The PilotHouse This is the only structure on the top of the boat. It sits on the roof of the texas cabin. From this high perch, the pilot and captain make all navigation decisions and steer the boat using the pilot wheel and powering steering levers. They also communicate with crew in different parts of the boat and with other vessels plying the river through various forms of communication both old and new. Pilothouse. Ext. best Pilot at wheel
1. Pilot Wheel The pilot Wheel controls the rudders and steers the boat in one direction or another. The pilot or captain does not physically turn the wheel but uses the power steering levers. (see power steering Levers) Return to Pilothouse
2. Ship’s Telegraph This piece of equipment is part of a system that allows the pilothouse to communicate with the engine room. As can be seen in this photo of the instrument’s face, by moving the lever, the speed the captain or pilot wants to go can be selected and the engineer and fireman then work together to make the engine operate at that speed. (see telegraph in engine room) Return to Pilothouse
3. Power Steering Lever The boat’s pilot wheel is hard to turn by hand and so steamboat builders designed a steam powered steering system to solve this problem. So instead of turning the wheel the captain simply moves one of the two levers to easily steer the boat. (as seen in this photo) Return to Pilothouse
4. Pilot Wheel Brake Pedal There are two of these pedal’s one on each side of the wheel. Once the wheel is turning it is difficult to stop by hand. By stepping on one of these pedals the wheel can be slowed down and stopped. Return to Pilothouse
5. Three Bell Telegraph to Engine Room The wooden rope pull seen here (circled ) is one of the ones used at one time to ring bells to communicate with the engine room. This early system called the “Bells and Gong”s is no longer used and was replaced by the ship’s telegraph also seen in this photo. Return to Pilothouse
6. Main Electrical Control Panel As the name indicates, this panel contains the switches which turn on different pieces of electrical equipment on the boat especially the lights for navigation. Return to Pilothouse
7. Intercom System This intercom allows the pilothouse to speak to various parts of the boat. The captain and crew also use cell phones to communicate. Return to Pilothouse
8. Starboard Searchlight Control This lever allows the powerful Starboard (right side of boat) searchlight to be pointed in the desired direction (see searchlight) Return to Pilothouse
9. Port Searchlight Control This lever allows the powerful Port (left side of ship)searchlight to be pointed in the desired direction (see searchlight) Return to Pilothouse
10. Steam Whistle Foot Pedal Stepping on this pedal blows the three tone steam whistle (See steam whistle) Return to Pilothouse
11. Trumpet No one blows on this trumpet. Instead it is attached to a pipe that goes to the engine room. It allowed the captain and pilot to hear the bells from the old bells and gongs communications system. Return to Pilothouse
12. Bell Pull By pulling on the handle seen here, the Captain or pilot Can ring the large bell located At the front of the boat. (See bell) Return to Pilothouse
13. Communications The handsets and phone seen here are part of the system of communications that includes two marine radios, one cellular phone, and a phone to the crew. Return to Pilothouse
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