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Types of Hydraulics Systems Used in the Marine Industry

Types of Hydraulics Systems Used in the Marine Industry

Types of Hydraulics Systems Used in the Marine Industry

The marine industry uses hydraulics in a plethora of applications. Here are the highlights of those applications. Some you might have guessed, but others might surprise you. A hydraulic anchor system you probably guessed, but did you know that hydraulics also powers the cooling system and air filtration?

Marine Industry

Ships’ Use of Hydraulics

The equipment on ships use hydraulics in many ways such as in the maneuvering systems and the main engine control. This includes their automation systems, control systems, valve operations, deck machines, engine room stability, bow and stern thrusters, steering gears, and applications for overall ship stability.

Automation Systems Use Reduces Crew Needs

The use of hydraulics in the automation of the engine room, specifically in hydraulic automated control systems, reduced the need for large crews. A small crew of 13 to 15 individuals can now power the entire ship. Hydraulic automation opens and closes valves, maintains pneumatic air pressure, and, as a result, controls hydraulic oil flow. For many companies, this makes it more feasible to put more ships in the water which allows them to do more business whether that refers to oil rigging or oversea transports.

Cargo Equipment

While the equipment and machinery depend on the type of ship, hydraulics often run the cargo pumps and lines which includes many line valves. Manual operation of these would make for a time-consuming operation so ships automate using hydraulics so they can control all cargo, bunkering and ballast operations from a control room mimic diagram.

Deck Machinery

A variety of machines on the deck use hydraulic including the cranes, winches, and mooring drums. You will also find that hydraulics used in the operation of the capstans, emergency towing arrangements, windlass, hatch covers, and other equipment covers. The function of the hydraulic systems within these are to make the operation smoother. These typically heavy latches and covers benefit from a hydraulic hinge that makes it seem lighter. On bulk carriers, the derrick or deck crane uses hydraulics in the loading and unloading of cargo. You will also find the technology used in mooring winches and the anchor. These systems run on hydraulic oil transported under high pressure through hydraulic motors.

Hydraulics and Ship Size

As ships increased in size, they increased in weight which increased the needs for propulsion. The use of hydraulic tightening enabled the use of large reciprocating pistons. The technology holds together the bed plate, cylinder heads, and entablature. It powers the stabilizers that keep the ship from rolling. This adds to the comfort of those on board. In smaller boats, the hydraulic system attached the rudder and steering wheel to make steering easier.

Other Uses of the Technology on Ships

The hydraulic technology also gets used in many other ways. You will find it used in the platforms and passerelles, adjustable pitch propellers’ rotary operation, and the remotely operated doors, valves, ventilation flaps, etc. in both their linear and rotary operation. On certain large vessels, you may find the technology used in other ways. Of course, its application grows each day, so next year, you may find hydraulics applied to the marine industry in other ways.

Why Hydraulic Technology?


Today’s naval and commercial ships require immense power. Moving their cargo loads and controlling complex interior mechanisms requires heavy lifting. What once required massive crews now requires 15 or less individuals because of the use of hydraulic technology. Their high-power density coupled with their simple control systems make them a sensible choice for ships, regardless of their size.

They can easily interface with other systems such as Global Positioning System (GPS), radar systems, and the programmable logic controller (PLC) used to streamline control of most of the ships. The ease of integrating hydraulics into the shipboard computer makes the entire vessel easier to control and increase run efficiency.

Use of these systems also makes system redundancy simpler. The efficiency of design and implementation makes installation of a hydraulic pump and a standby pump reasonable. Similarly, control valves enable the installation of backups without taking up too much space or inhibiting motor function or slowing propulsion.

Common Types of Hydraulic Systems Sapphire Hydraulics Repairs

As hardy as hydraulics function, you cannot expect them to always run perfectly. You will have breakdowns on any ship. Rather than replace the entire system, let Sapphire Hydraulics repair it. Our company repairs hydraulic cylinders, hydraulic hose repair, and hydraulic hose guards.

We go beyond repairs to providing education in our blog. This helps you learn how to prevent problems by knowing how to conduct simple maintenance checks yourself and how to recognize common problems that might cause a hydraulic breakdown. In these readable, simple to follow blogs, we make it easy to understand the inner workings of your hydraulic systems. This helps you discover developing problems before they cause a breakdown in ship operations. When you see something becoming an issue, you can call us. This lets the Sapphire Hydraulics team conduct preventive repairs and helps you maintain business continuity.

We service all sizes of ships and small watercraft. Whether you need repairs to your sailboat, yacht, or your company’s shipping vessels, we can repair it. Our trained and educated technicians and engineers make effective, efficient repairs that get you on your way again. At Sapphire Hydraulics we serve the Houston, TX metro area and surrounding communities. The Texas coast can count on us for hydraulics repair and other heavy machinery and equipment. Call us at (713) 804-2817 to schedule service. We report quickly and immediately begin repairs to get your ship ship-shape again asap.