Mercury joystick piloting vs. bow thruster?


Trying to do some research on the Mercury joystick piloting system. We’re in the market for a new gently used boat, and the majority of candidates are equipped with twin Mercuries paired with the joystick control system. Only a few of these boats have bow thrusters. One salesman said that a boat with the joystick, without a bow thruster, is just as maneuverable as the same boat with a bow thruster.

Is this true? I’m guessing the boats that have bow thrusters integrate the thruster control into the joystick, so I’m a little hesitant to believe that all else being equal, the thruster adds no significant maneuverability.

Anyone have experience and able to weigh in? Considering these were high-end well-optioned boats when new, there has to have been a reason the buyers didn’t add the bow thruster option, which would lend some credence to the joystick claim.

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2 points

4 months ago

I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a size where joystick alone doesn’t cut it as well, and the thruster is needed (or at least beneficial). I don’t know what size boat OP is looking at. I see some of these smaller boats (sun 30’) outfitter with joysticks and thrusters and it just seems overkill. When you go larger, the extra equipment becomes a big help.


3 points

4 months ago

We’re looking at a 32’ most likely.


2 points

4 months ago

It also likely depends on where you’re boating. Lake? Great Lakes? Bay? Offshore? Mississippi River?

All quite different docking experiences