A maneuvering thruster is a type of propeller for transverse propulsion inserted or integrated in the stern or bow, used for its specificity that makes a ship, or more generally a vessel, more maneuverable.

The main advantages of these propellers are the following:

  • Zero to maximum thrust transition in a brief time
  • Reverse thrust possible in a brief time
  • Almost identical performance on both sides of the vessel



In particular, a forward maneuvering thruster has the capacity to make the mooring and departure easier, given that it makes it possible for the vessel to approach the shore from both sides without the use of the main propulsion system. In bigger vessels, it is possible, and quite common, to integrate multiple maneuvering thrusters, both in the stern and bow.

This type of fixed coaxial propeller is mounted, fixed, and placed inside the hole created in the keel of the vessel, side to side, and it is a component capable of transverse thrusts in a fixed direction, having is axis of rotation perpendicular to the vessel’s plane of symmetry.

In case you do not want to have holes through the keel (for hydrodynamic reasons, for example) you can use a retractable azimuth propeller. The propeller unit is extracted, at the bottom of the keel, through a guide tube that, sliding inside a second tube inside the keel, allows the exit of the maneuvering propeller. Another advantage of this system is that the propeller can rotate around its vertical axis.

Usually propelled by diesel engines, hydraulic or electrical systems, these propellers located in transverse tunnels are equipped with grids that allow to avoid the aspiration of ropes during the operations of arrival and departure.

A different element created with the aim to stabilize the vessel in motion and during the phases of zero value thrusts is represented by the stabilizer fins, or simply “stabilizers”, which are nothing more than removable fins used in times of calm sea, otherwise inserted inside their crates located inside the hull.

Their functioning appears clear: when the hull is pushed to tilt towards one side thanks to the motion of the sea, these fins use an inversely directed thrust, pushing towards the opposite side, resulting in maintaining the vessel straight or, in case of rough sea, to limit its lateral movement.

These stabilizer fins are sloped, following the incidence angle opposite from the direction of the water.

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