Best Boat Steering Systems – Our Top 5 Picks

One of the most important parts of a boat is its steering system. However, finding the right steering system for your boat can be a challenge. In this article, I’ll list the best boat steering systems, including the specs and features for each.

Best Boat Steering Systems – Our Top 5 Picks:

  1. SeaStar Safe-T Quick Connect Rotary Steering System – Click here to see it on AmazonOur #1 Top Pick!
  2. Uflex Rotech Rotary Steering System – Click here to see it on Amazon
  3. SeaStar Solutions Mount Rack Steering System
  4. Dometic Baystar Hydraulic Steering Kit
  5. SeaStar PRO 2.0 Hydraulic Kit Kevlar Reinforced 

Having a good steering system is essential to the safety and enjoyment of your time on the water.

Read on to learn more about the best boat steering systems including the features and specs for each.

Also, for an excellent boat steering system, take a look at our top pick, the SeaStar Safe-T Quick Connect Rotary Steering System:

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Best Boat Steering Systems

1. SeaStar Safe-T Quick Connect Rotary Steering System

SeaStar is one of the leading and most trusted brands within the boating community, thanks to its high-performing and quality products. 

Click here to see it on Amazon.

The SeaStar Safe-T Quick Connect is a budget-friendly yet competitive steering system. It’s a quick response rotating system that brings down the ratio of lock to lock to only three, making it perfect for your power-steered boat. 

The Safe-T Quick Connect is simple to install, and the kit includes:

  • A helm
  • Steering cable
  • 90-degree bezel and hardware
https://youtu.be/17q_5hGOGsE

2. Uflex Rotech Rotary Steering System

Another excellent, universal boat steering system is the Uflex Rotech Rotary Steering System.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

It comes with a unique design that can provide you with a wider wear area. This improves durability while reducing lost motion and steering effort, as well as gives more balanced loads on your steering wheel.

The installation of the Uflex Rotary is also pretty simple. The helm is a direct drop-in replacement for the competing system, so you don’t need new holes to install it. And it requires little space from behind the dashboard.

The kit includes:

  • A helm
  • Steering cable
  • A 90-degree bezel and hardware

3. SeaStar Solutions Back Mount Rack Steering System

The SeaStar Solutions Mount Rack Steering System features a precise, easy four turns lock-to-lock, stainless steel cable output ends, and a standard round tapered steering shaft at just 3/4 in.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

At its reasonable price, the lock-to-lock of the SeaStar Solutions Back Mount Rack is quite impressive. This boat steering system is worth the extra investment as it combines quality with simple installation and cost-effectiveness.

The steering system kit includes:

  • A helm
  • Steering cable
  • A 90-degree bezel and hardware

4. Dometic Baystar Hydraulic Steering Kit

The Dometic Baystar Hydraulic Steering Kit is an all-inclusive steering system kit that has everything you need in one box. It’s a mid-range, reasonably priced system that offers quality performance. 

Click here to see it on Amazon.

It comes with a design that allows it to fit a narrow splash, a wheel that will turn lock-to-lock in five rounds, and a 150 horsepower steering performance. 

The Baystar Hydraulic Steering System is easy to install and comes from a company known for producing durable and high-performing helms. It may be a bit expensive, but you’ll get what you pay for.

Aside from the usual parts, the hydraulic steering kit also includes:

  • Pump
  • Cylinder
  • Steering fluid to ensure longer performance

5. SeaStar PRO 2.0 Hydraulic Kit Kevlar Reinforced

If you’re after a performance boat, it will need a steering system focusing on steering performance like the SeaStar Pro 2.0 Hydraulic Kit. The durable hoses of this steering system are very impressive.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Aside from reinforcing them with Kevlar, they’re also abrasion- and kink-resistant and will provide you with 1,500 PSI power.

The SeaStar Pro 2.0 is perfect for high-speed boats that need some hydraulic steering improvement and additional momentum. Although it comes with a high price, it’s well worth investing in.

The high-quality hydraulic steering system kit includes:

  • A helm
  • Hoses
  • Cylinder
  • Fittings
  • Bleeder kit
  • Oil
  • A detailed installation guide

The majority of these steering systems are cable-based, which means they’re especially prone to normal wear and tear. Thus, it is crucial to provide them with routine upkeep to make sure your ship is always safe and in top condition.

Next, I’ll go into detail on what exactly is a boat steering system, the different types of steering systems, and tips for choosing the right one for your boat.

What Is a Boat Steering System?

The steering wheel of your vessel is a component of the helm that attaches to a hydraulic, mechanical, or electric steering system that assists your boat when turning. 

These systems operate in a push and pull manner to drive your ship in a particular direction. They can do this because the helm of your boat is attached to its motor.

A boat with an outboard motor steers with a wheel that turns the whole drive system, while an inboard motor sometimes uses a pod with a propeller attached to it. On the other hand, a personal watercraft utilizes jet drives so that water is forced in a nozzle in which operators can rotate according to their desired direction.

The wheel of some modern boats today uses a toggle instead of a wheel that controls a hydraulic or electric rudder drive remotely. They also have a real-time indicator that shows the angle of the rudder to the captain of the ship. 

Whatever steering system your boat has, you need to know what type it is. You need to understand how it operates and know where to find system components if you need to repair or replace them.

Different Boat Steering System Types 

Boat steering systems have three types:

  • Rack Steering System. Known to the boating industry as boat power steering, this type is the cheapest and easiest steering system to install. It converts the steering wheel’s motion from rotational to linear making it more comfortable to turn.
  • Rotary Steering System. This steering system uses gears or wheels that the steering cables feed into the helms. As a result, you’ll experience better resistant steering, allowing you to have more control of your ship all the time.
  • Hydraulic Steering System. This is best for faster, larger vessels, and it is the most costly steering system type. 

What Are the Parts of Boat Steering Systems?

These steering systems consist of the following components that link the wheel of your ship to its engine:

  • Wheel
  • Helm
  • Steering cable
  • Cable connections 

About Helms

The helm is the most vital part as it transforms the rotary motion of the wheel in a push-pull motion on the cable. This moves the propeller amidship, right, or left. Most helms come in a rotary type that utilizes gears to move the rudder. These gears are:

  • Reduction Gear. Single or double gears that mesh with the steering drum to drive the cable. These helms need plenty of space when assembling them behind the dash and usually will not fit in a boat with a cluttered and smaller dashboard.
  • Planetary Gear. Three or more gears that also connect with the drum to move the steering cable. The design of these helms works well with vessels that have small dashboards since it takes up less room. However, it is prone to wear and requires additional wheel play.

Features to Consider Before Buying a Steering System for Your Ship

Before investing in one of the top-rated boat steering systems on our list, here are some features you should look out for before making any purchase.

  • Steering. When changing your ship’s steering system, it is best to use the same one. It is only acceptable to use a different type when switching from a mechanical to a hydraulic system. This is a common event among boat owners since hydraulic systems perform better overall. Keep in mind that a hydraulic system comes with a higher price tag, and you may need to make some changes in your boat when installing it. 
  • Turns. There’s a bit of misconception on whether the number of turns a ship’s steering wheel takes to move from lock to lock matters. More turns mean that there will be a little less helm pressure when you’re counter-turning from the prop torque. On the other hand, fewer turns mean more pressure.
  • Cable. You must be aware of the exact length of cable you need to wire your vessel steering successfully before buying. 
  • Maintenance. Cables require the most upkeep in a steering system. So it is ideal to utilize the best direct route possible during the steering cable installation. Also, make sure that there are fewer obstructions between the cable, wheel, and helm. 

Give some thought to these considerations, decide what you prefer, and get a suitable system for your boat.

Like any other part of your boat, you need to ensure the steering system is properly maintained and in top working condition all the time. It needs regular maintenance and inspection, as well as cleaning throughout the boating season. 

Conclusion – What Are the Best Boat Steering Systems?

A boat’s steering system must not be overlooked as it is an essential part. There are several different types of steering systems to choose from, so we did the research and testing for you!

The 5 best boat steering systems are as follows:

  1. SeaStar Safe-T Quick Connect Rotary Steering System Click here to see it on AmazonOur #1 Top Pick!
  2. Uflex Rotech Rotary Steering System – Click here to see it on Amazon
  3. SeaStar Solutions Mount Rack Steering System
  4. Dometic Baystar Hydraulic Steering Kit
  5. SeaStar PRO 2.0 Hydraulic Kit Kevlar Reinforced

Your boat is your pride and joy, and you’ll further enjoy every minute with it by investing in a high-performing, quality steering system.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful at increasing your enjoyment on the water! Here are some products that we use – as boaters, sailors, kayakers, cruisers, and lovers of the open sea – and we hope you’ll find them helpful. These are affiliate links, so if you decide to use any of them, we’ll earn a commission. But in all honesty, these are the exact products that we use and recommend to everyone, even our own families.

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Or search at the top for many other product reviews and articles.