SeaStar’s Hydraulic Outboard Steering Systems

Here at SeaStar Solutions, the world leader in marine steering and control systems, we have a comprehensive range of hydraulic steering for today’s outboard powered boats. These include BayStarTM steering for light-duty applications up to 150HP and SeaStarTM steering for boats up to 350HP in single engine applications (or up to 900hp in triple engine applications). We also offer SeaStar PRO steering for high-speed single engine outboard powered boats, as well as the heavy-duty Tournament Series cylinders for high performance multiple-engine applications.

For the purposes of this article we will be taking a look at the standard, most popular model which is SeaStar’s Front Mount Steering. This is a general purpose system suitable for single and multiple engine applications in boats up to 50ft and that do not exceed 55mph.

System selection, installation and service has been kept as simple as possible with just three major components – helm, cylinder and hose – plus, of course, SeaStar steering fluid. These basic components are necessary in all applications, but additional components can be added as the system variables increase e.g. multiple engines, steering stations, power assist and autopilots.

Helm Pump

The SeaStar helm pump is a manually operated rotary helm and is the heart of the system. A built-in lock valve prevents the steering loads from feeding back to the driver and will not allow the engine to move until you turn the wheel.

The number of turns it takes to go from lock-to-lock varies depending on the amount of fluid pumped per revolution. 5 turns is ideal but SeaStar offers several options to suit personal preference or particular types of boating. Low displacement means easy steering and more turns lock-to-lock while high displacement means heavier steering with fewer turns.

Various models of the SeaStar helm are available such as the front mounted Standard Helm or a Rear Mount version which is fitted behind the dash. Both are available in Tilt versions allowing the angle of the wheel to be altered for optimum comfort.

Refined over the years, the designs represents the ultimate in efficiency, safety and reliability, yet are easy to install and maintain. When used with a SeaStar cylinder they will give smooth, easy steering and years of trouble free boating.


The cylinder is a key component in the system as it carries the engine loads. Different versions are available such as Side Mount and Splashwell Mount, but by far the most common is the Front Mount cylinder which can be used with single or multiple engine installations. Suitable for use with all SeaStar helms it features independent engine tilt when used with twin or triple engine rigs.

Recently upgraded, SeaStar’s Front Mount cylinder now benefits from improvements to the barrel, sealing systems and fittings which are designed to handle todays heavier, higher horsepower engines.

The composite piston shaft is made of a high strength chrome plated stainless steel which actually acts as a bearing. A state of the art proprietary sealing system offers excellent resistance to repeated compression set and is designed to better withstand the harsh environment. It is a proven design which has been a feature of the cylinder for over 20 years and provides significant strength advantages and durability over the competition.

Hose & Steering Fluid

Inferior quality hose can affect steering performance and increase steering effort, so it is essential to match the proper high quality SeaStar hose to the system requirements. Kits of varying lengths are available which are designed to work perfectly with the SeaStar helms and cylinders.

Of course, none of these individual parts will work without the steering fluid and SeaStar hydraulic steering fluid is formulated to provide the best performance for your SeaStar steering system. A perfect blend of viscosity stabilizers, anti-wear agents and corrosion inhibitors will ensure maximum steering life performance. Read all about SeaStar steering fluid on our blog.

For more information about SeaStar’s full range of steering products, go to the Products tab on the website or take a look at the video about outboard steering here:

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