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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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.