sea Ray.....the center to center distance between shafts/props is unusually large and makes the boat a dream to operate in tight spots.

    Would I automatically add a thruster to a new to me boat? No, I wouldn't consider spending the $15-$25K for a new thruster on a bot that is about 50% deprecated until I proved to myself that not having a thruster was limiting my ability to enjoy the boat.

    Also, I asked this on another thread but perhaps you didn't see it..........have you decided where you are going to keep the new boat?

    NorCal Boater and susanandlance like this.
  4. susanandlance

    susanandlance Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Feb 10, 2011
    2007 Sea Ray 36 Sedan Bridge
    8.1 mercruisers
    St Johns River Frank, around Astor, Fl. As usually Frank, your knowledge is greatly appreciated!! Thankyou!!
  5. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    I agree with Frank with one addition...If you find you're having difficulty backing into a slip I'd consider a bow thruster. But keep in mind what he said about a boat that's already heavily depreciated.

    I put a bow thruster on my boat when I bought it 9 years ago. We live in a windy area and I knew I'd be backing into the slip. It's nice to have the thruster when the winds kick up.

    With twin engines I wouldn't even think about a stern thruster. It'll amaze you how easy it is to move the stern one way or the other just by using the shifters.

    I'd suggest if you find a boat without a thruster, use it for a season then decide if you need it or not.
    susanandlance likes this.
  6. bbwhitejr

    bbwhitejr Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 14, 2013
    Lake Lanier GA
    2007 44DB
    Cummins QSC 8.3s
    I have noticed that the wind will push a DB around quite a bit. That said, you learn to compensate for it. I have a bow thruster, but rarely turn it on. When I do, it is because the wind is pushing me around too much.

    susanandlance and Brent Nutting like this.
  7. Blkbird

    Blkbird Active Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Lake Lanier, GA
    1997 Sea Ray 450 Sundancer
    Twin 3126 CATS
    Our boat came with a bow thruster and I do like having it. But when the battery went flat I spent a season without the BT being available and it is amazing what those big diesels can do. However I still did go out and purchase a new battery (and a dedicated charger) before the next season.
  8. stephens013

    stephens013 Member

    Oct 8, 2009
    Ft Walton Beach, Fl
    1997 400DA Sundancer
    3116 Cat; 340 PHP
    Frank; been a long time since I have signed on to this sight. I had a 400DA a few years back and your posts and experience helped me many a time.
    I'm now in the initial phases of a taking on a 450 Sun Dancer and one of the questions was the need for a bow thruster. Good to read your prospective on the issue.
    Take care
  9. The Bill Collector

    The Bill Collector Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    450 Sundancer
    3126 Cat's
    We boat on Puget Sound (salt) with wind, current & tides I spent the first year with the boat and decided I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it... Yes, it was $12k, but I have never regretted it. I have the cordless remote control on a lanyard and often run the boat by myself.
    Blkbird likes this.
  10. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    When we bought our boat I was going to have a thruster installed. IIRC the specs called for ~275 ft lbs of thrust with an 8" tube. The marina owner suggested going up one size which I think was ~295 ft lbs with the 8" tube. He couldn't find one of those so he bought the next larger size which was ~325 ft lbs size in a 10" tube.

    It's kinda like horsepower--nobody EVER said I wish I didn't have so much power.
    Blkbird likes this.
  11. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    I had a Vetus 9524 installed in December of 2016 and the cost was about 10K.
    I have 50’ of bulkhead that I dock port side to. From the tip of my anchor to the edge of the platform is about 45’ so I basically have to move sideways in to my dock. If the wind is from my starboard I don’t have to use it, but when the wind is 20 or 25 mph blowing me off the dock the thruster comes in real handy.
    It’s also a nice sense of security when going in to a strange transient marina. Although I have it ready, I don’t think I’ve ever had to use it to back in to a slip.
    IMHO: Like anything else, if it will make you use your boat more and be more comfortable it’s worth it.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 8:34 PM
  12. PlayDate

    PlayDate Well-Known Member

    Dec 25, 2006
    Washington DC
    1994 370 Express Cruiser
    454 Mercruisers
    I believe this is the right answer. For a while.....I believe the manufacturers went the wrong way with "easy to drive". How many youtube videos are out there with a 6 year driving a 50' boat with a joystick? The only problem with pod drives is the maintenance nightmare that means your boat doesn't leave the slip and isn't reliable. I would rather see a boater with bow and stern thrusters than having a boat with pods that isn't used because of reliability.
  13. Jeff L

    Jeff L Member

    Aug 10, 2015
    Beach Haven NJ / Tresaure Island FL
    2005 42 Sedan, Onan gen. 10' Rib dinghy w/ 6hp. / Nautic Star 243
    T 450 Cummins straight drives
    I would lean on not. I rarely uses the thruster and when I do its to grab the lines at tie up after docking. I think you will be surprised how well these sedans maneuver without the need.
    Maybe run her for a bit and judge for yourself before spending the money .. I would use the spend on the electronics upgrading .

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