As the name implies, a maneuvering thruster is a thruster that assists the boat in maneuvering or changing its direction. Maneuvering is generally the control of a ship at high and low speeds. It is not only confined to the sea. So, it also plays a pivotal role while berthing the ship at a dockyard. It is a form of a propeller, or maybe an impeller sometimes used to generate thrust.

What Are the Primary Types of Maneuvering Thrusters?

A maneuvering thruster is of two types depending upon the usage and installment in a ship.

  • Bow Thruster
  • Stern Thruster

Bow Thruster

It is the leading maneuvering thruster that sailors install at the front side of the ship. It is a propeller-based system. Similarly, as the name suggests, people install this on the front side through the tunnel of the ship. This tunnel is open from both ends. A bow thruster is kept immersed below the ship’s waterline because it is used to suck water and pass through the tunnel to reach the stern tunnel.

Bow tunnel maintenance is of more critical importance because it is immersed in water and has more vulnerability to leakages. For this reason, its compartment is checked regularly to see if there is any leakage. The point to be noticed is that if the bow thruster does not work correctly, the stern thruster will also not work correctly. This is because the bow thruster is the supplier of water to the stern thruster.

For the perfect control of maneuverability of a ship, both bow and stern thrusters operate simultaneously. However, the importance of bow thruster is significantly more than that of the stern thruster. Sailors can utilize the pitch of the blades to control the requirement of bow thrusters. This is identical to stern thrusters. Users and sailors can change this pitch as per the requirements.

Stern Thruster

A stern thruster is called a stern thruster because it is installed at the ship’s stern part (backward part). It is a propeller-shaped maneuvering thruster that may be electric-driven or hydraulic-driven. Usually, people prefer an electric-driven stern thruster due to its durability in an operational capacity.

Sailors install this thruster at the rear end of the ship in the tunnel. This tunnel is open at both ends of the ship. One end is used to suck the water, and the other is utilized in water discharge. Consequently, this whole process generates propulsion energy to maneuver the ship in the opposite direction.

It comes with pitch blades that are controlled with hydraulic oil whenever a change in the ship’s direction is required. Sailors can change this pitch depending upon the requirement. Sailors can make it zero if no thrust is required.

This maneuvering thruster is placed above the waterline of the ship. This is because it is at the backend of the ship. Moreover, it is also used to discharge the water taken in through the tunnel from the forward thruster.