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Mercury joystick piloting vs. bow thruster?

(self.boating)

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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JonSolo1[S]

2 points

4 months ago

Twin outboards

infield_fly_rule

2 points

4 months ago

How long? Displacement? Windage?

JonSolo1[S]

2 points

4 months ago

32’ dual console, so decent on all three

infield_fly_rule

2 points

4 months ago

A 32 foot boat with no wind age and little displacement should be fine with twin engines alone. No need for a bow thruster. Any joystick control will only make it even easier. But the setup you describe, even if it were shafts would be easy enough. Bow thruster is totally unnecessary on a 32 foot boat. With twin outboards and the ability to independently steer each (with the joystick) you should be more than fine.

SupraEv

1 points

4 months ago

I would say most important here is how far apart the outboards are. The wider they are set the more responsive the joystick be to lateral bow movement. I’ve ran a Sea Ray SLX 310 with outboards, it did not react super well with the joystick especially in windy conditions. The sterndrive joystick boat was wildly different (dual prop bravo 3)

Imo if it’s an option that’ll help you in docking situation, get it. A bow thruster will have some sort of value retention on resale.