The IWG is gathering data relating to bow thrusters used by inland waterways vessels to be more informed and be able to produce appropriate advice to Owners.

The information you provide will be shared amongst all IWG members periodically e.g. at each meeting. No specific information to identify the vessel or its owner should be provided in this form.

Please complete the form below with as much detail as possible and then click “Submit

Guidance regarding bow thruster tubes, published by the “British Marine Inland Boating Code” can be found below the form.

Extract from the British Marine Inland Boating Code



Bow thruster tubes are a special hull area, the condition of which, due to the location, can be difficult to access. Tube installation techniques, protection by the paint coating and maintenance should be carefully considered.


a. When fitting a mild steel bow thruster tube, it is good practice to use thick wall tube, such as at least the same thickness as the hull, the thruster manufacturer should confirm that correct wall thickness in line with the design to ensure that the thruster is not off centre which can lead to failures.

b. Tube grills or guards should be detachable to facilitate maintenance.

c. Builders should consider fitting the tube into a watertight area of the hull, such that, if the tube or fittings leaked, filling the watertight area would not directly lead to the craft sinking.

d. Proprietary paint coatings should be used within bow thruster tubes and consideration should be made to using abrasion-resistant paint.

e. Fitting sacrificial anodes within the bow thruster tube is good practice.

f. Builders should ensure that the Owner’s Manual makes specific mention of the need for regular maintenance of bow thruster tube to include:

  1. A recommendation that the tube is recoated every time the hull coating is applied.
  2. A recommended period between coatings, with normal practice being every two years but dependent upon use and the coating.
  3. Replacement of tube anodes when necessary.
  4. Advice pointing out the importance and limitations of painting the bow thruster tube.

Page Last Updated 4th March 2024