Bow Thruster Service

Ever watched in wonder as a captain expertly maneuvers his boat into a tiny slip in less than ideal conditions? Not to take away from the captain, but he likely had the advantage and extra help offered by a bow thruster. On the flip side, you have probably watched (through a tightly clenched jaw) a boater struggle to reign in his vessel and hit the dock or even bump another boat. This captain probably lacked a bow thruster.

What is a Bow Thruster?

As its name suggests, a bow thruster is a propeller-shaped propulsion device located at the bow. It allows for greater maneuverability (starboard and port) with little or no forward motion. In open areas and ideal weather conditions a bow thruster may be unnecessary, but how often are you boating, docking or anchoring in uncrowded spaces with zero wind or current? The answer is not often. Living along the beautiful Gulf Coast means sharing its inviting waters with other boating enthusiasts. Sunny days will find our ramps, marinas and most popular island hangouts crowded, creating a huge need for meticulous maneuverability. A properly functioning bow thruster provides this and helps ensure an extra level of safety for both you and nearby boaters as well.

Why Isn’t My Bow Thruster Performing Properly?

Perhaps your vessel is equipped with a bow thruster, but you still find yourself struggling in certain conditions. Issues may include little or no thrust, working only on starboard or port side or intermittent performance. There are many culprits that could be causing an ineffective bow thruster. One common problem (and an easy check) is the battery. Checking the voltage when your vessel is both running and still will let you know if your battery is performing effectively. Bad or loose cables can also be responsible. There are a number of other possibilities including:

  • Empty, leaking or low oil reservoir
  • Bad joystick controller
  • Sticky or failing relay
  • Missing shear pin
  • Worn or sticking brushes

There are many reasons why your boat’s bow thruster may be exhibiting lackluster performance. In order to fix the problem, you must have an idea of what’s causing it. The on-site contractors at Pensacola Shipyard are industry experts who can determine the problem and fix it in one convenient location.

Keep Your Bow Thruster
in Working Order.

Inspections … Why and When?

Why do I need inspections? Catching small problems before they become bigger ones is applicable to many things including bow thrusters. Inspections are critical to keeping your boat’s bow thruster maintaining optimum performance. Regular inspections, especially when done by a professional can show you what repairs are upcoming and which ones demand immediate attention.

When do I need an inspection? At a minimum, annual inspections should be performed. When performing a yearly inspection, it should include the following … replacing the anodes, cleaning and scraping, inspecting the thruster motor compartment, checking battery/voltage on older vessels, and checking gear-leg oil.

Repairs, Soaking Wet or High and Dry?

Once you have determined that repairs are needed you then must ask, what is the best route to take? Should your boat be hauled out or should repairs be made in the water? This decision is dependent on the type of repair. Like inspections, certain tasks may be performed by a diver underwater while others require dry repair. Blades and seals can be worked on or replaced underwater. Full removal of the thruster can be done wet, but reinstalling it would need to be done in a dry environment.

A bow thruster is a great tool. As with insurance, you may not always need it, but when the time comes, you will be thrilled to have it. Your bow thruster is only useful if it’s working properly. Pensacola Shipyard provides the perfect location and space for you to make repairs and inspect your thruster. Additionally, we have skilled on-site contractors who can keep yours running smoothly.

A properly maintained bow thruster will help you have a safe, enjoyable day of boating. Take away the stress of docking and anchoring in tight spaces and poor conditions by contacting Pensacola Shipyard at 850.439.1451 today.