Steering Gear Testing

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How is a steering gear tested

After prolonged use of autopilot and before entering coastal waters the steering gear must be tested at all the manual steering positions on the bridge.

In coastal waters more than one steering gear power unit, when such units are capable of simultaneous operation should be used.

Within 12 hours before departure from a port, check and test the steering gear along with the operation of the following:

• the main steering gear;

• the auxiliary steering gear;

• the remote steering gear control systems;

• the main steering position on the bridge;

• the emergency power supply;

• the rudder angle indicator in relation to actual rudder position;

• the remote steering gear control system power failure alarms;

• the steering gear power unit failure alarms; and

• automatic isolating arrangements and other automatic equipment.

The checks and test should include the full rudder movement, the timing of such movement from hard-over to hard-over and the operation of the means of communication between the bridge and the steering gear compartment.

All OOW must ensure they are familiar with the operation or maintenance of the steering gear along with the change over procedures.

Emergency steering drills should take place at least in every three months. It should include direct control  from within the steering gear compartment, the communication procedure with the bridge and, where applicable the operation of alternative power supplies.

The dates/ time of testing including details of emergency steering drills carried out are to be recorded in the logbook.

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