Sideshift Discovering Stress Free Docking

by admin

Kevin Higgie explains why he was so impressed with the Sideshift bow thruster that he became the Kiwi distributor. 


Having spent 20 years in the Royal New Zealand Navy as a marine engineer, I regularly skippered numerous vessels from 4m RIBs to 22m Liberty boats, along with owing numerous private trailer boats over the years, I considered I was an experienced skilled boatie. 

On purchasing our 12m launch with twin engines, I thought I’d be able to handle this little beauty with ease and confidence with my skills gained over the years. Coming home after our first trip away, the wind picked up, and I was about to get a reality check on how difficult it can be to dock even in mild to moderate winds. The flying bridge created additional windage, and the perfect day out turned to a scene I do not want to ever repeat with my launch going sideways into the bow of other berthed vessels. It was fortunate I had enough crew to help me finally gain control of the launch and dock. 

That was the day I started to investigate the possibility of fitting a bow thruster. Without any space in the hull of my boat, I was limited to what I could fit. The options were; a rim-drive tunnel thruster, a high-pressure water jet unit or the Sideshift Bow Thruster.

After contacting several companies and reading all the information on their website, Sideshift was the obvious answer. The Sideshift Thruster I was looking at was cost-effective after considering the other thrusters’ installation costs. Not forgetting the safety aspect that there are only six small holes above the waterline, not a 270mm tunnel or high-pressure water pipes throughout the hull.  

However, not having anyone I could talk to in NZ, I was a little unsure about dealing with a business offshore. I made many phone calls to their head office in Canada before I felt confident the company was a reputable one and the unit would be suitable for my boat and delivered. 

Once I received the thruster and watched the installation video, I felt satisfied that it was a DIY unit and installed it myself with a bit of help. It was straightforward to fit. After fitting the thruster, I went from requiring a crew of three to taking my launch out by myself.

I was so impressed with the ease of installation, the thruster’s size, and how quiet the unit ran, I wanted to tell the world about this company. I soon became the Sideshift NZ agent. I love this product and believe no matter how good you are manoeuvering your boat, a slight wind can sneak up on you and make a very happy day out, a dangerous situation. / Kevin Higge 0211549496.

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