The Portland - Pilot House

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In the Pilot House the large wooden wheel drives the backup mechanical steering and the brass column and lever in front of it operates the steam powered steering used in normal operations. The wooden box behind the wheel contains the magnetic compass

The VHF radio above the wheel is for communication with the other ships and bridge operators. The black lever operates the searchlight used to illuminate the forward deck in night operations. The grey units on the forward wall are the steam heaters for the area. To the starboard (right) of the wheel are the communications systems the captain uses in operating the vessel. The brass unit is called the engine telegraph and is used to signal the engineer with speed and directional information. The same information can be transmitted using the first two silver levers on the wall through a system of bell and gong. The third lever signals the mate in his cabin. The black wall units contain the switches for the navigational lights in night operation and the telephone allows more detailed communication with the engineer and fireman.

Looking aft the large black smoke stack dominates, however the captain can see the stern wheel and both sides of the vessel during operations. On the port (left) wall the silver levers are duplicated. The rope across the ceiling is pulled to operate the steam whistle. The height and views from the pilothouse are necessary for the captain to effectively control all aspects of the vessels operation. The windows open for ventilation and also so the captain can use the megaphone to direct the deck crew below.