SOLAS V and Steering Gear

Navsregs>SOLAS>SOLAS V>Steering Gear

Stern of Isle of Wight Ferry Leaving Portsmouth

Another Regulation of SOLAS V-Safety of Navigation-explored

And so the wader through SOLAS V continues with its equipment related theme. This time its the steering gear, and in particular. the tests an Officer of the Watch must conduct.

Regulation 26-Steering gear- Testing and Drills

This Regulation within SOLAS V contains the requirements for the pre-sailing tests of steering gear tests.

Click here for the UK MCA guidance on Regulation 26>

When should the pre-departure testing of steering gear be conducted?

It should be tested within 12 hours before departure

What equipment should include within the steering gear testing procedure?

  • The main steering gear
  • The auxiliary steering gear
  • The remote steering gear control systems
  • The steering positions located on the navigation bridge
  • The emergency power supply
  • The rudder angle indicators in relation to the actual position of the rudder
  • The remote steering gear control system power failure alarms
  • The steering gear power unit failure alarms
  • The automatic isolating arrangements and other automatic equipment

What tests and checks should be included in the steering gear testing procedures?

  • The full movement of the rudder according to the required capabilities of the steering gear
  • A visual inspection for the steering gear and its connecting linkage
  • The operation of the means of communication between the navigation bridge and steering gear compartment


The flag state may waive the requirements to carry out the checks and tests for ships which regularly engage on short voyages. Such ships shall carry out these checks and tests at least once every week.

How often should the emergency steering gear be tested?

Emergency steering drills shall take place at least once every three months.

These drills shall include

  • Direct control within the steering gear compartment
  • The communications procedure with the navigation bridge
  • Where applicable, the operation of alternative power supplies

The date upon which the checks and tests are carried out and the date and details of emergency steering drills carried shall be recorded.

What should be displayed regarding the steering gear change over procedures?

A simple operating instructions with a block diagram showing the change-over procedures for remote steering gear control systems. This shall be permanently displayed on the navigation bridge and in the steering compartment.

Note: All ships’ officers concerned with the operation and/or maintenance of steering gear shall be familiar with the operation of the steering systems fitted on the ship and with the procedures for changing from one system to another.

Car ferry manouvering

In addition to the testing requirements, SOLAS V contains a short regulation requiring the use of more than one steering gear.

SOLAS V Regulation 25-Operation of Steering Gear

When should more than one steering gear be used?

In areas where navigation demands special caution,  when steering gear units are capable of simultaneous operation.

Click here for MCA guidance on Regulation 25>

A diversion beyond SOLAS V into the Construction section of the convention gives the performance standards required when testing the steering gear.

SOLAS II-1 Regulation 29-Steering Gear

How quick should a rudder turn?

At maximum ahead service speed the rudder must be capable of putting the rudder over:

From 35° on one side to 35° on the other side


From 35° on either side to 30° on the other side in not more than 28 seconds.

The auxiliary steering gear shall be of adequate strength and capable of steering the ship at navigable speed and be capable of putting the rudder over from 15° on one side to 15° on the other side in not more than 60 seconds at one half of the maximum ahead service speed or 7 knots, whichever is the greater.

Other online sources of information

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Cover of the Really handy Guide to Ship Certification, part 3. A Really Handy Guide to Ship Certification

Part 3

Keeping Vessels safe

The third in the series of revision guides on Ship certification is now available for the Kindle Platform.  SOLAS safety certification and Security are the themes this time, with a bit of HSSC thrown in for good measures.

Click here to see on Amazon>

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2 thoughts on “SOLAS V and Steering Gear

  1. […] Regulation 25 -Operation of main source of electrical power and steering gear […]


  2. […] Regulation 25 -Operation of main source of electrical power and steering gear […]


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