Boatbuilder Tony Davies answers a reader's question about adding a bow thruster. Got a question? Email

Q: I have a Vancouver 32 and I’m considering fitting a bow thruster as it’s a long keel yacht and berthing can sometimes be challenging. But I’m not sure of the cost or the size of thruster I’d need.
-Ben Bonnick

Boatbuilder Tony Davies responds: “My previous boat was a steel flybridge cruiser and she had horrendous windage. I dreamed of a bow thruster but never got round to it, so I understand your problem. I imagine you’ll be considering an electrically-powered type rather than hydraulic as they are significantly less expensive (I hesitate to say cheaper!).

“There are many suppliers of bow thrusters and several different types so the final choice will be up to you. Vetus have recently introduced a very interesting retractable thruster that doesn’t need a tunnel as it fits into a recessed compartment beneath the hull and near the bow. This has the advantage of having no tunnel to cause drag and little marine fouling as it is normally inside the box and protected by the hull fairing.

Article continues below…

“Vetus also supply various standard thrusters in sizes to suit all vessel types and dimensions. Another supplier that offers many types including pod thrusters that mount below the hull is Bow Thrusters Direct. ASAP Supplies also offer a wide range as does Side Power and Max Power. In fact there are too many makes and suppliers to mention here.

“All suppliers will be able to offer you comprehensive help in choosing the correct type and size of thruster to suit your boat which is mainly down to length and displacement. A few options are listed below to get you started. If you decide to do the job yourself I’m sure PBO readers would be interested in seeing how you do it.”

Tony Davies has been building and repairing boats for more than 40 years

Bow thruster suppliers

Got a question? Email: