View Full Version : Need Thruster Advice

08-21-2014, 09:05 AM
Hello All,
I am looking to add thrusters to my 66' Sumerset and am seeking advice on type. Have spoken to several friends and the general consensus is to go with the stern. There are so many different types out there I was hoping for your input.

08-21-2014, 09:09 AM
Stern thrusters run hydraulically from a PTO that is added to your generator are probably the easiest to retrofit. They are definitely the most common retrofit.

I have electric Vetus tunnel bow thrusters. They were not part of the original design, but were added as the boat was being built.

What are you trying to accomplish with the addition of thrusters? I use mine, but could easily get along without them.

08-21-2014, 09:26 AM
strictly for docking in the wind. My take on thrusters for the last three years has always been, if god wanted you to have them, they'd have come standard. However, I now feel it would be a nice upgrade. Someone recently mentioned a new thruster out there that uses jets rather than props?

08-22-2014, 04:57 AM
Like I said, i use mine because they are there. I also use the steering wheel and both throttles. I have tried it all different ways - steering wheel and shifting in and out of forward only, steering wheel centered and using throttles only, one engine only. These days, I use the wheel, the throttles - forward and reverse, and the thrusters for fine adjustments. Practice is worth more than thrusters.

Jets are just props in a tube - aka. impellers.

08-22-2014, 06:45 AM
A guy on my dock spent $15K to retrofit bow and stern thrusters on his 80' Summerset this Spring.

I don't particularly like his set up because they're essentially props mounted to a rod that's bolted to the side of the boat right above the waterline. The rods stick straight down under the boat to get the props somewhat below the hull, so they're effectively moving water when activated. Like EastTN already described, his are powered by a PTO on the generator - think something like an alternator run by a pulley, except this is hydrolic. So, the gen must be running at all times while you're maneuvering the boat in order for the thrusters to work.

2nd thing I don't like about his setup is the fact that these 4 props stick down into the water on either side of the hull at all times. These add drag to the boat as you're motoring and I imagine it would affect your boat's straight-line tracking. If you boat on a river where logs are a frequent hazard, I can't imagine those thrusters would fare well when you finally smack one - or the shore for that matter. Lastly, these concerns were affirmed last month when he ripped one of the new thrusters off the bow when his boat rotated around the anchor rode while anchored out for a weekend. This occurrence is something I'm paranoid about myself with just my outdrives, which is why I prop my motors up each time I anchor out.

08-22-2014, 07:43 AM
Appreciate the responses. Have never had a day that we couldn't get her back in as we certainly don't mind hanging where we're at if the winds are high. Since buying the old girl three years ago we have made many upgrades and were kicking that around since we just finished the party top.

08-22-2014, 11:26 AM
Is your boat single engined? We have always had twins and I would want the thruster in the front if I had a choice. Or do you tie off the front and snuggle the back in with the thruster?

08-24-2014, 12:12 PM
We've twin screws. Never have an issue getting the nose in, but the back can get away from you in the breeze. That's why we were thinking the stern, I have a friend that was talked into bow thrusters by the gentleman selling them, says it's the worst decision he's ever made as again its the back that gets hung out in the wind. We're in a 55' slip so all the boats on our dock stick out.

08-24-2014, 01:28 PM
Hmm you cant spring off and push the back end to whatever side?

08-25-2014, 06:30 AM
I would talk to the guy about the stern thrusters to see how much they can really move the back of your boat. My bow thrusters are mainly for fine tuning - they are not that effective in a good wind.

This may not describe you, but a lot of people do not use their throttles enough around the dock. It took a while for me, but I have my engines tuned to where I like them and I am not at all afraid to goose the throttles around the dock. With the Bravo II outdrives and almost 20' diameter props, I can push the back of my boat around at will. Swirling winds still get to me though.