SOLAS Ch V - Regulations
1. Application
2. Definitions
3. Exemptions & Equivalents
4. Navigation Warnings
5. Meteorological Services & Warnings
6. Ice Patrol Services
7. Search & Rescue Services
8. Life-Saving Signals
9. Hydrographic Services
10. Ship's Routeing
11. Ship Reporting Systems
12. Vessel Traffic Services
13. Aids to Navigation
14. Ships' Manning
15. Bridge Design
16. Maintenance of Equipment
17. Electromagnetic Compatibility
18. Navigational Systems & Voyage Data Recorder
19. Shipborne Navigation Systems
20. Voyage Data Recorders
21. International Code of Signals
22. Navigation Bridge Visibility
23. Pilot Transfer Arrangements
24. Use of Heading/Track Control Systems
25. Electrical Power
26. Steering Gear
27. Charts & Nautical Publications
28. Records of Navigational Activities & Daily Reporting
29. Distress Signals
30. Operational Limitations
31. Danger Messages
32. Information Required in Danger Messages:
33. Distress Situations
34. Safe Navigation
34-1 Master's Discretion
35. Misuse of Distress Signals
Regulation Appendix
A1. Categories of Waters & Classes of Ships
A2. Table of Requirements for Ships
A3. Nautical Charts & Publications
A4. WMO Maritime Services
A5. Routeing Systems
A6. Safe Manning
A7. Equipment Manuals
A8. Performance Standards & Type Approval
A9. Performance Standards for Navigational Equipment
A10. Voyage Data Recorders
A11. Navigation Equipment - New Ships
A12. Navigation Equipment - Existing Ships
A13. Magnetic Compass
A14. Electronic Charts
A15. Radar Reflectors
A16. Radar Equipment
A17. Automatic Identification Systems
A18. Steering Gear, Heading & Track Control Systems
A19. High Speed Craft Code
A20. Inspection & Survey of Navigational Equipment
A21. Pilot Transfer Arrangements
A22. Recording of Navigational Events
A23. Passenger Ship Operational Limitations
A24. Voyage Planning
A25. Guidelines for Voyage Planning
Regulation 26 - Steering Gear: Testing and Drills


  • Requirements for testing steering gear prior to departure.
  • Requirements for instructions.
  • Officers competence in steering gear operation / maintenance.
  • Requirements for testing emergency steering gear drills.
  • Reduced requirements for ships on short voyages.
  • Recording of tests and drills
Regulation 26
1. Within 12 hours before departure, the ship's steering gear shall be checked and tested by the ship's crew. The test procedure shall include, where applicable, the operation of the following:
1.1 the main steering gear;
1.2 the auxiliary steering gear;
1.3 the remote steering gear control systems;
1.4 the steering positions located on the navigation bridge;
1.5 the emergency power supply;
1.6 the rudder angle indicators in relation to the actual position of the rudder;
1.7 the remote steering gear control system power failure alarms;
1.8 the steering gear power unit failure alarms; and
1.9 automatic isolating arrangements and other automatic equipment.
2. The checks and tests shall include:
2.1 the full movement of the rudder according to the required capabilities of the steering gear;
2.2 a visual inspection for the steering gear and its connecting linkage; and
2.3 the operation of the means of communication between the navigation bridge and steering gear compartment.
3.1 Simple operating instructions with a block diagram showing the change-over procedures for remote steering gear control systems and steering gear power units shall be permanently displayed on the navigation bridge and in the steering compartment.
3.2 All ships' officers concerned with the operation and/or maintenance of steering gear shall be familiar with the operation of the steering systems fitted on the ship and with the procedures for changing from one system to another.
4. In addition to the routine checks and tests prescribed in paragraphs 1 and 2, emergency steering drills shall take place at least once every three months in order to practise emergency steering procedures. These drills shall include direct control within the steering gear compartment, the communications procedure with the navigation bridge and, where applicable, the operation of alternative power supplies.
5. The Administration may waive the requirements to carry out the checks and tests prescribed in paragraphs 1 and 2 for ships which regularly engage on voyages of short duration. Such ships shall carry out these checks and tests at least once every week.
6. The date upon which the checks and tests prescribed in paragraphs 1 and 2 are carried out and the date and details of emergency steering drills carried out under paragraph 4, shall be recorded.


MCA Guidance
1. Reg. 26 applies to all ships which proceed to sea except for UK-flagged pleasure vessels of less than 150 gt.
2. Replaces and revises SOLAS V/74 Regulation 19-2.
3. Regulations 24, 25 and 26 supersede the Merchant Shipping (Automatic Pilot and Testing of Gear) Regulations 1981 (SI 1981 no. 571) and together with the Guidance Notes supersede MGN 54 - "Use of Automatic pilots (Heading Control Systems).

See also ANNEX 18 - Steering Gear, Heading & Track Control System


© Crown Copyright.