Steering wheel (ship)


Steering wheel (ship)

The wheel of a ship is the modern method of adjusting the angle of the rudder, in turn changing the direction of the boat or ship. It is also called the helm, together with the rest of the steering mechanism.

Helmsmen on older ships steer using a tiller (a long stick) fixed directly to the rudder, or a whipstaff (a vertical stick acting on the tiller). Early ships wheels were operated to correspond to the motion of the tiller, with a clockwise motion (corresponding to a right tiller motion) turning the rudder and thus the ship to the left. Eventually the control direction of the wheel was reversed to make it more consistent with the action of a motor vehicle's steering wheel.

The wheel is typically connected to a mechanical or hydraulic system.

In some modern ships the wheel is replaced with a simple toggle that remotely controls an electro-mechanical or electro-hydraulic drive for the rudder, with a rudder position indicator presenting feedback to the helmsperson.


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