Year / Model / Vintage / Size for thrusters or docking aids aa standard

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Black Valkyrie, Jun 17, 2018.

  1. Black Valkyrie

    Black Valkyrie Member

    458
    Jul 19, 2014
    Canada
    1993 Sundancer 270 DA
    Twin 4.3
    So looking to potentially move up... what size, age, model etc does joystick docking control or some sort of smart docking aid come play as standard equipment by searay?
     
  2. NotHerDecision

    NotHerDecision Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 28, 2016
    Houston, Texas
    2001 Sea Ray 460 Sundancer
    2014 Seadoo 155 LTD
    2105 Seadoo 130 SE
    2013 Mercury Dinghy
    Cummins 6CTA 8.3L
    Do you have a specific model in mind? Joystick is available with v drives and thrusters, but pod drives are also an option after a certain year. Now they are available with our boards as well.

    My honest opinion is you won’t need those options on certain boats. With my 460 v drives I can turn her within her own length and have not once wished I had joysticks or pods.

    We can help you more but need to know what size and style boat your looking at.
     
  3. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    and, my 450DA handles better than Josh's 460DA because the engines are a bit further apart. I run some boats for my local dealer and I usually don't even turn the thruster on until I get to about a 54-55' boat, and then it not because I need it to control the boat but rather because the props move so much water that an unfamiliar boat can get away from you in tight places.

    Thrusters are almost always options because they are expensive as a factory install. You can always get a bow thruster added or installed. I'd suggest you find the right boat (condition, maintenance/service history,etc.) then run it a while to be sure you really do need a $20-30,000 thruster added.
     
  4. bbwhitejr

    bbwhitejr Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 14, 2013
    Lake Lanier GA
    2007 44DB
    Cummins QSC 8.3s
    I had never even run a twin engine boat until our current 44DB. Frank told me in the beginning that I did not need a thruster, but the boat was already equipped with it nonetheless. He was right. My 14'3" beam fits into a 16' wide slip and rarely do I even turn it on.

    Bennett
     
  5. Brent Nutting

    Brent Nutting Member

    83
    Mar 24, 2016
    Lk Saint Clair, Fair Haven, MI
    2002 480 Sedan Bridge
    10' Aventus RIB w/ 9.9 Merc
    Cat 3196
    When I first got our 480DB, I use the thruster when docking while I was getting use to the boat. I quickly realized I didn't really need it as those big props bite and turn the boat easily. I only use the thruster now as a "get out of jail free card", when I am docking in a strong cross wind. It is nice to know it is there if needed. Another time I have used the thruster is to hold the bow in place while my wife is unhooking the lines and moving to the stern. If the bow moves, I can hold it in the slip until the last line is cast free and I can take total control of the boat.
     
  6. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    If you have a regular unique (home) docking situation that would make it difficult to take your boat out or bring it back, and that tough docking situation would make you use your boat less, then a Bow Thruster is the way to go.
    If you are backing in to your slip with poles between you and the boats around you then you probably don’t need one.
    I’ve got a Thruster on my 410 and I’m not ashamed to say that I use it every time I leave and return to my home dock. My dock is 50’ of straight bulkhead that is set back a couple of feet in the front and back and I tie up with my port side to it. Basically, I need to move about 45’ LOA sideways in to a 50’ long pocket when docking, and sideways out when leaving. Early last season a dilapidated houseboat appeared directly in front of me. It’s just a few short feet in front of my anchor, and I’ve only got about 2’ of wiggle room behind my swim platform. The Thruster makes short work of it.
    Other than at my home dock, I don’t think I ever used it to back in to or out of a slip, or to turn the boat 180 degrees in my relatively narrow canal. Honestly don’t need it for that.
    IMHO: Anything that you have on, or add to, your boat that will make you take it out more often is a good thing.
     
  7. JC3

    JC3 Active Member

    Oct 6, 2006
    Kentucky
    N/A
    N/A
    It also depends on how you use the boat. My old 450 DA was great. It had to be because I was not. Got me through several trips to the Exuma's. But, there was several times during those trips when wind, wave, tide and sun conspired against us. I would have loved having thrusters several times over the years in the Bahamas. I still have nightmares about Compass Cay. Got lucky. I loved/Love boating but the truth was/is I am not the best operator because of experience. So for me and how we boated a thruster would have been nice.
     
  8. The Bill Collector

    The Bill Collector Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    450 Sundancer
    3126 Cat's
    We went the first year with no bow thruster and a few close calls... Between my inexperience, 12-foot tidal swings (and the current that brings), wind, etc. I spent $12K that first winter, had it installed and have not regretted it once. I single hand the boat quite often and with the remote control for the thruster in my hand, I can get on and off any dock...
     
    JVM225 likes this.
  9. Fly'n Family

    Fly'n Family Active Member

    547
    Sep 19, 2013
    TX / CO
    2002 Cruisers Yachts 3870
    2003 Boston Whaler Sport 130 w/40 hp Merc
    Twin 425hp Crusaders
    While I can appreciate those that say you'll not need a bow thruster, there are many times I definitely wish I had one. We're oriented east/west - and during the spring and fall, the winds are almost always directly out of the south - generally around 20kts. I go stern in into a 50' slip, but have a large dock anchor pole on my port entry point.

    For me, there are missed days (as well as others with no bow thruster) in these conditions. Often I'll go out on a buddies Regal 420 under these conditions - because he has no issues due to having a bow thruster.

    As they're an option on most boats, not sure at what size they're "standard", but pretty much any boat can have a bow thruster. If your conditions warrant one, or you're more comfortable having one - get one. I'll probably do so in the near future as it's annoying as heck to have a beautiful day (other than wind) and being stuck at the dock.
     
  10. mratlndmrk

    mratlndmrk New Member

    17
    Mar 5, 2018
    Newburyport, MA
    2003 Sea Ray 380
    Merc 8.1s
    ZF 6.3 V Drives
    Westerbeke 7.3 EDC Genset
    This is so true. My home port runs a current around 5-6 knots and it hits my slip at a 45 degree angle. Add in that my slip finger is 32' long and I have a 38' boat next to me with about 4 feet between us. The bow thruster I just added was a necessity unless I just want to plan my life around slack tide. Best investment ever for me.
     
  11. Black Valkyrie

    Black Valkyrie Member

    458
    Jul 19, 2014
    Canada
    1993 Sundancer 270 DA
    Twin 4.3
    I have what should be a relatively easy slip to get into but I am subject to strong cross winds and tides that often make it a white knuckle experience with my 27 foot with twins. Without twins it would be even more difficult. All the slips that are in the protected area are in such tight quarters it's a coin toss as to which shade of bad you want to deal with. I opted for the larger margin of error with the exposed slip. That being said somewhere in the 30 to 40 foot range would be our step up. Thanks for all the input.
     
  12. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    Remote access! That would be a nice addition to my Vetus for windy days. I leave my lines at my home dock. Since I tie up alongside of it on my port side, I get my stern line first, run to the bow before the wind pushes it too far away to reach and get that line, then get my two spring lines.
     
    The Bill Collector likes this.
  13. The Bill Collector

    The Bill Collector Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    450 Sundancer
    3126 Cat's
    I use the remote control as much as I use the fixed mounted joystick... :)
     
  14. Brent Nutting

    Brent Nutting Member

    83
    Mar 24, 2016
    Lk Saint Clair, Fair Haven, MI
    2002 480 Sedan Bridge
    10' Aventus RIB w/ 9.9 Merc
    Cat 3196
    Last weekend was a perfect example of when I really needed the bow thruster. Was up in a port on Lake Huron, strong north wind on Sunday when I was leaving (about 20 - 25mph). So when the Admiral was undoing the dock lines, she first did the bow line. I was able to hold the bow in position while she got to the other lines, allowing for me to pull straight out. On calm days, I like to not use the thruster but when there is a strong cross wind, the bow thruster saves the day!!!!!
     

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