Elliot Lewis & his boat - Bennington Banner / by Peter Crabtree

Students in an engineering class at Bennington, Vermont’s Career Development Center are working to repair the steering and other components of a boat in order to return it to the water.

Elliot Lewis, a 17-year-old senior at Mount Anthony Union High School, is one of the five students in an Engineering 2 class who is trying to restore a 15-foot, 1959 fiberglass and wooden Runabout, the Bennington Banner reports.

“I started out thinking I would do the whole boat, but with time constraints, I decided to just do the lighting and steering instead,” Lewis told the news source.

He added that these components needed the most work. “The steering was non-existent when I started.” Cable and pulley style steering was the standard fitment to a boat of this era. Indeed, helms and cable steering systems have come a long way since those early days of the “close-line” style of steering system with cables running down both sides of the gunwhales to the outboard.

Outboard Steering

Single cable steering systems are most common in smaller boats that are propelled with an outboard. The Uflex Rotech Universal Rotary Cable Steering System, which includes helm, bezel and cable, is ideal for replacement marine boat steering systems.

If you’re replacing a cable steering system, you will need to calculate the cable length. When replacing an existing system, you can usually find the cable part number and length about two feet from the helm connection, imprinted into the cable’s jacket. If you can’t locate or read the numbers on your cable, you can calculate the appropriate steering cable length by measuring the plastic jacket only and adding 18 inches

Rotary Steering Helm

Cable steering systems are the most common type of boat steering mechanisms used in vessels with an outboard or stern drive for propulsion. Available cable systems include single or double cable models offered with either a rack and pinion or rotary helm unit.

All cable steering systems contain a jacketed cable that connects the turning wheel through the helm unit to the outboard or drive of the boat. The helm uses a push-pull motion on the steering cable so that when the driver turns the steering wheel, steering cables control the outboard or stern drive and direct the boat.

Rotary steering systems are manufactured by both Teleflex Morse and Uflex. A planetary rotary helm is the most compact and consists of three or more gears that mesh internally with the cable drum to move the helical core of the steering cable. The rugged reduction gear rotary helm is built with one or more gears that mesh externally with the drum to move the helical core of the steering cable. These rotary helms offer a compact system that will fit behind any dash or console. Rotary steering cable systems are available in both standard versions and no-feed (NFB) versions.

Rack and Pinion Steering Helm

Rack and pinion systems are also available in standard and NFB versions. This system involves a pinion gear, hobbed directly into the helm shaft and engages a rack gear in a tubular housing. The rack and pinion helm may require more space behind your boat’s console because of the long bar that acts as the rack. Rack and pinion steering is the most efficient mechanical approach to moving the steering cable.

If your boat has an engine over 150 horsepower or multiple engines, you’ll want to choose an NFB or “Zerotorque” steering cable system, which is designed for higher horsepower performance applications. If you are looking for a smaller, practical system for a vessel with under 60 horsepower, the Uflex Rotech will work well.

Did you know…Go2marine sells complete boat steering systems as well as steering parts to build your own system or repair your existing  system? Whether you are looking for helm pumps, steering cylinders or rebuild kits, you will find that we carry a large selection of  Teleflex, Hynautics, Vetus, Uflex, Wagner parts to finish or maintain your vessel.

SeaStar Hydraulic Outboard Steering System

SeaStar Hydraulic Outboard Steering System

Teleflex offers the BayStar Hydraulic Steering System that is ideal for small boats, including inflatables and runabouts with small to medium single outboard powered engines to 125 horsepower.  This system comes complete with everything needed for an install.   For single and twin nonpower-assisted outboard engines up to 300HP, cruisers, runabouts, offshore fishing boats, the SeaStar No FeedBack, Hydraulic Steering System is an industry standard. Suitable for speeds up to 60MPH. For more information about SeaStar Steering, visit Teleflex http://ww2.seastarsteering.com

If you have any questions about purchasing a hydraulic steering system, don’t hesistate to contact our Go2marine Engine Specialists at 1-800-998-9508.

Edson Boat Steering Wheels

Edson manufactures boat steering wheels for both sailboats and powerboats. From Edson’s American Manufacturing locations, they produce stainless steel, wood, cast and composite boat steering wheels.  Edson supplies boat steering wheels that are suitable for any vessel of any size.

edson boat steering wheels

Edson’s Carbon Fiber Boat Steering Wheel – less than 10 lbs in a 54″ wheel

Edson’s Carbon / Wood Laminated Boat Steering Wheel fitted to the Baltic 152′ Pink Gin, features alternating layers of Teak, Holly and Carbon Fiber, forming a unique blend of traditional and modern building materials. Hand built by third generation master craftsmen, each boat wheel is built to the customers specifications, combining woods of your choice with composite materials sealed with clear Awl Grip.

Edson Custom boat wheels - Baltic 152

Twin Edson custom boat wheels aboard Baltic 152

Edson leads in Powerboat steering wheels with the Stainless Comfort Grip Power Wheel. Edson’s production power boat steering wheels are quality built in the USA. You may add features such as a steering knob and custom engraved center nuts. From modern stainless steel destroyer wheels to cast aluminum character wheels offering a traditional look, Edson builds a powerboat steering for you.

Edson power grip boat wheel

Edson powergrip power boat steering wheel

 Edson steering wheels for modern sailboats are most often destroyer boat wheels mounted to an Edson steering pedestal. Offered for virtually every production and custom sailboat, Edson supplies a steering system, steering pedestal or steering wheel that will fit you vessel.

 Edson sailboat steering wheel
Edson Vision II steering pedestal

Edson Marine Steering Systems and Pedestals 


Edson Corporation is one of the oldest continuously operating businesses in Massachusetts and the United States, producing boat steering wheels, marine steering pedestals and manual bilge pumps. Founded in 1859 by Jacob Edson, the Edson Corporation designs and manufactures specialty marine hardware for both commercial and pleasure boats.


Early Edson Factory

Edson’s First New Beford Factory


Edson’s first, and still produced, steering system, is the 1902 Meteor worm steering system for Kaiser Wilheim’s 161’ yacht “Meteor”. This famous yacht, with its rugged Edson steering gear was Germany’s unrealized entry in the America’s Cup race.


Kaiser Wilheim’s 161’ yacht “Meteor”


Edson continued steering designs with Edson emergency steering systems being fitted to all WWI Hog Island freighters and Liberty ships. In WWII the famous Elco PT boats as well as other naval and merchant vessels are equipped with Edson emergency steering systems and Edson pumps.


ELCO PT 80\'

Elco PT 80′ – Jungle Paint Scheme


Steering systems were to give way to Edson steering pedestals on modern personal sailboats and offshore racing sailboats, from 18′ Catalina to 152′ Baltic, and beyond. Edson installed the first steering system fitted to a fiberglass production sailboat in 1959.


Baltic 152\'

Balti 152 – “Pink Gin”


Edson Steering Pedestals lead the way in small sailboat steering for anything over 20′. Edson builds a steering pedestal system for virually every production sailboat with the ability to fit to any rudder, cockpit, transom arrangement.


Edson Steering Pedestal