Frequently Asked Questions

Shipping
Operation
Maintenance
Installation
General
Batteries

Shipping

How much does it cost to ship a thruster to the United States or Canada?

We use FedEx Ground to ship to the U.S. and Canada. Each thruster costs $130.00 to ship within the U.S. and Canada.  Please call us for overseas shipping rates.

What is the shipping weight and dimensions?

SS/ST series bow and stern thrusters are shipped individually in a 29″x23″x13″ box and weigh between 50-57LBS.  PT/HB series thrusters are shipped individually in a 37″x26″x13″ box and weigh between 85-90LBS 

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Operation

Is Sideshift easy to use?

Yes, Sideshift’s bow and stern thrusters are very intuitive and easy to use. Just toggle left or toggle right on the joystick for operation. It can’t get any easier than that!

Does the motor pivot to push the boat the other way?

No, the thruster motor stays in a fixed position. The propellers reverse in direction to push the boat left or right.

How long can you run a Sideshift?

Sideshift bow and stern thrusters have a maximum run time of 30 seconds with a 10 second cool down. The immediate response means you will typically run the thruster for only a few seconds at a time

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Maintenance

What do I do for maintenance?

Change the anodes once per year to protect your investment from corrosion. Ensure that the airline is in good condition and secured in a dry location. Ensure that the bow and stern thruster mounts are properly secured to the boat and tighten any loose fasteners. As required or when you repaint the hull, paint the unit with anti-fouling paint… That’s it!

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Installation

How deep should I install the unit into the water?

Your Sideshift thruster must be installed with the top of the propellers five inches or deeper below the water surface.

What is the airline for and where does it go?

The airline serves as a vent for the thruster motor, to avoid pressure build-up on the seals. Please ensure that the airline is in good condition and is secured in a dry location inside the boat.

Do I have to take my boat out of the water to install a Sideshift bow or stern thruster?

No, Sideshift thrusters can be installed while your boat is still in the water since all the mounting locations are above the waterline. However, it is easier to install when your boat is out of the water.

How long does a Sideshift take to install?

The average installation ranges from 5 to 8 hours depending on the size and complexity of the interior wire runs.

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General

Does the thruster retract or deploy?

Our PT/HB series thrusters for houseboats and pontoon boats are fully retractable.  Our SS/ST series thrusters do not retract or deploy. They are permanently fixed to the hull and rise out of the water when the boat planes.

What about large waves hitting the bow thruster?

Sideshift thrusters are ruggedly manufactured using high quality cast aluminum, extruded aluminum and stainless steel components. Our unique three point mounting system creates an extremely strong attachment to the hull. Our bow thrusters have been used in some of the harshest environments around the world. Boats that are used in rough water should add checking to ensure all points of installation are secure on a regular basis as part of their maintenance program.

Can I install the thruster myself?

Yes, Sideshift thrusters were designed with the DIY’er in mind. With basic mechanical skills and a little bit of electrical system knowledge, you can easily install your own Sideshift system. Every thruster kit includes a detailed installation manual and unlimited phone support. Installation video’s can be viewed at Sideshift.com

Are Sideshift thrusters installed permanently or can I remove it?

Sideshift thrusters are a permanent mount. However, they can be removed and reinstalled on your next boat. They can also add value to your boat if you sell it.

How noisy are Sideshift thrusters?

Sideshift thrusters are silent and vibration-free since they are mounted on the exterior of the hull.

Can I still put my boat on a trailer after installing a bow or stern thruster?

Our bow and stern thrusters can be trailered for travel. Make sure that you to drive the trailer deep enough in the water to ensure it does not touch the bow thruster.

Do you have a wireless remote key fob?

Yes, we have an optional wireless key-fob available. One key-fob can control either a single thruster or both bow and stern thrusters from anywhere on the boat or dock. The wireless key fob is a great safety and convenience option.

I have an upper helm, can I install a joystick at both stations?

Yes, our motor controller is made for more than one joystick. You can purchase additional joysticks for your extra driving station or you can also choose to install a wireless key-fob controller so that you can control the thruster wirelessly from any location on your boat.

Will the bow and stern thrusters work on a displacement hull?

Yes, the thrusters will work on a displacement type hull and will create no noticeable drag.

What kind of corrosion protection do Sideshift bow and stern thrusters have?

Sideshift thrusters are protected with a two part Interlux epoxy primer and two coats of high quality Interlux anti-fouling paint. In addition, every thruster comes installed with sacrificial anode protection.

What if I hit something?

Sideshift bow and stern thrusters are very ruggedly built from high-grade aluminum and stainless steel to withstand the harshest environments and weather conditions. The Sideshift universal mounting system provides incredible strength that will actually protect the bow of your boat from logs and debris in the water.

What size of boat can Sideshift handle?

We have bow and stern thruster solutions for all types of boats ranging in length 20-70 feet. For larger boats beyond 60 feet we have many customers who have installed two stern thrusters for effective performance.

Do Sideshift bow thrusters create much drag when my boat is on plane?

No, unlike traditional thru-hull thrusters, there is no drag with Sideshift Bow and Stern Thrusters while the boat is on plane. Displacement or semi-displacement speeds create minimal drag that will be unnoticeable to the operator.

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Batteries

What gauge and length of cable should I use to connect power to the Motor Controller?

Our 340 series units can run on max 40 feet at 2/O.
The 350 series units can run on max 50 feet at 2/O.
Our 230 series units can run on max 30 feet on 1/O.
All amperage, voltage, duty and start-up/run amperage have been calculated and considered in the recommended cable length. All cable used must be high grade tin coated copper, marine grade cable. Cable ends must be high grade cast copper, tin coated compression type terminals with double wall heat shrink moisture protection.

How many batteries do I need?

SS230 require one 12V battery with 850 cold cranking amps.
SS340’s and ST340’s require two 12V batteries with a total of 1700 cold cranking amps in a parallel configuration.
SS350’s and ST350’s require two 12V batteries with a total of 850 cold cranking amps in a series(24V) configuration.

What is the best type of battery to use for my thruster? Where do I put the thruster batteries?

The most important consideration is meeting the required cold cranking amperes (CCA). Achieving high cranking amps is easier and more typical with a starting type battery vs. deep cycle. When choosing a location to install the batteries keep in mind the batteries need to be installed as close to the thruster as possible for optimum performance. If you are installing batteries in a non-vented area you will need to use AGM sealed batteries or sealed combination batteries. In vented areas you can install flooded starting type batteries or unsealed combination batteries.

Can I use the batteries from my windlass?

For the SS230 if the boat has windlass and the cabling is 1/0 in size the skipper may use this cabling as a power supply instead of a battery at the bow. The battery that is supplying the windlass must be at least 850 CCA. The SS230 draws 300 amps max so if there are fuses or breakers in line they must be able to meet that requirement.
For the SS340 if the boat has windlass and the cabling is 2/0 in size the skipper may use this cabling as a power supply instead of a batteries at the bow. The batteries that are supplying the windlass must be at least 1700 CCA. The SS340 draws 550 amps max so if there are fuses or breakers in line they must be able to meet that requirement.
All Sideshift motor controllers have built in breakers for protection. We do not recommend using windlass batteries for our SS350 bow thruster.

How close should my batteries be to the thruster? How far away can they be?

Batteries should be installed as close as possible to the thruster. Battery cable should not be longer than thirty feet from the motor controller. If you need to run long cables use good quality marine grade cable with correct gauge:
SS230 1/0 marine battery cable
SS/ST340 and SS/ST350 2/0 marine battery cable
Also ensure the use of good quality cable ends. The longer the battery cable the greater the potential for voltage drop and reduced performance.

Can I use my deep cycle battery bank?

We don’t recommend deep cycle batteries for our application. However, if the correct cold cranking amps(CCA) is present this may be an option.

Can I use my existing batteries?

Existing batteries can be used as long as the batteries meet Sideshift’s required cold cranking amps (CCA) and cabling size is adequate. Please remember it is always recommended that the batteries be as close to the thruster as possible.

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