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Easier with a bow thruster

Jan 12, 2009 If you've spent any time cruising you have encountered one, and probably many, of those hairy docking situations that make great bar-side stories.

I not-so-fondly recall motoring down a long marina channel in New Jersey, lined with docks on either side and a stiff wind blowing on my stern. The width of the channel was less than the length of my boat, and the fuel dock was sideways at the very end with other boats on it. The only way to turn onto the dock and get between the other boats was to pull into one of the side channels and then back and fill to get the boat sideways to the fuel dock, while the wind relentlessly blew us sideways towards the pilings and other boats.

The shifter cable on our engine chose that moment to break, of course, further adding to the excitement. Somehow we managed to warp our way safely onto the fuel dock using lines around pilings and to other boats, but life could have been a lot simpler with a bow thruster.

John Kettlewell

More on bow thrusters in the upcoming March issue of Ocean Navigator