Summary of Steering Gear Regulations & Requirements

(By Kamal Hossain, Chief Engineer)


  1. Steering gear compartment must be separated from machinery spaces and readily assessable.
  2. Every ship shall be provided with main steering gear and auxiliary steering gear.
  3. The failure of one of them must not render the another one operation.
  4. Relief valves shall be fitted to any part of the hydraulic system. Setting shall not exceed designed pressure, i.e , 1.25 times of working pressure.
  1. Main steering gear and rudder stock shall be:
    • Capable to put rudder hard over from 35 deg. one side to 35 deg. another side not more than 28 second while running with full sea speed and full loaded draught.
    • They should be done at maximum astern speed as also.

  1. The auxiliary steering gear shall be:
  • Adequate strength and capable of steering the ship at navigational speed and could be brought to action in an emergency.
  • Capable to put rudder from 15 deg. one side to 15 deg. another side not more than 60 second with the ship full loaded condition with speed not less than 7 knot.
  1. Rudder angle indicator shall be independent from steering gear control system.
  2. Means of quick communication to be provided between Wheel house , E.R & Steering gear room.
  3. System oil low level alarm , audible and visible to be provided in Wheel house , E.R & steering room.
  4. Fluid used must be approved type and non freezing.
  5. With stock diameter 230 mm and above, an alternative power supply , capable to provide within 15 second, automatically, must be provided. Its capacity shall be at least 30 minutes for the ship 10000 grt and above. 10 minutes for other smallers.
  6. Electrical wiring system for steering gear shall be sized to accept 100 % load.


Steering gear system is subjected to annual survey , intermediate survey and special survey under machinery items by Classification Society. The following parts are to be surveyed not exceeding 2 years interval.

  1. Fastening of steering gear , quadrants , tillers and rudder brake
  2. Any leakage of hydraulic system
  3. The motors with starters , control gears and electrical
  4. Insulation resistance test to motors and wiring system
  5. Function test including emergency operation.
  6. Alarm test of safety arrangements , such as
  • Oil level alarm
  • Control voltage failure alarm
  • Over load alarm
  • Phase failure alarm
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