What are the UK statutory requirements relating to testing of steering gear prior to departure?

The Merchant Shipping (Safety of Navigation) Regulations 2002 require compliance with SOLAS regulation V/26, which provides that within 12 hours before departure, the ship’s steering gear shall be checked and tested by the ship’s crew.Β 

The test procedure shall include, where applicable, the operation of the following: (1) the main steering gear; (2) the auxiliary steering gear; (3) the remote steering gear control systems; (4) the steering positions located on the navigation bridge; (5) the emergency power supply; (6) the rudder angle indicators in relation to the actual position of the rudder; (7) the remote steering gear control system power failure alarms; (8) the steering gear power unit failure alarms; and (9) automatic isolating arrangements and other automatic equipment. The checks and tests shall include: (1) the full movement of the rudder according to the required capabilities of the steering gear; (2) a visual inspection of the steering gear and its connecting linkage; and (3) the operation of the means of communication between the navigation bridge and the steering gear compartment. The date on which the checks and tests are carried out must be recorded. (In a UK ship an entry must be made on a special page of the Official Log Book and signed by the master, or an authorized person on his behalf, and an officer.)


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