Regulation 24 - Use of heading and/or track control systems


  • Immediate change-over from automatic to manual control in given conditions.
  • Requirement for additional helmsperson in such conditions.
  • Changeover to be supervised by officer.
  • Testing of manual steering after prolonged period in autopilot.
Regulation 24
1. In areas of high traffic density, in conditions of restricted visibility and in all other hazardous navigational situations where heading and/or track control systems are in use, it shall be possible to establish manual control of the ship's steering immediately.
2. In circumstances as above, the officer in charge of the navigational watch shall have available without delay the services of a qualified helmsperson who shall be ready at all times to take over steering control.
3. The changeover from automatic to manual steering and vice versa shall be made by or under the supervision of a responsible officer.
4. The manual steering shall be tested after prolonged use of heading and/or track control systems, and before entering areas where navigation demands special caution.
MCA Guidance
1. Reg. 24 applies to all ships which proceed to sea except for UK-flagged pleasure vessels of less than 150 gt.
2. In the circumstances described in Paragraph 1, navigational watches must be manned so as to ensure that a qualified helmsman is available as required in Paragraph 2.

MCA Guidance on the testing and operation of steering gear and heading and track control systems is contained in ANNEX 18


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