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Lateral Power


Supplementing the props with the lateral power of a bow and stern thruster offers the ultimate in docking control.

Like any prop underwater, thrusters must stay free of marine growth to stay efficient.

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I am often struck by how many of us can run overnight in the ocean for two days with less stress than we feel coming to a dock. Nothing strikes fear in our hearts like a stiff wind or current when we are coming back to a crowded marina. Keeping control as we slow down and start maneuvering amid the docks and boats (and watchful eyes) requires a great deal of practice or, perhaps, a secret weapon: the thruster.

Boats have propellers and rudders aft, allowing some measure of control over the stern. Adding a bow thruster can greatly enhance close-quarters maneuvering by adding lateral control of the bow.

Skippers of single-engine boats can learn to use prop walk and the rudder to help pull the stern closer to the dock. Twin-screw boats can place one engine in forward and the other in reverse to help move the stern in the desired direction. But with either type of boat, utilizing the props alone is not ideal because they are inherently designed to go forward or reverse, not…

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