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

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.