What is the condition of your thrusters?

Posted on: 17 March 2020

How much attention do you give to the thrusters on your boat? Thrusters are an essential tool for manoeuvring your boat, particularly when you are trying to come alongside and prepare for docking. Perhaps you operate with a single bow thruster or maybe you prefer to fit thrusters at both the bow and the stern. Whatever thruster combination you prefer, you know that it would be much harder to get your boat to the desired position without them. To ensure that your thrusters stay in great condition, you will need to learn how to take proper care of them.

Looking after your thrusters

Whether you have thrusters or some other manufacturers you must understand how to maintain them properly. If you go to operate the thruster and find that it doesn't fire you could soon find yourself in difficulty.

With thrusters, there are several things that could need attention and which should be checked during a regular maintenance inspection. The most obvious, and the most frequently occurring problem, is a faulty battery. Without power, your thrusters are not going to operate and there are several things that affect the transfer of power from the battery to the thruster propeller. If you find that your batteries are not supplying sufficient voltage, then you will need to check that the cables are correctly connected and not corroded. If everything appears in order, then it may be time to change your battery.  

The second thing that you should check while you are maintaining your thruster is the state of the brushes. As with any motor, the brushes on thrusters can become worn down over time. You will need to ensure that the motor brushes are still above the specified length. You must also take care to blow out any dust which has accumulated and which could interfere with the operation of the thrusters.

Replacing your thrusters

Maintenance is good, but if your thrusters are beyond repair then it is time to consider purchasing replacements. Whether you opt for Vetus thrusters or those produced by an alternative manufacturer, you will have to consider whether to stick with traditional on/off thrusters or to move to something more modern. Why not consider brushless thrusters with proportional or variable control? Would you like to operate your thrusters with a joystick to allow precise control? Ask your supplier about the different thrusters you could fit to your boat.