What Is the Steering Wheel on a Ship Called? (Answered)

Steering Wheel

What Is the Steering Wheel on a Ship Called? The steering wheel on a ship is typically called the “helm”. It is the mechanism used by the helmsman to steer the ship by turning the rudder.

Ship Steering Wheel

In modern ships, the helm may be a traditional wheel, but it can also be a joystick, control panel, or other types of interface depending on the vessel’s design and technology.

There are many different types of helms, but they all have the same purpose: to help you control and change the course of your boat.

What is the Steering Wheel on a Pirate Ship Called?

In popular culture, the steering wheel on a pirate ship is often referred to as a “ship’s wheel” or simply a “wheel,” rather than a helm.

This is because the term “helm” is typically associated with more traditional and historical sailing vessels, while pirate ships are often depicted as being more rugged and less refined.

In reality, the steering mechanism on a pirate ship would have been similar to that of any other sailing vessel of its time, with a helm used to control the ship’s rudder.

However, the term “ship’s wheel” has become a common way to refer to the steering mechanism on pirate ships in literature, movies, and other popular media.

The ship steering wheel would have been a large wooden wheel typically attached to a crossbar and placed in the stern of the ship. The wheel would be connected to the rudder of the boat via a tiller, which allowed the captain to control the direction and speed of the boat.

The ship’s wheel was also often adorned with carvings and decorations, which helped further to distinguish pirate ships from more traditional sailing vessels.

What Does a Ship Steering Wheel Look Like?

A ship steering wheel, also known as a ship’s wheel or helm, typically has a circular shape and is located on the bridge or wheelhouse of the ship. The wheel is usually made of wood or metal and has several spokes radiating from the center hub. The spokes provide a secure grip for the helmsman to turn the wheel.

A mechanical linkage or a hydraulic system connects the wheel to the ship’s rudder. As the helmsman turns the wheel, the linkage or hydraulic system moves the rudder, which in turn changes the direction of the ship.

The size of a ship’s steering wheel can vary depending on the size of the vessel. In small boats, the steering wheel may be only a few inches in diameter, while in larger ships, it can be several feet in diameter. Additionally, some modern ships may have replaced the traditional ship’s wheel with a more modern electronic control system.

What Side of the Boat is the Steering Wheel on?

The boat steering wheel is always on the right-hand side of a boat, which in maritime terms is known as the starboard side. This has been a tradition for many years.

There are several reasons why a boat has its steering on the right-hand side, including convention and practical concerns. Most of these reasons are based on older customs and practices.

Keeping the steering wheel on the right-hand side of the boat is favorable to right-handed sailors, as most people are. It also allows for easier operation.

Some believe that this practice dates back to ancient times when most sailors used oars to steer the boats. Eventually, they replaced their oars with steering wheels.

Most modern boats have their steering on the right-hand side of the boat, but a small percentage of them are on the left. These include pleasure crafts and some wooden speedboats.

Why is the Steering Wheel in a Boat on the Right Side?

There are several reasons why the steering wheel in a boat is on the right side, but the main reason is to give you the best visibility of any traffic that comes toward your boat.

This makes it safer for you and your passengers and helps prevent any dangerous accidents or collisions that could happen on the water.

Another common reason for having a steering wheel on the right-hand side of a vessel is that it lets you see over your shoulder while operating the boat.

It also makes it easier to loom behind you and be aware of any issues on the engine or the vessel itself that you might not be able to see if you had the steering wheel in the center.

The final reason for steering on the right-hand side is that it helps to offset a small dip that occurs when a boat’s propeller spins clockwise.

This torque can cause the port side of the boat to sink a few degrees, so manufacturers put the steering on the right-hand side to help keep the weight evenly distributed.

What Does a Ship Steering Wheel Symbolize?

The ship steering wheel, also known as a helm, is a symbol that represents direction, control, and navigation. As a navigational tool, the helm is used to steer the ship and control its course, allowing the crew to navigate through the seas and reach their destination.

In addition to its practical use, the helm also has symbolic meaning in maritime culture. It represents the captain’s authority and responsibility for the safety and direction of the ship and its crew.

It also symbolizes the importance of having a clear direction and sense of purpose, both in sailing and in life.

The ship steering wheel is often used as a decorative element in nautical-themed decors, such as in beach houses, restaurants, and other coastal establishments.

It is also a popular tattoo design, often used to symbolize a sense of direction, guidance, or control in one’s life.

What Are The Advantages to a Tiller?

A tiller is a lever used for steering a boat, which is attached directly to the rudder. Here are some advantages of using a tiller:

  • Direct steering control: A tiller provides direct steering control over the boat and the rudder. The helmsman can feel the feedback from the rudder and make adjustments in real time.
  • Simplicity: A tiller is a simple steering mechanism, which makes it easy to use and maintain. There are fewer moving parts compared to a steering wheel, which reduces the risk of mechanical failure.
  • Space-saving: A tiller takes up less space than a steering wheel, which can be an advantage on smaller boats. It also allows for more space in the cockpit, making it easier to move around.
  • Accessibility: A tiller is often located closer to the back of the boat, making it more accessible to the helmsman. This can be an advantage for those with mobility issues, as it reduces the need for climbing or bending to reach the steering mechanism.
  • Affordability: A tiller is generally less expensive than a steering wheel, making it a more cost-effective option for smaller boats or those on a budget.

Overall, a tiller provides a simple and efficient steering mechanism that is suitable for a variety of boats and boating activities.

Some Basic Requirements For Steering Gear System in a Ship

A steering gear moves the rudder of a ship in response to a signal from the bridge. It consists of control equipment, a power unit, and a transmission unit to the rudder stock.

  1. Control Equipment: The control equipment is linked to the rudder stem/s and transmits a signal of desired rudder angle to activate the power unit and transmission system until the desired angle is achieved.
  2. Power Unit: The power unit in most cases is a hydraulic pump (radial piston type or axial piston type) driven by a big electrical motor. The pressure generated from the pump is pumped to a cylindrical block which moves parallel to the rudder and this movement in turn generates the torque that turns the rudder blades.
  3. Transmission Unit: The transmission unit in most cases is a ram/s that transfers the cylinder movement to the rudder blades with the help of mechanical linkage.
  4. Safety Features: The control equipment, power unit, and rudder stock should be of sound reliable construction. They should be designed and constructed to withstand the maximum working stresses of a given design, and the bearings for essential components should be permanently lubricated or provided with lubrication fittings to avoid the build-up of friction and reduced efficiency.
  5. Storage Tank: The hydraulic systems in the power-operated steering gear require a fixed storage tank that has sufficient capacity to recharge at least one power-actuating system. This tank is to be permanently connected by piping so that the hydraulic systems can be readily and rapidly refilled from within the steering gear compartment.

What Are Some Other Ship Parts?

While all ships have the same basic parts like hull, stern, and masts, some other important things are often overlooked when describing the parts of a ship. These include the keel, bulkheads, poop deck, and forecastle.

Keel (Center)

The keel is the center of the ship’s hull and serves as a foundation for the entire structure. Typically, the keel is built with girders and plates that are welded together to make a strong and sturdy structure for the ship.

Beam (Midships)

The beam is the imaginary line that extends port and starboard from directly amidships on a ship. It is the widest portion of the hull and helps the vessel maintain its stability.

Stern (After Ships)

The stern of a ship is the back section of a boat and includes propellers, rudders, and other important equipment. Depending on the type of boat, it can be flat, tapered, or come to a point.

Propellers & Rods

A propeller is an important part of any vessel because it produces the force needed to move the ship forward. The propellers have blades that spin and produce a torque that pushes the seawater backward, helping the ship move forward.

Rudders And Rods

Rudders are another very important part of any ship because they help the boat turn in the direction it needs to go. They can be fitted to either the stern or to the bow of a boat and are integral to keeping the boat from moving too fast in certain situations.

Boat Steering Wheel Design

Boat steering wheels come in a variety of designs and styles, depending on the type of boat and the preferences of the owner. Here are some common design elements and features of boat steering wheels:

  • Material: Boat steering wheels are typically made of durable and weather-resistant materials, such as stainless steel, aluminum, or wood. Some may have a leather or rubber grip for added comfort and traction.
  • Size: The size of the steering wheel will vary depending on the size of the boat and the intended use. Smaller boats may have a smaller wheel, while larger boats may require a larger wheel for better control.
  • Shape: The shape of the steering wheel may vary, with some being round, oval, or even hexagonal. Some may have spokes or grips that are angled for a more ergonomic feel.
  • Color: The color of the steering wheel may vary depending on the boat’s color scheme and style. Some may be painted or powder-coated, while others may be left in their natural metal or wood finish.
  • Hub design: The hub of the steering wheel may feature a hub cap or logo that can be customized to display the boat’s name or logo.
  • Mounting style: Boat steering wheels may be mounted in different ways, such as on a pedestal or console, or directly on the tiller or rudder post.
  • Accessories: Some boat steering wheels may come with additional features, such as integrated controls for throttle and shift, or a knob for easier steering in tight spaces.

Overall, the design of a boat steering wheel will depend on the style and functionality desired by the boat owner, as well as the size and type of the boat.

Boat Steering Wheel Mechanism

A steering system is a group of cables and parts that connect your steering wheel to the helm (the part of the boat with the steering and engine controls). These connections and attachments allow you to steer your vessel.

Traditionally, most boats used the “push-pull” type cable system. It was simple, reliable, and fairly inexpensive to install.

Today, most modern marine vehicles and sailboats use either a hydraulic or mechanical steering system. These systems are much more reliable, smoother to steer, and much easier to repair if they break down.

Traditional Steering Wheels

The boat steering wheel mechanism is typically composed of several components that work together to steer the boat. Here is a general overview of the parts that make up the boat steering wheel mechanism:

Steering wheel: The steering wheel is the main component that the boat operator uses to control the direction of the boat. It is connected to the steering system via a shaft or cable.

  1. Helm: The helm is the component that connects the steering wheel to the rest of the steering system. It is typically located inside the boat’s console and contains a gear or hydraulic system that converts the rotation of the steering wheel into the movement of the boat’s rudder or outboard motor.
  2. Shaft or cable: The shaft or cable connects the steering wheel to the helm and transmits the operator’s steering inputs to the rudder or outboard motor. The shaft or cable may be made of metal or composite materials, depending on the type of boat and steering system.
  3. Rudder or outboard motor: The rudder or outboard motor is the component that turns the boat in response to the operator’s steering inputs. The rudder is typically located beneath the boat’s hull and is controlled by a steering linkage that connects to the helm. The outboard motor is mounted on the transom of the boat and has a steering mechanism built into it.
  4. Hydraulic or mechanical steering system: The steering system may be either hydraulic or mechanical, depending on the size and type of boat. Hydraulic systems use fluid pressure to transmit steering inputs, while mechanical systems use cables or rods. Both types of systems may use a power-assisted mechanism to make steering easier.

Overall, the boat steering wheel mechanism is designed to provide precise and responsive control over the direction of the boat, allowing the operator to navigate through water with confidence and ease.


Hi, My name is Steve. Boating is my hobby :). Bought and sold many bots during the last 15 years. You can find the most current and old boat sales here. I am working hard to find the best gift ideas, to analyze the latest gadgets and accessories, and to provide reviews and recommendations to improve your boating experience. I hope you enjoy my site.

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