Repair a Bow Thruster

A bow thruster is an extra propeller fitted to your boat to make it much easier to maneuver your boat. They are fitted against the direction of travel, which makes it easier for them to turn around. Bow thrusters will make docking and turning around much easier. They make it possible to turn the boat around without needing to use the main propulsion system of the boat. Bow thrusters are fitted at the bow or stern and make it possible to turn the boat without having to move forward.

If your bow thruster is damaged or has stopped working, then it will need to be repaired. Depending on the cause of the problem and the type of bow thruster you have, the repair options will be different.

Causes of Bow Thruster Problems

Bow thrusters use exactly the same principle as the propeller on your boat to move it around. This means that they are susceptible to a lot of the same problems. Propellers are a mechanical system, and although they are very reliable, there are plenty of problems which can hamper their functions. If a bag or any trash gets wrapped around the propeller, for example, it can stop working. The vent can also be blocked by something.

A stone could be sucked through the propeller and break it. The problem could also be related to the engine or motor used to drive the bow thruster.


The first thing that you need to do is inspect the bow thruster and take a look at the actual problem. This can be done under water. However, it will be easier and safer to get the boat out of the water. Lifting the boat out of the water will allow you to take a look at the propellers and identify the problem.

If the investigation suggests that the bow thruster is damaged, then it will need to be removed. Again, this is much easier to do if you lift the boat out of the water. While the boat is lifted out of the water, you can also use the time to perform routine maintenance on the rest of your boat.


Once you confirm that the problem is in the boat's bow thruster, you should be able to correct it. There are many different things that you can try doing, including making sure that the propeller is free from debris. If anything has damaged any of the propellers, the effectiveness of the bow thruster can be reduced.

Take a look at the condition of the propeller and make sure that it gets replaced if necessary. These propellers can normally be replaced fairly easily as long as you can purchase the right size and type of propeller. If the right sized propeller is no longer available then you could get a custom one made.

Check the drive shaft from the main engine to the bow thruster, or if you are using an external bow thruster, check the health of the electric motor.


Once you have repaired the bow thruster, you need to put it back in the water to try it out.