What does SOLAS require regarding the use of steering gear at sea?

SOLAS Regulation V/24 (Use of heading and/or track control systems) makes four requirements as follows.Β 

(1) In areas of high traffic density, in conditions of restricted visibility and in all other hazardous navigational situations where heading and/or track control systems are in use, it must be possible to establish manual control of the ship’s steering immediately. (2) In circumstances as above, the OOW must have available without delay the services of a qualified helmsperson who must be ready at all times to take over steering control. (3) The changeover from automatic to manual steering and vice versa must be made by or under the supervision of a responsible officer. (4) The manual steering must be tested after prolonged use of heading and/or track control systems, and before entering areas where navigation demands special caution.


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What is the MCA’s guidance regarding the testing of manual steering at sea?

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