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Considering an External Bow thruster for 4788

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    Considering an External Bow thruster for 4788

    Wishing everyone the best 2018.

    I have read most of the posts about installing a bow thruster in a 4788 and it seems really troublesome and therefore expensive. Making things worse, the boat is on the east coast away from the 'experts'. Has anyone tried an external bow thruster like a Side Power EX 95?

    http://www.imtra.com/1256ca19-bf1d-4...off-detail.htm

    thanks,
    mark


    #2
    Hello Mark. I looked at one a few years back, and wasn't impressed. In fact at a US boat show, an installer told me he'd had lots of trouble with access on the 4788 and wasn't recommending them for the high sided larger boats. For a start, the description says up to 45ft whereas the 47 is larger and has lots of sail area with the pilothouse vs a sports single deck cruiser. The prop is relatively small compared to regular thruster tunnel prop, plus it's 24v, which means 2 batteries specifically for this equipment.

    Second, have you figured out where it'll sit/where they will bore the holes?? I think you'll find that it'll fit bang under the front of the rear water tank, which effectively means disassembling the bed and removing the rear floor tank, which is the large part of the install cost. That also assumed the fittings etc don't intrude with the wedged shaped front of the tank. The net net, is whilst there is no tunnel to cut and fibreglass in place, I have not heard of any BOC members that have install one on a 4788 and I don't think you'd be very happy with it. But ask some installers for their opinions.

    If you opt to get a regular tunnel thruster, if you remove/dismantle the bed, having a professional install/glass in the tunnel, and install the gearbox head, the rest of it can be accomplished by a reasonably competent DIYer at substantial savings. But if you are half a continent away, that may not be feasible.

    Good of luck with it. Cheers
    John H
    Brisbane QLD Aust
    "Harbor-nating"

    2000 - 4788/Cummins 370's

    Comment


      #3
      My opinion is that a bow thruster is something new owners ask for.

      Yes they are handy, but some docking experience will generally get your boat where you want it.

      KEVIN SANDERS
      4788 LISAS WAY - SEWARD ALASKA
      www.transferswitch4less.com

      Whats the weather like on our boat
      https://www.weatherlink.com/embeddab...59665f4e4/wide


      Where are we right now? https://maps.findmespot.com/s/36S4

      Comment


        #4
        I agree with KS to a certain extent. I didn’t put a thruster on my 4087 (45’ LOA) until I had it about 4 years. I rarely use it, but when I’m solo, about 3 weeks out of my 3-4 month season its a nice to have. There is no substitute for thorough preparation, solo or crewed, but where I boat in the PNW, currents and winds can be agressive. It’s my safety/confidence blanket. After looking at an external, I went with a conventional tunnel thruster in the end. In the end the price difference wasn’t that great. For me the externals’ are to wimpy. The ‘bolt-on’ externals looked to be vulnerable with all the logs and other debris we get up here. Maybe the East coast has ‘cleaner waters’? I’d put a thruster in again in a heart beat, just for the peace of mind. Plus I transit the Chitenden Locks, 2-4 times a year (Lake Washington to Puget Sound), a following wind will push you off the wall making it difficult to get tied up.
        1996 4087 Lazy Days
        2011 11’ West Marine Rib 350 Lazy Mac
        2011 Porsche Cayman
        2010 Lexus IS 250C
        2008 Honda Ridgeline

        Comment


          #5
          +1 on Kevin’s statement.
          When I bought my boat 14 years ago a bow thruster was at the top of my list. After a while I realized how maneuverable the 47 is at low speeds and don’t really need it. Over the time I’ve owned the boat the number of times I wished I had a thruster I can count on one hand. And as it turned out I made it to the dock without it. Sometimes when you think a thruster would be good the wind/current is too strong for the thruster anyway. I helped a guy with a 47 get to the dock with heavy winds blowing off the dock. He had his bow thruster going full bore and was still being blown from the dock.
          For a single screw I’d definitely want one. If the boat had it when I bought it, that would be nice. But IMHO, I don’t think it’s worth the expense to install one.

          Comment


            #6
            Thx, I greatly appreciate the input.

            I noted in the foregoing a few references to locks and that is where we are going to start our adventure. We are beginning the Great loop with all the Hudson, Montreal, Ottawa and Kingston to Georgian Bay locks. Perhaps a less that perfect place to hone our docking skills.

            Does anyone have a photo series ( and hopefully accompanying text ) of the process of installing a regular tunnel based bow thruster?

            Comment


              #7
              Mark, search 4788 bow thruster in this site. Text posts may be there, probably minus pics. (Lost in transition). Send me a PM with your email address. I have some I'll send.

              Essentially, after selecting brand, model, control location (pilothouse, flybridge or both), decide whether you want to do some of the install yourself or have it completed by a shipwright company. Other than cutting holes/glassing in the tunnel, and fitting the prop gearbox on the tunnel, much of the work can be done by a competent DIYer. You also have to decide whether to retain (NEED) the rear water tank. Much easier if you forgo it, and maybe use what's left of the unremoved tank as storage. Much more complicated if you remove/replace the tank.

              Dismantle the bed structure. Cut, remove front of rear tank if not replacing. Lift boat, determine exact position of tunnel, bore holes both sides of hull thru stringers. Glass in tunnel with front deflector eyebrows. (Good to complete antifoul at the same time). Install thruster prop gearbox in tunnel. The boat can then be splashed and the balance completed later if needed.

              Obviously its a bit more cumbersome, but much of it is dismantling cabinetry, running/installing control cables etc. It's probably easier to install an AGM battery upfront (in bed locker, next to thruster head) than run cables the size of your finger from the stern batteries, as those cables alone can run about $1k. Then you need a battery charger for that battery. Use only AGM batteries given the danger of gas venting issues with other battery types. But it's about planning. If you opt for the professional route, check out whether they have done many 4788's.

              Cheers
              John H
              Brisbane QLD Aust
              "Harbor-nating"

              2000 - 4788/Cummins 370's

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by boyle View Post
                Wishing everyone the best 2018.

                I have read most of the posts about installing a bow thruster in a 4788 and it seems really troublesome and therefore expensive. Making things worse, the boat is on the east coast away from the 'experts'. Has anyone tried an external bow thruster like a Side Power EX 95?

                http://www.imtra.com/1256ca19-bf1d-4...off-detail.htm

                thanks,
                mark
                You do not say where you are on the east coast.
                We have a pro on the east coast that has done hundreds of bow thrusters and may be real close to you.
                Over the years we watched him do more than a dozen of these at a marina on the Hudson river - RYB at Kingston.
                Mobile service also allows them to work at many locations in the east coast.
                His name is Joe Molinaro and the company name is "East coast bow thruster"

                FWIW - they also so fiberglass work and awlgrip paint if any of those interest you.
                http://www.ecbowthrusters.com/contac...-thruster.html
                Northport NY

                Comment


                  #9
                  18 years ago when I bought my 45, I put bow and stern thrusters on the top of my 'want' list. A year later, I installed Sidepower 95T bow and stern thrusters on my boat, with AGM batteries located next to the thrusters locally and charged by echo chargers from my house bank. I opted for wireless remote operation as well. Now, 18 years later, I find I control the boat primarily with simple twin engine control. The 45 has prop pockets so this bottom configuration does makes it harder than say the 47 to use engine control. There have been situations over the years where the thrusters saved my bacon and times when running the boat solo I used the remote to help me secure dock lines better and quicker. But if you are new to boating, spend some time learning to control the boat with engines. I spent a lot of time practicing 'docking' around buoys and learning that moving slowly and reading current and wind is key to controlled maneuvering... it's amazing how engine rotation direction can even move you laterally... these things you will learn with practice. Would I buy/install thrusters again? Yes, I like the added convenience, so it was worth it to me.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by boyle View Post
                    Wishing everyone the best 2018.

                    I have read most of the posts about installing a bow thruster in a 4788 and it seems really troublesome and therefore expensive. Making things worse, the boat is on the east coast away from the 'experts'. Has anyone tried an external bow thruster like a Side Power EX 95?

                    http://www.imtra.com/1256ca19-bf1d-4...off-detail.htm

                    thanks,
                    mark
                    Mark - I'm on the Texas gulf coast which is essentially the southwest portion of the east coast. Contact Danny Hampshire at Docking By Control. He installed an external thruster on my previous 4087 and the regular tunnel thruster on my 4788. Danny is mobile and will do thruster installs anywhere between here and the Chesapeake. He may go further north but I've never inquired.

                    [email protected]
                    321-890-4511

                    There's lots of info on this website about disassembling the master bed and removing the aft water tank to make room for the tunnel. I disassembled the bed before turning the boat over to Danny. He cut out the aft water tank and installed everything and then I re-assembled the bed. As long as he was on my boat, I had him install a stern thruster as well.

                    Agree that the 4788 is maneuverable enough to go without thrusters but they sure do make life a lot easier and low stress.
                    Evan
                    2001 Bayliner 4788 "Fifty / Fifty II"
                    League City, TX

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by boyle View Post
                      Thx, I greatly appreciate the input.

                      I noted in the foregoing a few references to locks and that is where we are going to start our adventure. We are beginning the Great loop with all the Hudson, Montreal, Ottawa and Kingston to Georgian Bay locks. Perhaps a less that perfect place to hone our docking skills.

                      Does anyone have a photo series ( and hopefully accompanying text ) of the process of installing a regular tunnel based bow thruster?
                      From the Hudson up to Montreal, the Rideau Canal and Trent Canal you are looking at well over 150 locks. Without a doubt, your decision to install thrusters is a very good one. Personally I have been through thousands of locks in my boating lifetime and yes I can handle the boat fine without thrusters most of the time. Its for those unusual times when mother nature has her say or sometimes when you have only inches to spare. Bottom line is it eliminates the pucker factor.
                      Cheers, Hans
                      2007 Carver 41 CMY
                      Twin Volvo D6-370
                      Montreal, Canada
                      Midnight Sun I Photos

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Mark,
                        You don't say where you are on the east coast. I have had good results with Florida Bow Thrusters on my 3988 they are mobile and the price includes the travel to your boatyard. roughly 3 days start to finish, agm dedicated battery and charger under forward berth. They do lots of the factory installs on new boats. Specs on my 39 are 8" tunnel 295 lbs thrust on 12 volts you a lot more boat than I do, the unit you are considering is max rated at 208 lbs at 24 volts.
                        Island Girl 2000 3988
                        Great Loop 2018
                        Sarasota,Florida
                        There are worse places to be than on your boat.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Hello,
                          It comes down to budget , where you boat and how you boat.

                          Look back and do some research on old posts re thrusters, you will see I agree 100% that they are worth it.

                          Mike Mullen in Passadena Maryland on the Chesapeake did mine 11 years ago , to date no maintenance and no problems.

                          I smile when people say you don't need them. True, they are like air conditioning, automatic transmissions and power windows on a car, we do not really need them. If always docking at big Marinas or between pilings in high winds or big currents you need time to learn your boat, the thrusters will not do it.

                          I boat as Hans mentioned in the locking system mentioned above. I have taken the boat one year to Key West and fully agree if the winds are above 20 mph from the wrong direction the thrusters are almost useless.

                          Get to know your boat and try dock as often as possible without them, it's embarassing when a Captain uses his bow and stern thrusters to rotate his twin screw boat.

                          When you are in the locks you will travel through , I have done them all , pay for and put the large fenders on each side, I have 8 I run with, if the water levels are high let a couple drag on the concrete side during locking leave them there and it will be a great forgiving place to learn to run your boat. ( when you get home you can put your ugliest fenders on your home dock ( permanently installed as dock fenders) and leave them there.During the two weeks of Quebec Construction holiday the Quebec navy sets sail so try to be stationary or somewhere other than the thousand islands and Rideau canal. It gets too busy and so much more fun when you are out of the rush. Beware of the rented house boats ( bumpercars) as theose captains have a challange and are often novices with these difficult to handle boats.

                          I have run my boat ( 2001 4788 ) through the Rideau Canal and up to Georgian bay single handed using my thrusters at each lock. It is now necessary to have two people aboard at some lock stations

                          Now I have my wife with me at all times and the thrusters are not as important , but she , as me, loves going through the locks,,,,the thrusters just make it easier.

                          For where I boat and the way we are always locking, the thrusters were a no brainer. Back when I had mine done the total install was less than 14k , a detailed post is somewhere in the archives.I did all the sourcing of material, the wood work /bed preparation and bought my twin 12 volt lead acid batteries for the stern thruster and twin 12 volt AGM Bow thruster batteries at Sams Club in Maryland. Mike Mullen did the install including the wiring for less than 5k for both thrusters. Remember this was back in 2007.

                          Hope this helps,
                          Regards,
                          Pete

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