Orders to the helmsman | blog

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the helmsman and their corresponding meaning are as follows:

RIGHT (LEFT) FULL RUDDER usually means 30 degrees on the rudder angle indicator.

HARD RIGHT (LEFT) RUDDER means put therudder over to the right the maximum degrees allowed by that class of ship.

RIGHT (LEFT) STANDARD RUDDER varies on different ship classes. It is the designated number of degrees of rudder angle that causes the ships of that class to turn within a prescribed distance, called the ship's standard tactical diameter. You must find out what standard rudder is on your ship.

COME RIGHT (LEFT) TO 148 means to swing the ship's head in the direction stated and steady it on the course given; in this example, 148 degrees.

STEER 190 is the order usually given for only a minor change of heading to the number of degrees specified.

STEADY ON 225 states the course on which the ship's head is to be steadied. It normally is given while swinging.

INCREASE YOUR RUDDER means to increase the rudder angle; it is usually ordered when the conning officer wants the ship to move more rapidly.

EASE YOUR RUDDER means to reduce the rudder angle. It may be given as “EASE TO 15 DEGREES (10 DEGREES, 20 DEGREES) RUDDER".

RUDDER AMIDSHIPS means to put the rudder on the centerline; no rudder angle. As a rule, this order is merely, “MIDSHIPS!” 

MEET HER means to check but not stop the swingby putting on opposite rudder. This order may he given when the ship is nearing the desired course.

STEADY means to steady the ship on the course itis heading at the time the order is given. If the ship is swinging at the time, the heading must he noted and the lubber's line brought back to and steadied on it as soon as possible. The order is also stated “STEADY AS YOU GO,” and “STEADY AS SHE GOES.”

SHIFT YOUR RUDDER commands you to change to the same number of degrees of opposite rudder angle.In other words, if your rudder angle is 15 degrees right and the order is given, you change to 15 degrees left rudder. This order is given most often when a single-screw ship loses headway and begins to gather stemway, so as to partially counteract its tendency to back to port.

MIND YOUR HELM! is a warning that the ship is swinging off the course because of bad steering.

NOTHING TO THE RIGHT (LEFT) is given when the presence of some danger on one side or the other makes it necessary to avoid a set in that direction You must keep the ship from swinging past the course in the direction warned against.

HOW IS YOUR RUDDER? is a question to the helmsman .The helmsman should reply, “5 (10, 15, etc.)DEGREES RIGHT (LEFT), SIR” or “FULL(STANDARD) RIGHT (LEFT) RUDDER, SIR.”

HOW DOES SHE HEAD? or MARK YOUR HEAD? is a question to the helmsman. The helmsman should give the ship's head at the time, for example,“TWO SEVEN FIVE, SIR.”  

KEEP HER SO means to continue to steer the course you are heading. This order is usually given after you state the course you are steering.

VERY WELL is a reply of the conning officer to the helmsman, meaning that the situation is understood.

You must repeat distinctly, word for word, every order you receive so the officer of the deck or pilot may know that you understood correctly. Also report when you have carried out an order; for instance, report immediately when the rudder is right full or the ship is steady on 257 degrees. Also, when you are making as wing, report occasionally the compass heading that the lubber's line is passing so the conning officer can tell how far the ship has gone through the swing. Thus, if ordered to take the ship right from 000 degrees to 045 degrees, do not wait until you are heading 045 degrees to report. As the ship's head goes through the swing,report about every 10 degrees: ‘PASSING 010, SIR,”for example.