Regardless of the make or type of your thruster, our propulsion engineers can perform maintenance, overhauls or repairs in dock, in-house, afloat or submerged. 

With over 30 years experience and with mechanical and electrical service engineers at our disposal, we can deploy at short notice to any location worldwide. For more information, use the form lower down the page or ring +441206 645 065.

Our Thruster Services

Bow, Stern & Azimuth thruster service Inspection:

Backlash measurement verification
Gear tooth contact pattern verification
Bearing clearance / prestress verification on pinion and propeller shaft
Propeller blades seals exchange
Propeller shaft seals exchange
4 point bearing check
Blade tip clearances verification
Propeller / blade repair and polishing
Function test

Bow, Stern & Azimuth thruster general overhaul:

Check and record all data prior to disassembly
Disassembly of thruster
Check & calibrate hub parts
NDT of all critical parts including gear set
Backlash and pattern adjustments
Propeller / blade repair and polishing
Function tested


Bow and Stern Thrusters are now considered essential pieces of propulsion equipment within the shipping industry, as they provide additional manoeuvrability.  This is particularly useful during challenging operations like docking and some offshore operations.  Thrusters also assist vessels to dock independently, which can, in some situations eliminate the need for tugboat assistance.

What are bow and stern thrusters?

Bow and stern thrusters are transverse propulsion devices. They operate independently of the main propulsion system.  Modern ships tend to use tunnel thrusters. These are built into the bow or stern. They are positioned below the waterline but ships with thrusters generally have some sort of indicator of this above the waterline. This is usually a red X.

Thrusters do have the potential to create undesirable resistance while the ship is in forward motion. This can, however, be mitigated by ensuring that the tunnel aperture is properly faired aft.

How bow and stern thrusters can be maintained

All bow and stern thrusters should have a grille in front of them. This will limit the amount of debris that can get into the tunnel and/or impeller. Not with standing this, thrusters will still need periodic cleaning.

The space heater should be checked regularly. This is important to keep the insulation dry. For the same reason, you should check for leaks in the bow thruster room. These usually indicate a damaged seal. The insulation itself should be carefully monitored. If it starts to get damaged by moisture, you need to find out before the next time you need to rely on your thrusters.

Once a month or thereabouts you should check and grease the motor and links. You should also test for water in the hydraulic oil and check the thickness of the contractors.  

How bow and stern thrusters can be repaired

More in-depth maintenance and basic repairs can be done while the ship is in dry dock. It might be possible to keep the thrusters on the ship. If not, they will generally only be transported to a nearby warehouse. This kind of work is usually undertaken as part of a planned dry dock.

How bow and stern thrusters can be overhauled

When bow and stern thrusters need a major overhaul, they do need to be disconnected completely from the ship. This allows the thrusters to be stripped back to their components for in-depth cleaning and repair or replacement.

All thrusters will need a major overhaul from time to time as components do wear out through use. The number and frequency of major overhauls can, however, be kept to a minimum through proper maintenance and repair.

Contact Us

Get in touch today to get a quote or ask a question.

If you have a question about your propulsion system or would like a quote for fault finding, technical support, overhaul or service, just fill out your details on this page and we will contact you or you can contact us using the details below.



+44 1206 645 065


Bartech Propulsion Limited, Unit D-F, Chandlers Row, Colchester, Essex, CO1 2HG

+44 1206 645 065


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