Freestanding or Bulkhead Mounted 2nd Station?

Classic Parker Boat Forum

Help Support Classic Parker Boat Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Ranger Tim

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2006
Reaction score
Central Virginia
Eminent Parker Brethren and Classic Parker Web Scholars,

I'm getting close to installation time on my second helm station. I am constantly see-sawing back and forth between the two positions -- It's driving me crazy. I am terrified that I'll do the install only to find out I would prefer the other placement. I sure could use a perspective on this from you owners that are fortunate to have the set up already!

I anticipate my use of the station to be primarily for trolling, fishing around structure (bridge tunnel islands), and when docking. The social contact I lose when steering while others are fishing is a real drag, not to mention there is no pole in my hands! Here are my concerns:

Bulkhead mount --
Not in a good position for handling rod and wheel at the same time? Not very easy to mount the Morse controls where they are not going to be accidentally whacked when moving to the bow using the step. Seems like the motion to turn the wheel will be an uncomfortable up and down movement, especially with a spinner handle. Won't be able to use the Parker factory station on the 2120 without modifying it extensively.

Freestanding --
Will this be in the way of landing fish? I always gaff and net fish alongside the boat amidships, away from the prop. Put a large cooler in the pit and we are talking roadblock on the starboard side of the boat. Is there a place I can mount my Garmin GPSMap 76 somewhere on this station and still see it while underway? Is it comfortable to steer with the wheel in a horizontal position?

I will be visiting the dealer to sit on some other models with dual stations for a while. I need to live with this decision before I commit to cutting a 3+ inch hole in my PH. Perhaps the freestanding station is best to start with, then switch to the bulkhead later if it seems better? Then I'll only be left with some screw holes to fill with epoxy in the floor.

BTW, I have an 11-1/2 inch wheel for this, and 1.7 Seastar pump. I am close to obtaining the Morse Twin SR's. I see no need for any more controls other than an emergency kill switch with lanyard.

What says the Classic Parker Brain Trust?
Ranger Tim":1raifqs7 said:
I see no need for any more controls other than an emergency kill switch with lanyard.
IMHO an emergency STARTER is more important than the kill switch, though if you think you'll do any more than just trolling, i.e., running & gunning for fish, then by all means - install the kill stop too.

But I tell you - you think your OB won't stall when coming into the dock - but the 1st time it does when the wind and tide is on and you're coming into a slip ... yeah, you'll thank me you installed the spare starter switch. It's less than $20 and connects to 2 existing terminals on the ignition switch, simple to install.

In regards to bulkhead versus helm - your choice - though I will say I don't find the wheel position a hindrance on the bulkhead. But also remember, I switched my control position for the aux helm so they wouldn't be int he way when going up forward.
Hmmm, point well made. It won't be difficult to run two more wires. Sounds like a good idea. I hope there aren't fifteen other wires I end up needing to run!
On a 21 parker I would go bulkhead mount. I say this for several reasons.

1. it will take up less cockpit space which is more limited on the 21'er.
2. It is easier to see the electronics like fishfinder if you are peeking through the back window while running from a bulkhead mount.

You can still jig and cast at the wheel while fishing structure and are in the cock pit while trolling. On a larger parker the arguments for a free standing unit are a bit stronger. however on the 21, I think the bulkhead is the way to go. Just one opinion.
Couple of thoughts:

In addition to the kill lanyard, I have a black "engine off" button and a red "engine start" button.

I find it extremely hard to fish (jig) near structure (jettys, CBBT, etc) and control the boat anyway so I rarely ever get to fish in those circumstances especially with any riping current. But being in the 'pit allows me to be the Captain and direct the action.

In the summer we like to "run and gun", casting to breaking fish. The Start/Off buttons rocks for that.

So far everyone I have taken out knows not to touch the cockpit controls unless I ask them to, but you will have folks (even yourself) grab the 'pit wheel briefly if the boat is pitching.

ETA: Oh yeah, mines freestanding:


I am leaning toward the freestanding station. Perhaps some others will read this over the weekend and post. Not necessarily looking to poll everyone, just looking for insight.

Thanks Rangerdog for the quick word on the start and stop switches. This may suit me as I do a lot of the same type of fishing as you. Running to schools of breaking fish is common. I do spend a lot of time around the rock islands of the tunnels, casting for rockfish and trout. You must be on your toes when that close, keeping a sharp eye out for large ship wakes. They can throw you onto the island very quickly. I have also had the water virtually sucked out from under me on occasion.


  • Bow-Flare.jpg
    63 KB · Views: 5,377
Ranger Tim,
Do you have a 2120 ???
If so, I have a complete bulkhead mounted station I will sell you if interested, just make me an offer.
Capt. Ronnie,

Yes, she's a 2120. I work for the Boy Scouts so my salary dictates that I do this on the cheap! I hope to get it done for $800 or less. It may take a while but I am patient. Your set-up is killuh! but it blows my budget into next year. Why do I pick such expensive hobbies?!! And the bloodletting at the gas pumps is really damaging.

I am gearing up for the summer camp season here so the boat is getting "summerized." I work 7am to 11pm everyday for about four months straight. It won't get dunked again until September -- late flounder season then striper madness. Late spring is when I get boat projects done in my spare time.

Thanks for everyone's responses so far. I am listening.
Yamaha used to make a dual station set up. Have they stopped making it? With Yamaha's reputation, and quality of the single stations, why would Parker use aftermarket dual controls if Yammi stuff is available?
FishFactory":1y51k40l said:
why would Parker use aftermarket dual controls if Yammi stuff is available?

Not certain I can answer your question directly, as I've never seen a Yamaha dual station setup.

After using my dual Morse setup now for almost 2 months, I have to say that I like it.
It does take time to un-learn a single stick, and re-learn a dual stick setup... but it can me done. :D


Well I know its not a Parker, but our Eastern 27 has a 2nd station, and it is built directly into the washboard. I'm not sure if you have the space, but this may be an option.


  • 2ndstationresize.jpg
    65.9 KB · Views: 5,247
Nut makes a good point.
In fact, Judge Yachts puts their controls directly on the washboard too.


You'd still need to mount the kill lanyard and starter button somewhere, but it could be done on a Parker too if you wished to do so.
B-Faithful":ethe9851 said:
Kevin, Nuts boat is probably a Judge-built Eastern being that he is from MD :wink:

And it looks to be an IB too. :)
Yeah, no starter or kill switch at my 2nd station. Just Forward, Reverse, and throttle. I would use it if I had it, but its not too far of a walk to the front station to kill it.
nut":2eewdm0u said:
Yeah, no starter or kill switch at my 2nd station. Just Forward, Reverse, and throttle. I would use it if I had it, but its not too far of a walk to the front station to kill it.
Granted ... but it is TOO FAR to walk to start it ... if she stalls when docking ... :shock: !

I am not too enthused about the direct gunwhale mounting, or "washboard mount," as you call it. It seems like a less than elegant solution to the problem. What about the proximity to salt spray and virtual flooding with seawater coming down the deck? This would seem to solve the deck space problem though. I will have to measure the width and see if the wheel has enough clearance without hanging over the rub rail.

My wife is arguing against the freestanding station vehemently, and she usually gets what she wants. Yes, she drives the boat quite a bit also.

This thread has been very helpful, however I don't seem to be getting strong reactions from folks as far as the differences regarding ergonomics. What is it you like or dislike about the placement?
My boat runs a little bow high, and I don't have tabs, so it is not very practicle to run at any speed from the second station. Visibility is slightly reduced.

It does make for easy docking. I am close to the stern so when I come into a dock, I can have someone on the bow, and can handle the back of the boat myself.

I understand your concern about the spray and water running down the gunwhale. I just hose it off with fresh water at home, and lube it up occasionally. It only gets wet on the roughest days.
Tim as far as deck space goes the bulkhead mount is the way to go and if I had a 25 footer I would want it. What concerns me is the space that would be taken up in the pilot house behind to helm station. I assume that you would box in the equipment with starboard...

I would talk seriously to Capt. Ronnie about that issue and see if it impacted him or not.

On the other hand, the availability of his complete bulkhead station might sway me to go that way! Pretty straight forward installation.

Hope this helps