Aftermarket Must-Haves: Thrusters

May 2014 Product Lee Lovell

Houseboat magazine generally attracts three types of readers: those who own a houseboat, those who are looking to purchase their first one and those who love to dream of the experience of owning one some day.

Appropriately though, the main focus seems to be on the big picture: owning a houseboat of your own. Once you take ownership though, the picture changes at that point.

The accessories that you purchase are a big factor in determining how much you’ll enjoy the ownership of your new home on the water. The small things can make a big difference.

This roundup takes a look at some accessories we love that you can add to your new or existing houseboat. While are not able to cover every product that is available, the next few pages will give you a great starting point.


Let’s face it, houseboats are long and can act like giant sails in the wind. And consequently, they can be a little difficult to navigate into a slip or marina and can cause of a lot of frustration and headaches. This is where thrusters come to the rescue.

Bow and stern thrusters make all of the difference when navigating a houseboat. While it is clear that navigating a gargantuan houseboat is tough, thrusters can help move a boat in a way much like a vehicle with front-wheel steering. Depending on placement, the unit can move a boat laterally, or sideways, in an area with limited space.

One manufacturer that has always impressed us is HydraNautics. They have been in the business of thrusters for over 25 years. What has impressed us the most though is that they offer a unit that can be added to the boat while it remains in a slip.  The result of this is the saved expense of trucks, trailers, welders and ramp fees, as well as the inconvenience and potential damage that pulling a large houseboat from the water could cause. 

Another manufacturer that we like a lot is IMTRA. They have long been a go-to choice for houseboat manufacturers because of their expansive range of thrusters that is largest in the industry. Its Side-Power thrusters are precisely controlled through an easy-to-use controller. What we appreciate most is the company’s commitment to the market by focusing on product development and improvement. They are also tested in some of the harshest conditions to ensure reliability.

A third manufacturer that we like is Wesmar. They have been apart of the industry for almost 50 years so you can have confidence in your thruster. Its thruster units have stainless steel props and are designed with low-maintenance in mind. We like how they are designed to be an easy retro fit and upgradeable for the future. They also have the experience of providing thrusters to commercial, private and government operations around the world.


American Bow Thrusters



Docking Made Easy












Marinetech Systems Corp.

Navigator Division



Vetus—Den Ouden, Inc.





The most important part of owning a houseboat is getting out on the water and having a great time surrounded by family and friends. With the addition of these great products to your houseboat, and many others that we didn’t have the space to list, you can ensure that the time you spend on the water is full of great memories instead of worrying about the small stuff.

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