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Thread: Bow thruster

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Posts
    2

    Default Bow thruster

    Does anyone have any experience with the Sideshift retractable pontoon bow thruster?
    We store our 25 ft. Harris tritoon in a wet slip with a pretty tight fairway between docks.
    Not much room to maneuver in calm conditions, add in a breeze and docking gets tricky.
    Iím considering adding a bow thruster to assist with docking. I have researched the Sideshift unit on their website and watched their videos. This unit is not inexpensive and I love to hear from anyone who has some first hand experience with it before I purchase one.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Raystown Country, PA
    Posts
    2,259

    Default

    Welcome to the forum Iknken, I have no experience with the bow thrusters, but I think I would get a bow mounted, electric steering, trolling motor, like a MinnKota Powerdrive. They are much more affordable and will put the bow of a big boat right where you want it with a little practice. You can back out of the slip and work your way out of the row with it, at your own pace.
    2006 Forester 19 Fish (new deck and carpet, Pontoonstuff interior, 2019)
    1996 Mercury 50 ELPT4S
    1983 Sea Nymph FM171 Striper (complete rebuild from hull up, 2014)
    1985 Johnson 70 J70ELCO

    Raystown Country, PA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thanks for your response. A trolling motor might be a workable solution, unfortunately I don’t have enough space on the bow to stow it out of the way when not in use.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Raystown Country, PA
    Posts
    2,259

    Default

    When I had one on my pontoon I had it in a Minnkota slide in mount, so I could take it off and store it under the cover. With the Powerdrive models you can pull the motor straight up from the deployed position and stow it in the vertical position, straight up and down and out of the way. I have the same motor on my Sea Nymph now and would show it in that position, but it's all wrapped up for the 90 day PA winter.
    2006 Forester 19 Fish (new deck and carpet, Pontoonstuff interior, 2019)
    1996 Mercury 50 ELPT4S
    1983 Sea Nymph FM171 Striper (complete rebuild from hull up, 2014)
    1985 Johnson 70 J70ELCO

    Raystown Country, PA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Edwardsville, IL
    Posts
    321

    Default

    Getting tricky docking in a breeze is an understatement, especially with my boat. Leaving the slip, I go quickly: reverse to fwd, turn rt, staying under power. Returning isn't as easy, but stay moving under power, reversing as need be, & do it fast. (My slip is on a dock for 40' boats & it's still tight.) Real boats with twin engines can turn much tighter cuz they can reverse one engine while going fwd on the other.
    1994 Tracker Party Cruiser
    115 hp Merc, 2 stroke

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Boat at Lake of the Ozarks Missouri
    Posts
    680

    Default

    Exactly right Belercous:
    I'm in a shallow cove and my dock has slips 10' wide, that gives me 120" into which I put a vertical lift that is 108" wide on the outside.
    Subtracting those numbers and the thickness of the lift posts I have mot much left to dock a 102" wide pontoon.
    So the insides of the lift are my target to slip the boat and if there is wind, well it makes for an exciting entry.
    Captain Tony
    2005 Summit by Triton - 220T Platinum 3Log
    2005 115HP Mercury Optimax - 228 Marine Master Trailer
    St. Louis & Lake of the Ozarks, MO.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Edwardsville, IL
    Posts
    321

    Default

    Tony:

    It would be tricky docking at your slip, sober on a good day, much less so on a windy one. Unless it's a calm day, I have someone (or two) with push poles at the ready when I'm leaving entering my slip. There's quite a few expensive boats near me that I don't want to get blown into.

    I've thought about getting a lift to keep the algae off my logs, but it would put the boat further from the dock. But the biggest problem would be that when the river went down I wouldn't be able to get off the lift as the depth at my slip is normally around 5'. However, sometimes the Corps of Engineers will drop the water level 1-1/2' below that for insect control. I'd be stuck for a couple weeks then.
    1994 Tracker Party Cruiser
    115 hp Merc, 2 stroke

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Boat at Lake of the Ozarks Missouri
    Posts
    680

    Default

    Welcome to the shallow water pool.

    Here at the Lake of the Ozarks we are in a small dead end cove on the Big Niangua and water at the end of my slip is 4 - 4 1/2 feet
    when the Lake is 659 feet which is 1 foot down from full pool.

    That is where Ameren tries (?) to keep it from Labor day to end of September. Having said that, they will play with the levels depending on what Truman Dam, above us, sends into the Lake or what rain the watershed sends us or if the need for electric generation is in heavy demand.

    Overall we fluctuate. So much so that in September 2018 when we had the PDB Poker Run at the LOTO, we could not get the boat off the lift and had to make all the poker stops by car.

    Oh well, a day on the water is better than sitting in an office at a computer.
    Captain Tony
    2005 Summit by Triton - 220T Platinum 3Log
    2005 115HP Mercury Optimax - 228 Marine Master Trailer
    St. Louis & Lake of the Ozarks, MO.

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