Side shift Bow Thruster

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Karen, prior to buying my Bennington I had probably only been on a boat a few times in my life as I also said if I had time on the weekend I would spend it on the golf course.  I was also afraid of the dock of shame [love you calling it that].  You would be surprised at how quickly you can pick up that skill as long as you are willing to put some effort into it.  By that I mean practice, I outfitted my slip with good quality protective bumpers and then while most were still in bed [so I didn't have the fear of eyes watching] I would go out and dock, pull out dock again over and over.  I would come in at different angles and also practice backing in. 

Take it slow and easy and you will get it and that beats not only saving a few thousand dollars but you will have the pride of your accomplishment 
 

M Jay Farr

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Does anyone have any experience with the Side Shift Bow Thruster? https://www.facebook.com/Sideshift-Bow-Stern-Thrusters-115009661859730/

I'm new to boating but my hubby isn't. Just trying to avoid the "dock of shame"! Thx!
Saw your post. Purchased the SideShift and was installed in June of this year. Yes, this is expensive, $2,600 on sale. However, I have a very narrow slip with about 4" for play on each side. I know to bring the boat into the slip with the engine pointed straight and make minor adjustments with the thruster to adjust for wind/current. This has made this so much easier.

As to the previous post, most docking is done without the aid of the thruster, and I do try my best to practice without it, but for the comfort of getting into my slip, I am satisfied with the cost.


Sidshift6 copy.jpg
 
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Mozekian

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Karen, prior to buying my Bennington I had probably only been on a boat a few times in my life as I also said if I had time on the weekend I would spend it on the golf course. I was also afraid of the dock of shame [love you calling it that]. You would be surprised at how quickly you can pick up that skill as long as you are willing to put some effort into it. By that I mean practice, I outfitted my slip with good quality protective bumpers and then while most were still in bed [so I didn't have the fear of eyes watching] I would go out and dock, pull out dock again over and over. I would come in at different angles and also practice backing in.

Take it slow and easy and you will get it and that beats not only saving a few thousand dollars but you will have the pride of your accomplishment
Great advice

I was intimated docking with the new boat but knew I needed to get it down. Not a problem now, like all things, a little practice is all that’s needed.
 

Bill2250GSR

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Hi Karen,
I posted some of my experiences with the SideShift bow thruster on this section of the forum, starting on October 7, 2020. there were plenty of questions that I tried to answer as best I could. Try searching/clicking on my name and look at the posts. Pictures too.
I agree with some of the other comments that practice is your minimum approach, that said if you are boating on tidal water like me, it can get pretty tricky when you factor in a moving tide, on top of wind, chop, tight spaces, and plenty if people watching you. The tide current moving in different directions takes it to another level that lake boaters typically don’t have to deal with. With the SS bow thruster I can spin my boat (24’ OA) in a circle.

Enjoy the previous posts, but bottom line: I would buy it again in a heartbeat. Quality product, great service when I had questions, and it works like a charm! Like most things in life, you usually get what you pay for (that’s why we bought Bennington in the first place, right?). I even talked about it with Bennington directly and suggested that they include it as an option on new builds. Let me know if you have any specific questions.
 

JMB in SD

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Hi everyone. Can someone tell me the weight of the retractable Sideshift unit?

I could not find it on their website...

Thanks,

Jon
 

big shooter

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I am really considering this. We have a very narrow space between our dock and a line of rocks. With a cross wind it is about impossible to dock by myself.
 

JMB in SD

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Same here. My dad is 84 and is in good health, but expectedly more cautious with age. I want him to use the boat and I think the bow thruster will give him (and me) an additional sense of security. The only reason I asked about the weight is that the boat is on a lift and I would like to install it where it is without having to put it back on the trailer.

Thanks.
 

CLDave

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The trick to docking and parking a boat is to go slow, and use opposite-lock reverse as your friend. Pulling into parallel park at a gas dock/etc, you nose-in the bow, turn the steering wheel the other direction (so the prop faces the dock), and gently reverse to let the rear end (stern) get pulled into the dock.

When pulling into a lift or slip, the same technique works - if you're drifting to one side or the other, a bit of reverse in the direction off the wind or current will get you straightened out. You'll learn with time to use the wind/current to your advantage - letting it push you right into the slip as you inch forward. A flag on the end of the dock can help determine wind direction and speed, but you'll get the hang of it.

Here's a YT vid I just found that shows what I mean:

You don't need a bow-thruster unless you're in a very windy or tricky spot. Congrats on the boat!
 

kcd3257

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Saw your post. Purchased the SideShift and was installed in June of this year. Yes, this is expensive, $2,600 on sale. However, I have a very narrow slip with about 4" for play on each side. I know to bring the boat into the slip with the engine pointed straight and make minor adjustments with the thruster to adjust for wind/current. This has made this so much easier.

As to the previous post, most docking is done without the aid of the thruster, and I do try my best to practice without it, but for the comfort of getting into my slip, I am satisfied with the cost.


View attachment 30977
did this affect youroverall performance in any way ?
 

M Jay Farr

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see from the pictures above, when the unit is retracted it has zero contact with the water. I don’t think the weight made any difference in the overall performance of the vessel. The only time it creates any drag at all is when you actually have the arm deployed and are using the thruster. The rest of the time won’t even know it’s there.
 

kcd3257

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see from the pictures above, when the unit is retracted it has zero contact with the water. I don’t think the weight made any difference in the overall performance of the vessel. The only time it creates any drag at all is when you actually have the arm deployed and are using the thruster. The rest of the time won’t even know it’s there.
The boat we are looking to purchase has one on the bow and one mounted on the motor...I see what you mean about the bow one but the other unit mounted on the outboard is in the water at all times.. was wondering if that affects performance
 

M Jay Farr

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Hi, sorry I can't help with that one, but I would think limited drag based on size. Perhaps Side Shift can provide some ideas. As these work independently of each other, worst case, take off the rear unit and keep the front.
 

Potomacbassin’

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The boat we are looking to purchase has one on the bow and one mounted on the motor...I see what you mean about the bow one but the other unit mounted on the outboard is in the water at all times.. was wondering if that affects performance

A boat 4 down from me in the marina has these, just casual observation but I don't see how it doesn't materially impact speed. But it would be highly dependent on how low your engine sits and if these stay completely submerged while cruising. Since they sit right at the anti-cav plate many pontooners would probably have a portion of the stern thruster submerged or taking wake, while a bass boat up on pad probably would have less dragging.

Good question for the manufacturer!
 

kcd3257

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I am really considering this. We have a very narrow space between our dock and a line of rocks. With a cross wind it is about impossible to dock by myself.
Our 2020 SXP25 came with both the stern and bow units....we had to remove the stern one as it affected steering and performance but the bow one is really neat...keep in mind you can spin the boat 360 degrees but the stern will not move.... it also retracts up between the tubes and you never know its there
 
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