How To Inspect and Maintain Your Sailboat’s Chain and Wire Steering System

Keeping Your Sailboat’s Steering System Working Well

For most sailors, when they turn the wheel and the boat turns, life is good. What connects the wheel to the rudder is out of sight and out of mind. They do not realize that their steering system's life is on a clock as soon as the boat leaves the factory. Remember, if your steering system fails, you are putting yourself, your crew, and other boaters around you at risk.

Saltwater accelerates the corrosion of metal, and your chain-and-wire steering system is comprised of almost entirely metal components. Stainless and aluminum provide excellent strength for harsh conditions, but it comes with a tradeoff: corrosion. This video reviews the four major components—or assemblies—where you should perform care and maintenance on your chain-and-wire steering system to prevent steering failure.

Edson has put together a Chain and Wire Inspection Check List to help you maintain your sailboat's steering system. This list goes over all of the components in your steering system. To assist you with inspecting your system's parts, Edson maintains files on the steering systems of over 4000 different sailboats, many of which are available online [Click Here]. While inspecting, take photos and log any parts that are replaced. Make a note of your inspection date and schedule your next inspection.

In the end, saltwater always wins. The goal is to stay ahead of the problem by maintaining your steering system, performing regular inspections, and having a rigid replacement schedule. If you have any questions about your steering system, Edson's Customer Service Department can also assist you by phone or email [Click Here]. Visit to see what else Edson has to offer!