Bow & Stern Thrusters

Bow and stern thrusters are essential to the manoeuvrability of modern boats, especially when you have twin rudders or variable draft keels. Thrusters are powered by either electric motors or hydraulics, with each system having different components and therefore different service and repair requirements. Individual components are regularly put under extreme loads, as is the nature of the equipment, therefore regular checks and maintenance are vital to avoid potentially catastrophic (and expensive) failures.

Bow and stern thrusters should not be operated out of the water. This is due to the design incorporating the presence of friction on the blades in the water – they are designed to move water, not huge volumes of air. Therefore, it is preferable for all diagnostics prior to any repair work to be carried out whilst the boat is afloat. The majority of scheduled maintenance for bow or stern thrusters should be carried out whilst the boat is out of the water.

Depending on the repairs needed, these can be carried out afloat or a haul out onto hard standing may be necessary for access. One of the most common problems is debris trapped in the tunnel or tangled in the blades. If a thruster is continued to be operated with obstructions, this can lead to damage all the way back to the couplings between the motor and the thruster leg.

As part of an annual yard period, a visual check of the thruster blades and tunnel, and a simple turn by hand of the shaft can identify if any further repair work is needed.

Berthon Spain have a wealth of experience working on many different types of bow and stern thrusters. Our technicians are familiar with both electrical and hydraulic powered systems and are capable of determining a solution to a variety of problems. Whether your yacht is in one of Palma’s marinas, one of the ship yards, or Berthon Spain’s storage facility, we will be able to assist.

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