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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Lambert

Smooth Sailing Ahead: The Importance of Proper Boat Steering System Maintenance

Updated: Jun 4


The Mobile Mariner | Jensen Beach | Florida | Martin County | Boat Service

There's nothing better than hopping on your boat and relaxing on the water, especially on a beautiful day. When you have a boat with a reliable steering system, it's easy to believe that it will always work.


But we all know that nothing on a boat lasts forever.


Ensuring your boat stays on course is essential for an enjoyable and safe time on the water. Boat steering maintenance is critical to managing direction and control, and it requires maintenance to perform at its best. When you make it a priority to take care of your boat's steering system, you can enjoy a worry-free boating experience.


Unless you're rowing a canoe or a kayak, you should expect to have some type of steering system on your boat (especially if there's a motor on it). In this article, we are going to discuss two different forms of steering and the best way to maintain them.


Cable Steering

Hydraulic Steering

Maintenance Matters


 

Cable Steering


The Mobile Mariner | Jensen Beach | Florida | Martin County | Boat Service

This type of steering consists of a cable running from the boat's helm (aka the steering wheel) to the rudder or engine, controlling the direction of your boat. When your steering wheel is turned, it will pull on the cable and move the engine or rudder in your desired direction. It is a reliable yet simple system, but it does require routine maintenance to ensure that it properly functions. Inspecting the cable for signs of wear and tear, such as fraying or kinks as well is important because if your cable is damaged or fails, this can lead to a loss of steering control, which can be dangerous while out on the water.



Hydraulic Steering


The Mobile Mariner | Jensen Beach | Florida | Martin County | Boat Service

Hydraulic steering is commonly used on larger boats and those with high-powered outboard motors, as it provides more precise and responsive control than other types of steering systems. This type of steering uses hydraulic fluid to transfer force from the steering wheel to the boat's motor or outboard. With this kind of system, checking fluid levels and making sure there are no leaks in the system is prevalent to its upkeep.





The Mobile Mariner | Jensen Beach | Florida | Martin County | Boat Service


- Hydraulic fluid in your bilge is a tell-tale sign you have a leak.



Maintenance Matters

Routine inspections are crucial to making sure your boat steering system is properly functioning. Visually check connections for damage, including wear and tear, rust, or corrosion. Promptly repair or replace any damage to ensure safe navigation. Neglecting this essential maintenance could risk your safety (and enjoyment) on the water. For your cable steering, simple maintenance includes lubrication. You can start by pulling out the cable from the engine's tilt tube, and then remove the old grease and dirt. Next, apply a thin layer of grease to both the outside and inside of the cable and place it back into the engine's tilt tube.


Maintenance matters for hydraulic steering as well, but it is rather minimal compared to what it could be. You should always perform visual inspections of your hydraulic lines, checking for cracks or any corrosion. To keep your hydraulic steering in tip-top shape, make sure you consider bleeding your lines. Bleeding your lines means ridding them of excess air that is trapped.



Providing Peace of Mind


The Mobile Mariner is committed to providing quality boat maintenance and repair service right at your home, dock, or slip. If your steering system is giving you problems, call us. We will troubleshoot the problem on the spot and work both diligently and efficiently to provide you with a solution.


Our focus is to provide quality service, customer satisfaction, and the peace of mind you deserve.




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