What Is The Wheelhouse Poster? Its Contents Explained!

The Wheel House poster is an indispensable material on the bridge as it provides necessary information for the Bridge personnel and Pilots.

The Wheelhouse Poster is a large document posted in a conspicuous area on the bridge. It contains the general particulars of the ship, engine characteristics, and stopping distances in laden and ballast conditions.

It will also provide illustrations of ship movement including steering particulars, turning circles, as well as emergency maneuvers. The performance of the ship may differ due to environmental, hull, and conditions.

General Particulars

The topmost information of the wheelhouse poster would be the particulars of the ship. This includes the Ship’s name, call sign, gross tonnage, net tonnage, maximum displacement, and deadweight. As the ship communicates with vessel traffic services and other vessels, this information from the poster is vital.

The next part of the poster would be the drafts of the vessel, steering particulars, and anchor chain data. Drafts can either be in loaded/ballast condition or departure drafts and arrival drafts. This is used by Pilots to make sure the ship has enough underkeel clearance and is away from shallow water.

Steering particulars reminds the officer of the watch as well as the helmsman what type of rudder the ship has. It allows bridge personnel what is the maximum rudder angle and time needed from hard over port to starboard hard over. This is being utilized during docking and undocking maneuver.

Another important part of the poster is the information on anchor chains. This part informs the Pilots how many Anchors this vessel currently has including the spare. It also details the length of shackles of each anchor as well as the rate of heaving per minute. One shackle equates to fifteen fathoms, ninety feet, and twenty-seven meters.

The wheelhouse poster also includes the propulsion particulars of the vessel. Here, the type of engine and type of propeller is indicated. This table would give the corresponding rpm(revolution per minute) to each specific speed of the engine. From full speed to dead slow ahead both in ahead and astern propulsion.

In addition, critical RPM is highlighted to inform bridge officers and Pilots during channeling and berthing/unberthing operation. The actual speed of the vessel in knots is also displayed for ballast and loaded conditions.

For some vessels, like containerships, car ships, and cruise ships, additional information regarding the thruster effect and draft effect is also included. The effects of bow, stern, and combined thruster on the vessel are displayed including time delay and turning rate.

The draught effect includes information on the Squat effect and heel effects on the vessel. It tabulates under keel clearance to the corresponding ship’s speed and maximum squat estimate in meters. The heeling effect provides data on heel angle in degrees and the increase of draft.

Engine Characteristics and Stopping Distances

Knowing the characteristics of the main engine enables the crew to maneuver the ship and contributes to better pilotage. This would include the output and service speed of the ship. This enables the pilots to make sound decisions during channeling, docking/undocking, or shifting of the vessel.

The stopping distance is defined as the distance, in which the ship will continue to move after the action is taken to stop the main engine and until the ship comes to a full stop. Information may be provided for sea speed, harbor speed, and half-speed, including astern propulsion. It may be provided for light and loaded conditions.