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Ship’s Characteristics, Continued - 14220_342
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Steering the Ship, Continued - 14220_344
Steering the Ship Helmsman and In  normal  steaming  conditions,  the  helmsman  is  normally  a  nonrated Master Seaman  from  the  Deck  Department.  However,  only  QMs  qualified  as Helmsman master  helmsman  man  the  helm  during  situations  where  precise shiphandling  is  required  (  unrep,  restricted  waters,  and  special evolution).  Keeping  a  ship  exactly  on  course  can  be  a  tough  job, especially  in  heavy  seas.  As  you  advance  to  higher  paygrades,  you  will be  required  to  complete  PQS  and  stand  watch  as  helmsman  and  master helmsman. The  following  discussion  will  cover  standard  orders  to  the  helm,  effects of  wind  and  current,  and  steering  the  ship  for  special  evolutions. Note:    Conning  officers  are  usually  assigned  from  the  ranks  of  junior officers.  Increasingly,  senior  QMs  are  tasked  with  standing  watch  as conning  oficer  and  even  OOD  on  smaller  ships.  The  study  of shiphandling  theory  is  highly  encouraged.  A  excellent  reference  is Crenshaw's  Naval  Shiphandling. Standard  Helm Rules: Orders The  courses  the  helmsman  steers  must  be  ordered  by  the  conning officer.  The  helmsman  should  have  the  ship  on  course  before  he  or she  surrenders  the  wheel  to  his  or  her  relief.  This  does  not  apply  to master  helmsman. The  words  port  and  starboard  are  never  used  when  giving  orders  to the  helmsman.  When  an  order  necessitates  a  change  of  rudder  angle to  right  or  left,  the  direction  of  change  is  always  stated,  such  as right  full  rudder. The  helmsman  always  repeats  all  orders  back  to  the  conning  officer, as  they  were  given  (word  for  word).  Standard  orders  to  the helmsman  and  their  corresponding  meanings  are  as  follows: Helm  Order Action RIGHT (LEFT) STANDARD Varies  on  different  ships  (usually  15°  rudder).  It  is  the RUDDER designated  number  of  degrees  of  rudder  angle  that  causes  the ship  to  turn  within  a  prescribed  distance  called  standard tactical  diameter.  You  must  find  out  what  standard  rudder  is on your ship. RIGHT (LEFT) FULL RUDDER Usually  means  30°  on  the  rudder  angle  indicator. 11-11

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