Helm Commands

The pilot in the video uses the word ‘midships’ plural. I know a lot of pilots also use the singular form ‘midship’. It would be interesting to know if this is regional or if one is more correct, or more often used than the other?

“Midships” is an abbreviated way of saying “Rudder Amidships.” So amidships is correct if SMCP or even an English dictionary is any indication.

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It’s the only term I’ve ever used. Australia inherited British terminology which has worldwide application.

There’s probably no great reason as the main part of the port is to seaward of the bridge. There’s limited berths for the zinc refinery etc which also have limited volumes of cargo.

Would that mean midship is an abbreviated way of saying midships? What is more common today? I am thankful we no longer speak like the old Brits.

The definition for “amidships” is in the middle of a ship, either longitudinally or laterally. The definition for “midship” is the middle part of a ship or boat (like midship section). Midship is usually a noun and amidships is an adjective or adverb.


Speak for yourself.

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I only find with an ‘s’.I cannot find the origin but there are many athwartships, so could the bridge wing compas not be on a midship heading?

You cats are reading too much into this , midship, or midships , mean zero rudder, straight ahead.


Isn’t “steady as she goes” a more common command for that??

PS> Unless you are talking about the order given by some Masters when in areas known to have refugee/migrant boats: “look only straight ahead”.

The command "midship’ can be enunciated more clearly so from the wing or with high background noise it would be better.

Just as the commands “port ten” and “starboard ten”, both are correct but the command “port ten” can be given with a little more snap to it. Like George Carlin’s “Shell Shock”.

As long as the rudder commands are understood by the helmsman, whether an “S” is added to “midship” or not, that’s quite alright. Some pilots say port or stbd such and such degrees, some say it different, like left 10 or right 10 etc. Some do say “Steady as she goes” and hope it happens. It’s different with every port/pilot. Most of the pilots I’ve encountered knew their business and were quite calm. A little more “snap” was interpeted by me anyway as “listen up”.

“Steady as she goes” does NOT mean midship. They are two very different things.

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Did you read my post??

@SeaEagle was saying what the meaning was, not the command itself.

Yea, but seaeagle confused two different commands in his reply. I’ve never heard anyone say straight ahead when talking about rudder position. That’s just wrong.

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Agree. Helm commands and Steering commands are two different things.
“Midships” (or midship) is a helm command used together with commands like “Port 10” etc.

“Steady as she goes” means that the helmsman are to keep a steady course, either by compass or by using land marks etc.
IOW the helmsman decide what rudder angles is necessary to do so. (I-e. Steering Command /Order)

Left, Right or Straight are not used anywhere, except maybe in the US, or on US ships (??)

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I have 22 IMO orders.Ex:# 14 ease to 5-10-15-20.#18 steady #19 steady as she goes.#22 finished with the wheel. #1 is midshipS.

Steady as she goes means, well, steady as she goes. Watch the compass. Confused? I never used or heard the term “straight ahead”. Only in a description of what midships meant.

Left/right the practice on U.S. ships. I thought it was the case on Canadian/British/Australian ships too, a legacy of WW2/Cold War. Not the case? Emrobu? Hogsnort?

Yes I am. Probably as much as any helmsman would be sailing under your command.

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