This instrument is not meant to replace the helmsman. It only reduces his workload in the open seas when there is no traffic and the weather is good.
The Helmsman should take over the wheel by reverting from ‘Auto’ Mode to ‘Hand Mode’
- Before arriving in restricted water like harbour or port limits, TSS or channels and straits.
- When any maneuvering is intended to be carried out.
- Carrying out course alteration > 10 °.
- If the ships speed is reduced to less than 5 knots. The Autopilot operates efficiently only over speeds of 5 knots).
- Immediately on failure of Gyro which will be indicated by the sounding of the Gyro Alarm. (Caution The auto pilot gives does not sense Gyro failure. As the gyro wanders, it will keep on following the gyro headings)
- In heavy seas or high beam winds where a ship may carry a large helm.