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Old 10-29-2014, 10:16 AM   #12
Ski in NC
Technical Guru
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City: Wilmington, NC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Louisa
Vessel Model: Custom Built 38
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 5,454
Air controls were often used on older tugs and commercial boats, many of them still operating. So they must be reliable. Sounds like the OP has a hybrid system where the upper helm is direct cable, and the lower helm air control. That sounds like trouble as you can't smoothly go from one helm to another. But that is an issue with modern electronic controls- you can't start using a second helm without disabling the one in use. That can be dangerous as someone detecting danger at one helm cannot stop propulsion. Hydraulics and cable have no such issue.

I have seen a multi station boat with air control- I knew it was as when docking I could hear the "air spits" when shifting, which I think is kinda neat.. I don't know how that boat solved the "which helm is in command" issue, and whether that same tech might be available to the OP.

Find out which vendor made the air controls, then check with them for second station options.
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