27 Jun

Choosing the Right Steering System for Your Boat

It is normal for boat owners to pay particular attention to the exterior aspects of their boats, given that they probably would want to keep them looking well-maintained form the outside. Design and layout aside, a well-maintained boat should also have up and running systems that are safe and proven to last for years to come, one of which is the steering system.

Marine steering can be classified into the below categories:

  • Mechanical (cable) steering comes in two forms: rotary (can be reduction gear type of planetary gear type) and rack and pinion. This type of system is often durable and reliable.
  • Hydraulic steering can be manual or power-assisted. Advantages include comfortableness, efficiency, precise and quick response at the wheel, effortless steering, ability to absorb road shocks, and greater safety under critical conditions.

Dual (twin) cable steering is recommended for performance boats or engines that are unable to tolerate some backlash or lost motion. It adjusts one or both cables at the engine, thus minimizing engine flutter and handling instability.

Below is a video demonstrating the installation of a hydraulic steering system:

If you are considering changing your steering system or are purchasing or designing a new boat, the following factors should be considered for your steering gear:

  • Rudder can be moved in either direction
  • Can reset immediately in the position fitting to what is shown on indicator on the bridge
  • Is protected from possible damage arising from a heavy sea strike
  • Should have a simple design, robust construction and reliable performance at all times

Hydraulics is becoming more popular on mid to high horsepower outboard applications. Gulf Coast Air & Hydraulics can provide the right type of hydraulic helms and cylinders for an optimized steering. They can fix problems with your steering systems while maintaining safety and high-quality work.


By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

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